As an authority, not to say an obsessive, on the subject of steak, I am frequently asked what New York's best steakhouse is. There is no simple answer for this, but there is a short list from which any answer must come. This is the short list of New York's great steakhouses, and if you don't see a name there that's because I don't consider it first rate. Note: some of the city's best steaks aren't to be found in steakhouses. But that's another list.
Combining Keith McNally's flawless art direction with co-chefs Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson's equally accomplished cooking, this elevated take on old New York outdoes both its models and its rivals.
Keens is so impossibly authentic that it's easy to overlook how beautifully art-directed it is -- a homage and, really, an improvement of the genre. Yes, it's been around a million years and yes, it sells a signature item that nobody has liked in forty years, but Keens benefits from hindsight. That, and a matchless collection of Scotch whiskies.
The most famous steakhouse in America delivers on its promise of incomparable atmosphere and unique character. It's the template of all other steakhouses, and you are almost guaranteed to have a great time there, especially if your pockets are deep. The steak is not, in fact, that great anymore, but they're still very good for the most part, and their dressing of butter and kidney suet could make a steak-umm good. The hash browns, cake, bacon, and the other sides are wonderful too.
This Argentine steakhouse has been doing it forever, and has never slipped. No one does the authentic gaucho beef better, especially with the aid of unyielding, garlicky chimichurri.
Formerly a generic trader-bait steakhouse of no particular note, Strip House has zoomed up in quality since its purchase in 2012 and now serves some of the best beef town.
The name is almost unfair; the quality of the meat (and the food generally) is so much higher at BLT Prime than at BLT steak that it really should be called something else. The sides are extraordinary too.
When asked, as I often am, for my opinion on the best steakhouse in New York, I often hem and haw. The meat may be better at Minetta Tavern, the sides at BLT Prime, the atmosphere (and nothing else) at Peter Luger. But for the overall package of flawless service, great meat, and by far the loveliest and most relaxing room of any steakhouse I know, the answer is surely Porterhouse New York. Here's a tip: go have a steak sandwich and an Old Fashioned at the bar, during the day. It's a great NYC experience.
The Frankie's Spuntino guys made their name with Italian-American restaurants, but this effort, a German-American style steakhouse, may be even better. Stark and unadorned, with a great cured meat program and big, delicious steaks, it also boasts a small specialty grocery on the side.
Small, unorthodox and independent, this East Village restaurant is no one's idea of a New York steakhouse, but guess what? It's one of the best around -- lacking only the cliches that are all many of its rivals have left.