While on our recent trip to New York City, we of course had to try a steak at Peter Luger, often cited as the best steakhouse in the USA. We called 6 weeks in advance for a Friday night dinner reservation for 2 and the only time slot offered to us was 9:45 pm. I was later told by those in the know that they hold back tables for locals and regulars...as unknown tourists we were shunted into an unpopular time. It could have been worse, they were still seating people at 11:00.
It was raining so traveling by public transport was out. Because of the apparent difficulty of finding a taxi in Brooklyn we hired a car service to take us. This worked out fine and made it easy to return to our hotel after dining.
Luger's was packed, noisy and bustleing. Luckily we managed to snag a seat at the long bar and our table was ready on time. It's clear that one doesn't go to Luger's for atmosphere unless one likes that run-down German beer hall feel. My martini was truly ghastly so I switched to beer after one sip. We didn't bother with the wine menu having heard it's not impressive. Beer actually goes quite well with the food.
We were seated in a room upstairs. Not a great room for those who want to see and be seen but perfect for us. Unlike the downstairs rooms which have bare wooden floors, the upstairs is carpeted and conversation at the table is actually possible.
At Luger's only tourists look at the menu. Heh. There is really only one thing to order and that is the Porterhouse for 2 or more. As accompaniments we ordered the German Fries (hash browns) and the Creamed Spinach. Also a couple pieces of the famous bacon to start. First up was a very nice bread basket with 3 types of rolls...all delicious, particularly the onion rolls.
On the table is always a gravy boat of Luger's Steakhouse sauce. I'd heard that one must never put it on the steak but it goes well on the salad and rolls. Honestly, to me it just tasted like a watered down version of shrimp cocktail sauce...basically ketchup and horseradish with a squeeze of lemon. I don't get the allure.
The bacon, however, lived up to its reputaion. Easily the best bacon I have ever eaten. The only thing that confuses me is that it is referred to as Canadian bacon when it is clearly cured pork belly rather than tenderloin. Still superb.
The steak arrived quickly. This is not a linger over your courses restaurant. It was already sliced and before I could get a picture the waiter had served our plates. That took me by surprise.
The steak was cooked perfectly medium rare and served on a sizzling hot plate, apparently the plate it was broiled on. Lots of fat pooled in the bottom of the plate to spoon over each serving.
The plates after serving:
My companion tried to cook the meat further on the sizzling plate as it was a bit too rare for him. Worked pretty well.
The potatoes were quite good, almost blackened and crispy. The spinach was meh. Tasted more like flour and milk than cream to me.
So was this the best steak ever? I'm hard pressed to think of a better steak I've eaten. It had that deep, bloody, almost minerally flavor that denotes a well-aged prime steak. And it was very tender but still had a nice chew. Supposedly Luger's gets first pick of all the top prime meat produced here, and then dry ages it in house which may explain why it is so good. It was well-seasoned though I don't believe the melted fat was butter as is claimed. Maybe tourists get oil instead?
Definitely worth a visit for any serious steak fan.