10 Old-School Steakhouses in NYC that Never Disappoint



New York City is home to legendary steakhouses dating back to the 1800s as well as former speakeasies that stand shoulder to shoulder or chop to chop alongside newcomers with more eclectic approaches. Some of the new arrivals don't even try to break the mold, yet others are investing in extravagant decors in a nod to the finer sex with expense accounts.

            When choosing  which restaurants to include on our list of the top ten steakhouses in New York City, we looked for delectable, mouth-watering hunks of meat, an almost cult-like following of regulars, and enough staying power or innovation to draw crowds the world over. Also we went for those that have grown their wine lists.

            What we've uncovered is a list that mingles traditional with inventive in old-school steakhouses that just keep getting better with age. Take Peter Luger, for example, one of the oldest steakhouses in the city, it is still turning out fantastic meals from its vantage point under the Williamsburg Bridge. Or, the nearly 90-year old Gallaghers Steakhouse that has recently emerged from a dramatic makeover yet still featuring that unmistakeable storefront meat locker. At the same time, the sophisticated Porter House Bar and Grill in the Time Warner Center overlooking Central Park is celebrating its 12th birthday with a carefully cultivated wine list, while Keens Steakhouse is still feeding us the finest mutton chops on the east coast and St. Anselm remains  a neighborhood place with great steaks.

Décor ranges from your grandmother’s basement at Sammy’s Roumanian that blends oh-so-New York Yiddish, Borscht-belt humor with delicious Romanian steaks, to Old Homestead Steakhouse's decor that depicts the history of NYC.

            If there's one thing New Yorkers know, it's steak: from Manhattan to Brooklyn, prime cuts reign supreme. Now, if you're ready to get started, let's not waste any more time. Below, the ten best steak joints in the city.



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St. Anselm doesn't call itself a steakhouse, and it doesn't much look like one either. A chalkboard as you enter assures all guests of the "natural," hormone-and-antibiotic-free pedigree of its menu entries. The dining room is small, tables dwarfed by a long bar with metal stools, and green-slatted shutters closing out the hipsters on Metropolitan Avenue. What's coming out of the kitchen, however, will convince you that not only is St. Anselm a meat haven, it's one of the best ones in town. An ideal meal looks something like this: grilled Halloumi with pea greens and string beans, grilled Shishito peppers and the butchers steak with compound garlic butter. The best part? It's affordable. That steak I mentioned? Yeah, that's under 20 bucks.


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Financial District


 

Set on the corner of Beaver and South William Streets first opened its doors in 1837 and was the setting for a birthday party for Mark Twain and hosted more than a dozen American presidents. Recently it turned to the White House for its current chef John Moeller who will work with its executive chef, Billy Olivia on a classic menu that has indeed been served to presidents at Delmonico's and the White House. The restaurant attracts a loyal crowd of businessmen, who feel at home sitting at the low-key bar and reflecting on the day's events. Indeed, the atmosphere of the place is definitively masculine â€" pictures of the hunt, homey wood paneling, and leather furniture.


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About a minute ago, "Iron Chef" Marc Forgione debuted the 180-seat American Cut in Midtown at at 109 East 56th St. in the Lombardy Hotel. Signature dishes include the Chili Lobster; the "OG" 1924 Hotel Caesar; and the 42 oz. Tomahawk Rib-Eye, not to mention a show-stopping 52 oz. Porterhouse complete with flaming bone marrow butter prepared table side. Likewise, the décor is meant to impress: original stain glass windows, ornate crown moldings and the original fireplace all create an opulent atmosphere. The midtown branch features lighter a la carte options like salads and fish, as well as a pastrami sandwich with brisket, brined and smoked. The TriBeCa location is still the best place to catch celebrities and to swill in its rock and roll spirit, while the Midtown venue embraces an art deco glamour.


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Michael Lomonaco, Chef and Managing Partner of Porter House Bar and Grill, has pretty much dedicated his life to the American kitchen; his New York steakhouse being the expressions of that passion. Celebrating its 10th birthday this year, Lomonaco has shown up on NBC's Today Show, on the Food Channel and has been a repeat guest on the Beat Bobby Flay show. Set in the heart of Columbus Circle, steps from Lincoln Center and across from Central Park, Porter House New York is located on the fourth floor of Time Warner Center, and features sweeping views of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline. You don't have to dine on half a cow and break the bank if you sip an enervating Manhattan or an Old Fashioned with a side of Lomonaco's "blend" of a delectable hamburger on a bun with fries for under $25 or throw caution to the wind and go for the Porterhouse for two for $124. A three-course prix fixe luncheon is just $28 for a soup or salad, a petit filet mignon and dessert.


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Garment District


 

Unless it's freakishly low, or ridiculously lofty, a restaurant's ceiling probably isn't the first thing that draws your attention. At Keens, it'll be all you can look at - that is, until they bring your meal. Keens Steakhouse - established in 1885 - is one of New York's oldest and most revered eateries. It also happens to have the largest collection of churchwarden pipes in the world literally hanging from its rafters. The tradition stems from the days when travelers left their delicate pipes at their favorite inns until they returned. Today, Keen's is well known for its mutton chop - a deep cut of meat so succulent you'll wonder why its popularity ever waned. NY trivia: Keens is the only survivor of what was known as the Herald Square Theatre District.


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Bobby Van's Steakhouse NYC, a Downtown Wall Street establishment, is located on Broad Street, with its formal dining room set in the lobby of the old JP Morgan Bank, while the more casual Vault Grill is below in JP Morgan's antique bank vaults. The elegant atmosphere of this classic fine dining, American restaurant, harkens back to the old days of banking with dark wood accents, original vault doors and walls lined with bronze deposit boxes. From Colorado lamb chops served with mashed potatoes and mint jelly reduction to those 28-day dry-aged prime steaks or a noontime repast of a 12 oz. New York Sirloin. If steak is not what you came for, try the horseradish-encrusted salmon, the twin crab cakes or the three-pound Maine lobster. And for vegans, pray tell, a grilled portobello sandwich. Whatever you choose you will be blown away and come back for more. Watch for the newest addition to the legend: Bobby Van's on 40 Central Park South, a highly coveted location just steps away from the Plaza Hotel, and overlooking Central Park.


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It's hard to mistake what Gallaghers Steakhouse is about. If the name weren't already enough, then the meatlocker that greet diners at the storefront is a dead giveaway. Rescued by Central Park Boathouse operator Dean Poll, Gallaghers (minus the apostrophe) is now as one visitor said: "Old New York lite:" wall mirrors sparkle, white linens invite as do wine-colored banquettes and the ceiling has been rehung with its 14 famous hickory chandeliers. Originally, a "speakeasy" launched by Ziegfeld girl Helen Gallagher in 1927, and according to its own legend, Broadway's first steakhouse, Gallaghers promises a New York experience from start to finish. Fine steaks grilled over blazing hickory coals, rubs from coffee to porcini mushrooms and an affordable lunchtime menu with a giant Porterhouse going for $49 per person.


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Forget "trendy" this is the oldest steakhouse in the Big Apple and it has maintained its standards through the decades. Step inside right under the life-size "We're the King of Beef" cow (just call her Annabelle), slip into the decadent décor that literally depicts the history of NYC and antique brass lamps to the well-dressed, professional waitstaff and delicious steaks. Surprisingly enough, at this very American steakhouse, the steak of choice is their Japanese Wagyu "A5+" steak, which will cost you almost two Ben Franklins. On Saturday and Sunday, they offer the dinner menu all day long. Dinner reservations are required.


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Voted NYC's No. 1 steakhouse for the past 32 years, this circa-19th century Williamsburg establishment is a time-honored tradition for locals and visitors. Is this cash-only steak icon touristy? Yes. Old school? Absolutely. But sometimes, things are popular for a reason. Peter Luger has been serving up mammoth porterhouses and fried German potatoes on a nondescript corner in Williamsburg since 1887. The two-story structure has seen a lot of changes outside its doors â€" remember when Williamsburg was better known for vaguely sinister empty lots than pricey high-rise apartments? but, inside, the tune remains the same. The hyper-masculine interiors and no-nonsense wait staff give the place and old-fashioned vibe, and the epic steaks keep customers coming back for more. Luger's has since opened a second location in Great Neck, Long Island, but come to the Brooklyn original for the full, meaty Monty.


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No matter how many countries Maria Lisella has visited (62), this native New Yorker finds the world at her doorstep in amazing Queens where its residents speak 138 languages.

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