Peter Luger Steakhouse in New York

April 5, 2008

Without a doubt, my favorite restaurant in New York. My favorite restaurant in the world. If you go to New York and you do not go here, you are missing out, and if you are from New York, and you’ve never been there, you should leave and never come back.

Peter Luger steakhouse opened in 1887 as “Carl Luger’s Café, Billiards and Bowling Alley” began in the mostly German Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg. Since it has been around for 120 years, they must be doing something right? Right? Rated the best steakhouse in New York by Zagats for 24 years running, awarded a James Beard award, and given 3 stars from the Grey Lady (New York Times), this is the best restaurant in New York, if not the world. Yes, I said 3 stars, I know Frank Bruni knocked it down to two, but what does he know anyway?

This restaurant definitely does not have a scene like some other midtown restaurants where people talk in hushed voices and the lighting is so low, you could be eating someone else’s food. Not at Peter Lugers, the patrons here sometimes sing songs and laugh without restraint while the overhead brass chandeliers make the room bright, declared unbearably bright by some, but perfect for me. Especially if you tend to photograph your food.

Being the most popular steakhouse in New York, you have to call at least 3 weeks ahead, and more if you want a holiday or a weekend. If you want to get there, pick up a taxi at a hotel, because some taxi drivers don’t want to drive to Brooklyn as it is too far away, even though it is required by law to drive to any of the five boroughs. It will take half an hour to forty-five minutes and will cost about $30-45 dollars, but it will be definitely worth it. You might have to wait 30 minutes to an hour depending on the size of your group, as diners tend to stick around after their food has been served and taken away.

Do not believe the rumor of the rude, stern waiter, as when I went there, each waiter and server was just as friendly as the one before. They tend not to give menus to locals (trust me, they can tell) and they usually give them to non-locals and tourists. The waiters are mostly professional European waiters, who almost never make mistakes.

Do not order the fish, go for the porterhouse, called the “steak for ____.” You must start with Canadian Bacon, actually cured pork belly, follow that with a Caesar salad or sliced tomato and onions, get German potatoes as a side for your steak and end with dessert. The steak sauce is not that good as it is just ketchup mixed with horseradish and lemon. It tastes like a weak cocktail sauce.

The bread basket was amazing, as the large brown speckled rolls in the front were onion rolls. They are bread wrapped around diced onions… amazing.

Slice of Canadian Bacon ($2.95)

Caesar Salad ($9.95), was fresh, crisp, just how a Caesar salad should be.

Steak for Two ($83.90), the steak sizzling in a mixture of its own juices and butter.

When your steak is brought out, the plate is heated to 400f in the 1800f broiler so that the steak does not cool when you are eating it. If you want a picture you have to tell your waiter because he will instantly flip over a small plate to put the steak dish onto an angle to pool the drippings and then pull the already-sliced steak apart.

The steak after the waiter took a few pieces off

German Fried Potatoes for two ($10.95)

The “Holy Cow” Sundae, the ice cream was just Haagen Daz (which is good), but the Schlag (whipped cream) made it perfect.

When you go to Lugers, bring cash because the only credit card that is accepted is the Peter Luger credit card, which can only be used at… you guessed it… Peter Luger. Don’t go the clones: Blair Perrone, Wolfgang’s, Ben & Jack’s and if you do, try the original one.

Ask for a plate of “schlag”- its whipped cream, they make it. I hate whipped cream, but I love theirs.

Peter Luger
178 Broadway
Brooklyn, NY, 11211
(718) 387-7400
Open: Mon-Thu: 11:45am-9:45pm, Fri-Sat: 11:45am-10:45pm, Sun: 12:45-9:45pm

Matchbooks: Yes, but you have to ask for them