Peter Luger overall score: 77
What NYC steakhouse review site would be complete without the obligatory Peter Luger entry? Luger is synonymous with steak in NYC. Within a minute of discussing steak in NYC, someone party to the conversation is guaranteed to bring the place up. If I am around, you will also get a story about Bill Murray (see the bar section below).
I’ve gone to Luger’s twice for steak, and I have to buck the trend here and say that I wasn’t super impressed with the flavor. It was yummy, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve had better. Perhaps Peter Luger was hyped up so much by everyone as the greatest steakhouse in NY that I was expecting too much? I don’t think so, because my second trip was similar. Both times I ate a variant of the porterhouse cut, and both times it was good but not awesome.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 7
You may be shocked to see that Peter Luger really only offers two cuts of beef for traditional steak eating: the ribeye and the porterhouse. While both are prime grade and aged, there is no filet, and there is no strip; you simply have to get the full porterhouse if you want either of those cuts. The porterhouse is cut into various sizes and offered as “steak for two,” “steak for three,” and so forth. It is typically served pre-sliced. Luger’s does offer regular daily lunch specials that showcase other types of beef products like prime rib, chopped steak, corned beef, and pot roast, however these are not available at dinner and only sometimes at lunch. They also offer lamb chops and a small sirloin steak.
Portion Size & Plating: 8
Luger’s doesn’t advertize the sizes of each cut, but they are definitely big enough to fill you up. Plating is standard; nothing fancy. This is a man’s place, so we are good in terms of this section.
Prices are average. I forget what the bill came to, but I think I recall a steak for two being somewheer around the $70 to $80 mark. Not bad for the quality that you get, so worth the money.
I score top points for the Peter Luger bar because, well, my friends and I met the one and only Bill Murray there one evening, hung out with him, and had drinks with him. We were on our way to an obscure party in Williamsburg when we decided to pop in Luger’s for a drink or two beforehand. The bar here is great – a long stretch of ancient but nice wood, stocked with great booze. It is a classy bar worked by a classy old ostler who knows every drink in the book, especially the old timey ones. So we order our drinks and a moment later we see none other than Bill fucking Murray beside us at the bar, just sitting there with his son and a friend. Naturally we bought them beers, after which Bill thanked us, talked with us, and took some photos with us. To this day I kick myself for not asking him to come with us to the party. Imagine if he said yes and we showed up to a party with Bill Murray? Bill FUCKING Murray? Legendary.
Specials and Other Meats: 6
Luger’s is pretty basic. There’s not much by way of specials, so pick something and stick with it. As I said earlier, they do offer a lamb chop, but don’t go looking for anything else.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 7
The creamed spinach here is fantastic. Rich and smooth; it goes perfectly with the steak. The other items I tried were the french fries, which were crispy and tasty, and the sliced tomato and onion, which was just okay.
Seafood Selection: 4
Basically, Peter Luger offers a salmon entree and a fresh fish item which depends on the season. This is not the kind of place to order food items other than red meat. Stick with what’s good and quit being a pussy.
Luger’s exemplifies the traditional steakhouse service. They employ an all-male wait staff, dressed usually in formal back and white with bowties, often older gentlemen who have been working there for many years. They are very attentive, they know their product inside and out, and they are all about the customer. The food comes quickly because it is prepared quickly. Screaming hot ovens blast the meat with flames at upwards of 700 degrees, so the meal is ready fast.
A traditional steakhouse, Peter Luger sets what can almost be considered the industry standard of steak eating environs. It features old wood floors that creak under foot throughout, dark wainscoting on the lower parts of the walls, and wood tables that have survived the test of time. If you’ve never gone to a steakhouse before, go here first so you get the full effect of what it means to eat at a steakhouse.