After a longer than anticipated break, Weatethat.com is back in action. With the ringing in of the New Year, our resolution is to bring our focus back to providing you with the reviews and recipes you have come to expect from us. Our first post of 2014 is on one of the best steakhouses in all of New York City. We present to you, Peter Luger Steakhouse. Any self-respecting steak lover should already know the name Peter Luger, but for the rest of you, get ready to find your next foodie destination.
Peter Luger Steakhouse has been serving up steaks since 1887, which is a really long time. Seriously, that is 127 years of serving flame broiled beef. Luger only serves one cut of beef, which is known as short loin. Short loin is a cut of beef that comes from the back of the cattle. This cut includes the top loin and tenderloin. When choosing their short loin, Luger only selects cattle that have been graded “prime” by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Prime, which typically has abundant marbling, is produced from young, well-fed cattle. These cuts are perfect for grilling, roasting and broiling. Each individual loin is examined for a pink color with an even marbling of fat throughout. Once the loins are selected, Luger starts the process of dry-aging their beef. The dry-aging process begins by placing the beef in a temperature-controlled cooler. While in the cooler, air is circulated all around the meat. After being properly aged, each loin is butchered and then broiled. This is an intensive, yet necessary process to produce the best steaks in New York City.
Now that you know what makes Peter Luger so special, you need a reservation. This is no easy task. Luger typically has a 3 month wait for dinner reservations. If you want to check it out, but don't want to wait a small eternity, you can try your luck stopping in for lunch. Once you have your reservation in hand, come prepared for some sticker shock. Unfortunately, we don't remember the exact pricing per person, but expect to pay about $100 each if you plan to have side dishes. Things have changed recently, but in the past, Luger only accepted two forms of payment: Cash and Peter Luger Credit Cards. It was a nice quirk to the place—as long as you had cash on you. However, they recently succumbed to the masses and now accept other major credit cards.
Once you enter Luger you will immediately notice the decor and the waiters. The dining area is filled with classic wooden beer hall tables, exposed wooden beams, and chandeliers that make you feel as though you have stepped back in time. Luger has a classic feel to it, avoiding the over the top furnishings of newer restaurants. The waiters, who are typically older gentleman, are very entertaining, with plenty of one-liners up their sleeves. They remind you of that uncle that’s always giving everyone a hard time, but you have to admit he's pretty hilarious. The atmosphere is the perfect setup for an amazing meal.
Now, you may be wondering how we got our reservation. It was actually on a whim. At about 4pm on a Wednesday night, we got a call from our friend Pauly. A group of his friends had reservations for weeks, but on the day of, a handful of people backed out. In a matter of minutes, a decision had to be made. We did not have the cash or the mental preparation to spend upwards of $100 per person for dinner, but it was Luger. We couldn’t sleep at night knowing that we passed on an opportunity like this. We bit the bullet and agreed to go. It was the best/worst decision in the world.
So, what is on the menu?
If you skipped ahead to this point, it’s okay. We know you have been dying to see what Luger has to offer. The menu is rather simple with a rotating daily lunch menu highlighted by a 1/2 pound burger topped with cheese and bacon. Then, there are the appetizers. Two of the best options are the extra thick slabs of bacon and the jumbo shrimp cocktail. The meat selection is less intimidating than you would think. You order your steaks by the amount of people you want to feed (i.e. steak for two). For If you are not in the mood for steak, you shouldn't be at Luger. However, if you’re there on a steak sabbatical, you can choose from lamb chops or the fresh seasonal fish. In addition to your main dish, you will want to add sides to your meal, such as potatoes, broccoli, creamed spinach and onion rings. Once dinner is done, and if you have saved any room, there are a handful of desserts to choose from ranging from classics like apple strudel and New York cheesecake to their famous homemade "Schlag".
What We Ate:
Sliced Tomatoes & Onions
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail
Thick Cut Slab Bacon
Steak for Three
Steak with Fried Potatoes and Creamed Spinach
Chocolate Luger's Coins
We began our meal with the tomato and onion plate. It looked like the type of plate you would see at a BBQ with all the fixins for your burger. We’re not really sure why you would want this as a side dish, but the tomatoes were extremely fresh. This dish seems to be a Luger classic, but we would probably pass on this in the future. We also started with the Jumbo Shrimp. There wasn’t anything special about the preparation of the shrimp, but as you can see, they were pretty massive. We definitely had our fill. Following the shrimp, we each got a plate full of slab bacon. The bacon was broiled in the oven and had a nice crisp outside. It was thick cut and could almost be a meal on its own. We would definitely recommend getting the bacon.
After a few minutes of digestion, the main meal—steak for 8—arrived. This consisted of 3 plates of steak for 3. The steak came to the table piping hot with all pieces cooked medium rare. The waiters will warn you that the plates are extremely hot and they are not exaggerating. The plates are placed under the broiler with the steak, and they come to the table upwards of 500 degrees. They are so hot, in fact, that if your steak is a bit underdone for your taste, you only need to put it on the plate to cook for a few more seconds. The steak itself is flame broiled to achieve a nice golden crust and then drizzled with butter. As we mentioned, the steak is cooked medium rare and it really allows you to appreciate the natural flavor of the dry-aged beef. The butter melted over the steak just adds to its decadence. While the steak comes pre-cut to the table, making eating rather easy, the best part is actually a challenge. To taste the best Luger has to offer, you need to get a bit dirty and eat right off the bone. The meat that is right on the bone has an amazing rich flavor that does not make its way throughout the rest of the steak. We made sure to gnaw on a couple in the restaurant and we took the rest home for later. These bones are not for the dogs.
If you enjoy your steak with steak sauce, Peter Luger has you covered. Their homemade sauce is a cross between a spicy horseradish sauce and cocktail sauce. It has a nice brown color and a tangy, almost sour flavor that really compliments the richness of the steak. We prefer eating our steak plain, but the Luger sauce it certainly worth a taste.
We accompanied our steak with creamed spinach and fried potatoes. The creamed spinach was very rich. Even though we are not huge spinach fans it was actually quite good. While it may appear to be on the heavy side, it was lighter than you would expect. The fried potatoes were very good. They had great flavor and the best part was that the pieces were cooked to a crisp, which added a nice crunch to the meal. The potatoes were seasoned perfectly and were a great compliment to the steak. We were big fans of the combo steak and potato bites.
After all of this food, we somehow had room for dessert. Well, to be honest, we didn't have any room, but we were peer pressured by our waiter to at least eat some of the famous Luger "Schlag". The Schlag is a cross between fresh whipped cream and Cool Whip. We were eating it by the spoonful and even took some of our chocolate Luger coins and dipped them in the Schlag.
Should or Should Not Eat:
This is not even a hard decision. Peter Luger is a total Should Eat. Between being one of the most famous steakhouses in New York City and the golden crust of the dry-aged steak, you need to eat here. It is not cheap, but you will walk away extremely satisfied. For any steak lover, Luger is a must on your Steakhouse Bucket list. Come for the steak, but bring an appetite for all of the sides and desserts.
Peter Luger's Steakhouse
Brooklyn, NY: 178 Broadway.> 718.387.7400