I once worshipped the fatted cattle at Peter Lugers but long
ago I crossed it off my steakhouse list. I don’t like the glaring lights, the
growly waiters and definitely not the fatty steaks carved in the kitchen and
then delivered to your table where they are receive a benediction of melted
butter mixing into puddles of fat. Need I mention, no credit cards? But I thought I’d include it here anyway
because many New Yorkers seem to think this is the ultimate communion with a
Chef Will Horowitz does a lot of are-you-kidding inventions
in this small bare-brick storefront with its uneven floor while reggae plays. I
loved most of what I tasted that first night. But this rave is for his devotion
to smoky, rich brisket. The chef sleeps at the place overnight because the meat
for his celebrated Brisket Tuesday needs 18 hours in the smoker. Reserve ahead
because the line forms early and there are only 20 seats.
Gourmands blissed out with the arrival of
BLTSteak where the house giveaways began with outsize popovers bigger than a
newborn’s head, silken chicken liver mousse and slivers of salumi on a wooden
board (although maybe that was a plus for regulars and VIPs). I might share the
Caesar with my mate if he didn’t insist on tuna tartare and then the bone-in
sirloin for two. How you like your steak is sacred here. The menu provides a
key. The truffled gnocchi side is always a must.
I don’t mind standing in line to “shop” for Texas style
meats here while someone guards out table. Friends want to try everything:
dry-rubbed ribs, moist brisket and imported Kreuz sausage. One huge juicy cow
rib with a bite of this or that is enough for me. Usually two of us go off to
collect sides: cole slaw, potato salad, cheddar mac ’n’ cheese, undistinguished
fries, sweet corn bread. At the end we sit, too paralyzed for dessert.
It didn’t matter that I wasn’t thrilled with
chef Laurent Tourondel’s Arlington Club steak until the third try, because the
short ribs under a thatch of greens was sensational, the chicken made me happy
and I was ecstatic about the stand up macaroni. Crowds stormed the place but
returning to our favorite booth, my friend and I decided we could make a meal
of the Lexington salad and four or five sides. I finally even had a great
sirloin. If you want medium rare, order rare.
Keith McNally’s brilliant rehab of this 1937 tavern, where
tables crowd close like a jigsaw puzzle, is always packed. There was a 40-minute
wait just to sit at the bar as we left a few nights ago. Worshippers of the cow
come for the $145 dry aged Cote de Beouf with roasted marrow bones for two.
Personally I crave the everyday $19 Minetta burger – rare, please – with
cheddar and caramelized onions to the $28 Black Label burger because it’s rich
enough and less fatty.
Steak worship begins at a red-tufted leather
booth in a room that glows red with photographs of strippers and opera stars
hanging everywhere. Bring friends and start with a tall seafood plateau. I’ll
take the Bibb lettuce tossed with bacon and stilton myself, maybe share the
bone-in-strip with a pal, or join friends in a 34-oz dry-aged Cote de Boeuf. Everyone
orders a side, crowding the table .The sour-cream-bacon-cheddar stuffed baked
potato could be dinner all by itself.