Williamsburg

Peter Luger Steakhouse - Brooklyn, NY

 

 

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?

 

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

Homemade "Schlag"

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.

Restaurant Information:

Peter Luger's Steakhouse

Brooklyn, NY: 178 Broadway.> 718.387.7400

Website: www.peterluger.com

Radegast Hall & Biergarten - Brooklyn, New York

Last weekend we found ourselves at the Radegast Hall and Biergarten in Williamsburg. We wanted to start off the night with some large liters full of beer and food hot of their grill. The biergarten has the classic beer hall feel with large wooden tables and tall ceilings. The waitresses all wear your standard bier maiden outfits, which add to the atmosphere. All of this coupled with the huge liters full of authentic German beer makes it feel as if you are in Germany celebrating at Octoberfest. 

The Menu:

Radegast offers two types of menus to order from, the main menu and the grill menu. The main menu offers more formal dishes featuring German classics such as a Munich Pretzel or Veal Schnitzel. The grill menu on the other hand provides less formal options such as sausages, burgers and fries all cooked on the open grill in the back of the hall. The beauty of the grill is that it sends out this amazing aroma of grilled meat into the hall that is almost impossible to resist.

What We Ate:

Munich Pretzel - with Spicy Mustard and Cornichon

Bratwurst - Served on a Pretzel Roll with sauerkraut 

Mustard Options

We started with the Munich Pretzel that is baked in house to order. This pretzel has a nice crisp outside with a warm soft inside and it is seasoned with the perfect amount of salt.  It is all too often that pretzels get over salted because the dough is just not that good. The good thing for us is here at Radegast they know what they are doing when it comes to making pretzels.

They serve the pretzels with a house made spicy mustard and Cornichon pickles. The mustard has a great kick to it and pairs perfectly with the pretzel. The pickles are tart with and have a nice amount of snap to them when bitten into. There is no better appetizer while drinking dark German beers than one of these pretzels.

We followed up our pretzel with a selection from the grill. We ordered the grilled bratwurst served on a Pretzel Roll with sauerkraut. Yes that's right we added more pretzel to our meal. When the chef suggests adding the pretzel roll to your meal you do not ask questions you just say yes. Our bratwurst was cooked in front of our eyes and had that freshly grilled look to it, nice and crispy. It was then placed on the bun and topped with a healthy serving of sauerkraut. The sauerkraut was sweeter that you might expect, we think it is due to the addition of carrots in the cabbage. It did however add a nice counterpoint in flavor to the saltiness of the brat. We then topped all of this off with a bit of the German mustard for the final touch to the meal.

To go along with the brat, we ordered some fries. The thing about the fries at Radegast is they are very addicting. They are fried to a golden crisp and seasoned well with just the right amount of salt. We dipped these things in just about every mustard option they had available. The best was either the spicy mustard or the German mustard. We could not get enough fries and even ordered more to go with our beers later in the night. 

Should Or Should Not Eat:

Radegast is easily a Should Eat. They offer everything needed for a good night out on the town, good atmosphere, good food and good drinks. There may be more than a handful of similar places in Brooklyn, but Radegast is the total package. Check out Radegast for the food and stay for the drinks.

Restaurant Information:

Radegast Hall & Biergarten

Brooklyn, NY: 113 N 3rd Street > 718.963.3973

Website: www.radegasthall.com

Radegast Hall & Beer Garden on Urbanspoon

Mable's Smokehouse - Brooklyn, New York

 

Mable's Smokehouse opened up in Brooklyn a little over a year ago.  Since their opening they have quickly become one of our favorite places to drink in Brooklyn.  They are also home to some of the best BBQ we have eaten. Mable's has a very relaxed atmosphere with cafeteria style seating and a nice sized bar. The decor helps transport you from NYC to some roadside BBQ joint in Oklahoma. We can't forget to mention the great tunes that put you in the mood to grab a stool and throw back a couple of Lone Stars. After inhaling the sweet smoky aroma of wood and smoked meat you can't help but place an order.

The Menu:

Mable's has a basic menu which features Pulled Pork, Beef Brisket and St. Louis Style Ribs.  For you vegetarians out there they also offer a vegetarian Sloppy Joe. The pulled pork and brisket can be ordered on a sandwich with 1 side or as a platter with 2 sides. The ribs come as a platter with 2 sides.  For the sides you can choose from BBQ Baked Beans, Cole Slaw, Bet’s Best Potato Salad, Collard Greens, Creamy Mac n' Cheese, Borracho Beans or Candied Yams.

What We Ate:

The Brisket Platter: (Beef Brisket, Mac n' Cheese, Candied Yams, small cup of slaw, pickles, jalapenos, sliced onion & Wonder Bread)

 

Mable's recipes come from co-owner Jeff Lutonsky’s Oklahoman mother and grandmother (Mable herself). These ladies were on to something because this food is delicious.  The brisket platter was piled high with about 7 slices of perfectly cooked brisket.  It was fork tender and had a nice bark thanks to a generous application of dry rub. The bark is a BBQ term which refers to the surface of the brisket after it has been cooked. You will also notice the coveted smoke ring right below the bark of the brisket. The smoke ring refers to the pink ring that is below the bark of the brisket, these are both qualities that any true BBQ connoisseur will look for.  Topping the brisket is Mable's secret BBQ Sauce.  This is a sweet style BBQ sauce that has a nice lip smacking tang to it. This sauce is so good you will find yourself putting it on just about everything. 

To go with our brisket we ordered candied yams and Mac n' Cheese.  The candied yams were soaking in a sauce consisting of butter and brown sugar.  This sweetness helped to provide a nice contrast from the savory flavor of the meat. The yams were cooked to the right consistency and reminded us of Thanksgiving dinner.

The Mac n' Cheese was nothing fancy, which is why it is so good.   Mable's is not trying to wow you with 5 different types of cheese you can't pronounce, let alone ever heard of.  It has a nice creamy texture and reminds us of the Mac n' Cheese we grew up with, even if it was right out of a box. Like we said earlier their BBQ sauce could go on everything, well we added it on top of our Mac n' Cheese.  It sounds like an unusual pairing, but it just works and we suggest giving it a try.

Also served with the platter are some slices of Wonder Bread, Homemade Cole Slaw and a batch of pickles, onions and jalapenos that were all pickled together.  We especially like the pickles and jalapenos that add a nice spice to the meal. 

Should or Should Not Eat:

Mable's offers the type of BBQ that is hard to find outside of BBQ country. There are plenty of places in New York City that claim to have authentic BBQ, but not many of them actually deliver.  Mable's on the other hand "smokes" the competition. They provides great food, cold beers, friendly service and a perfect atmosphere making them a Should Eat.  Take a trip to Mable's and find out for yourself, you may even see us there at the bar drinking Lone Stars

Restaurant Information:

Mable's Smokehouse

Brooklyn: 44 Berry Street > 718.218.6655

Website: www.mablessmokehouse.com

Mable's Smokehouse & Banquet Hall on Urbanspoon

Crif Dogs - Brooklyn, New York

 

Crif Dogs is not your average NY Hot Dog eatery.  It's not a cart on the street corner with dogs sitting in "dirty water" (for those who are not aware I do not actually mean they use dirty water, it is just the color the water gets after cooking hot dogs all day long). It's also not a place where you are going to get 2 grill top cooked dogs and a drink for $5, like some other famous NYC hot dog ioints. 

Instead it is a place where you are able to get a hot dog that most people have had before, a Deep Fried dog.

Yes I did just say a deep fried hot dog and that's not all, most of them are wrapped in Bacon or Taylor Ham. Now I bet after reading deep fried hot dog  many of you just said "eww, gross". To those who did we ask, how often have you had something deep fried and it was bad?  

Crif Dogs has two locations, the original is located at 113 St. Marks Place in Manhattan, NY. Their second location is in Williamsburg, Brooklyn located right off the Bedford L Train stop at 555 Driggs Ave.  Both locations offer the same exact lunch/dinner menus and food quality so choose which ever location is closest to you and head out.  The Brooklyn location offers breakfast sandwiches in the morning.

The Menu:

They have an array of hot dog combinations, here are just a few of the ones that stick out.  

The Chihuahua - a Bacon wrapped dog covered with avocados & sour cream

The John-John Deragon - a crif dog with a schmear of cream cheese, scallions & everything bagel seeds

The Tsunami - a house dog, bacon wrapped, with teriyaki, pineapple and green onions

The Jersey Morning - taylor ham wrapped house dog with melted cheese and a fried egg

 

What We Ate:

A regular Crif Dog wrapped in bacon w/ a side of tater tots

We went here with a group of people most of them were Crif Dog virgins. A few of them were a bit intimidated by the menu and decided to take it easy and just get a classic Crif dog wrapped in bacon.  From our past experience these delicious, pork wrapped dogs are very good.  Crif Dogs also makes some killer tots and waffle fries, but be aware when your order a large they give you a massive amount.

 

 The Garden State (top) & John-John Deragon (bottom)

Garden State - is a taylor ham wrapped house dog, chopped pepperoncini peppers & American cheese.  The hog dog itself has a great crunch to it thanks to the deep fried bath and layer of taylor ham. The American cheese helps to give it a nice smooth taste,  but it is actually the peppers that really make this dog. The pepperoncinis help break up the salty pork flavor with a sweet and slightly spicy kick.  We highly recommend this one.

 

John-John Deragon -  We first have to note that our order was modified a bit from the original.  The original John-John is a crif dog with a schmear of cream cheese, scallions & everything bagel seeds.  This was what we were going to order until speaking with the guy working at the counter.  He said the John-John was his favorite dog but he likes to get it with hot sauce.  As soon as he said hot sauce we were sold.  We have had the original in the past and it is very good. Again there is a perfect crunch to the dog thanks to the fryer. The cream cheese is a strange choice but in the end is a perfect compliment to the dog.  Topped of with scallions and everything bagel seeds you feel as if your eating a breakfast sandwich.  Our version had the added component of hot sauce, and it was awesome.  We love hot sauce and it made us wonder why we had not thought of this sooner, in fact we even regretted not adding hot sauce to everything else we got.  Oh well there is always next time, but this dog with hot sauce is just amazing.

We feel it is important to mention that Crif Dogs does offer a vegetarian dog called the veggie special.  It is a veggie dog w/ onions, tomato, cucumber & jalapenos. It is pretty good, says our vegetarian friend.  Crif Dogs also offers a burger which we have not had but will have to try one of these days. 

Should or Should Not Eat:

Crif Dogs is a definite Should Eat. If you like Hot Dogs you will love this place.  Don't be afraid of the crazy toppings, they would not be on the menu if they didn't taste good.  We promise after you visit Crif Dogs once, you will be hooked.

Restaurant Information:

Crif Dogs

Manhattan: 113 st.marks place > 212.614.2728

Brooklyn: 555 driggs avenue > 718.302.3200

Website: www.crifdogs.com

Crif Dogs on Urbanspoon