New York City's chophouses evoke old school American fine dining at its best — porterhouses, sirloins and rib eyes, perfectly done and served in a pool of its own juices, all in the fine company of classic side dishes like creamed spinach and crab cakes.
Here are our inspector’s picks for a few of the best, always USDA Prime, steaks in New York City.
New York City’s favourite, and most discussed, destination for steak is unquestionably Peter Luger in Brooklyn. A family-owned business since 1887, it is also one of the city’s oldest steakhouses. The notoriously gruff service and raucous ambiance are an inseparable part of the experience, but the hand-picked, USDA Prime steaks deserve all the accolades. The order here is a porterhouse, dry aged around 28 days for that singular, spectacular flavour. Classic sides include creamed spinach and German potatoes. It’s wise to save room for dessert and compulsory to pay the bill in cash.
What our inspectors say: More than just an icon of the New York dining scene—Peter Luger is an idolised classic. Run on wheels by a team of gloriously forthright waiters, this munificent paean to beef doesn’t just serve legendary steaks, it provides a side helping of history too. The wood paneling and beer-hall tables tell of family gatherings, friends united, deal making, success celebrated and stories swapped. It’s evocative and unforgettable. It’s also unapologetically old-school—computerisation and credit cards remain fanciful futuristic concepts, so you’ll need to come with a few Benjamins tucked into your wallet. Start with a thick slice of bacon to get your taste buds up to speed before the steak arrives. These slabs of finely marbled Porterhouse are dry-aged in-house for around 28 days, which means there’s tenderloin on one side of the bone and strip steak on the other. They are then broiled to perfection, sliced before being brought to the table, and served with their own sauce as well as a host of sides, which range from their version of German fried potatoes to creamed spinach. If you can still feel a pulse, go ahead and order dessert, if only to get a mound of their famous schlag made in the back.
Cote may not be a traditional steakhouse, but it is nonetheless a house of meat. The owner, Simon Kim, was previously a partner in Piora, a now-shuttered One MICHELIN Star restaurant loved for its excellent cuisine and intimate setting. Kim knows how to stage a room. At Cote, his modern Korean barbecue restaurant, the ambiance is decidedly more animated. The smokeless grills anchoring each table sear quality cuts of American and Japanese Wagyu, dry-aged in-house (the meat locker is on display downstairs). The Butcher’s Feast prix-fixe offers a sample of four cuts served alongside an abundance of banchan, leafy greens and spicy stews. Servers will tend to your grills, ensuring that your meat is cooked to the kitchen’s standards.
What our inspectors say: Korean-born Simon Kim opened Cote as a joyful celebration of his home country’s love for beef allied with his admiration for the great American steakhouse—and that’s what makes this place unique. Just head downstairs and admire the meats hanging in the aging room. If that doesn’t have a Pavlovian effect on you, nothing will. The space also breaks the norm in its looks; it's dark, moody and atmospheric. And while better suited to a group than a date, it is still a restaurant for which people dress up. There’s a comprehensive wine list too, which, if you look close enough, offers nuggets of value. (Downstairs is their ersatz speakeasy, Undercote. )First-timers should head for the “Butcher’s Feast” where you’ll get four different cuts of beef and a luscious egg soufflé that’s a meal in itself. This is accompanied by enough banchan and stews to cover your table and appetite. The USDA Prime meats are first presented raw for you to admire their marbling and colour. Your server then rubs the smokeless grill with oil before expertly cooking them. The supporting cast of accompanying flavours—from the kimchi to the ssamjang—are all there to enhance their succulent and persuasive flavour even further.
The Beatrice Inn has been a fixture of New York City’s social circuit since the 1920s, when it was a prohibition-era speakeasy. A century later, the restaurant is still a hub for the city’s upper strata. It’s incarnation as a steakhouse began in 2013, and the restaurant truly found its footing when Chef Angie Mar took charge of the kitchen. Since becoming a principal investor in 2016 (she bought the restaurant from Graydon Carter, then Editor-in-Chief of Vanity Fair), Mar has cemented her reputation as a chef and butcher with extremely high standards. Her Beatrice Inn is the stage for innovative aging techniques, such as a 160-day whiskey-aged rib eye, and theatrical presentation. At The Bea, dinner is the event. The dimly lit, wood-panelled dining room and rich, European-influenced plates are ideal for an evening of indulgence.
What our inspectors say: Its glitzy and glamorous history makes this one of those restaurants about which everyone has an opinion—regardless of whether they’ve been here or not. The celebrity cavalcade may have now moved on, but that appealing sense of speakeasy secrecy remains, with its low ceiling and even lower lighting adding to the sense of intimacy and intrigue. Chef/co-owner Angie Mar has produced a classic chophouse menu, where meat is king. There are plenty of dishes for sharing, whether that’s the dry-aged rack of lamb or the applewood-smoked rabbit, but even standard dishes designed for one are on the hefty size. Flavours are big and bold but the richness of the meat is balanced by a judicious use of herbs and fruits. That said, make sure you come hungry.
It may seem unusual to find a fish tank at a steakhouse, but when that steakhouse is in the historically Greek neighbourhood of Astoria, Queens, it begins to make sense. At Christos, though, the fish tank is filled with lobster and the specialty is still the steak. Here, USDA Prime meat is aged for 21 days in-house and broiled at incendiary temperatures before receiving a finishing touch of oregano. Under Executive Chef Mina Newman, traditional steakhouse starters are listed alongside Mediterranean favourites like charred octopus and saganaki.
What our inspectors say: This beloved Astoria steakhouse has a lot going for it, but its cause for celebration is that authentic Greek accent that imbues everything here. Excellent quality beef, as in the signature prime “wedge” for two, is dry-aged in-house, charbroiled to exact specification and finished with sea salt and dried oregano. Vibrant starters and sides underscore the Aegean spirit at play with pan-fried vlahotiri cheese, charred octopus with roasted peppers and a red wine dressing, as well as smoked feta-mashed potatoes. Christos has a commanding presence on a quiet tree-shaded corner just off bustling Ditmars Blvd. Mixing shades of brown, the cozy and elegant dining room has a separate bar area and is lined with fish tanks stocked with live lobsters.
Brendan Sodikoff is a prolific restaurateur in Chicago and this NYC speakeasy-styled steakhouse comes from his Hogsalt Hospitality group (perhaps best known for the line-inducing burger at Chicago’s Au Cheval). A burger is on the menu at 4 Charles Prime Rib, but sides of beef roasted for 12 hours are the specialty, and definitively the thing to order (or the off-menu porterhouse, which often appears as a special). Choose from three prime rib cuts, with each option growing in thickness. Though the restaurant opened in 2017, the wood-paneling, soft leather banquettes and walls cluttered with pictures have the kind of intimate, timeless feeling of an old American chophouse.
What our inspectors say: Brendan Sodikoff's lovely destination makes the case that New York should be home to more Chicago influencers. This may be a meat-centric spot named for its street address, but the intimate size and modest exterior make it feel like a charming hideaway. The mood of the staff is warm and welcoming. Some dishes may break with tradition but offer tasty results, like spaghetti carbonara twirled with pecorino and smoky guanciale set beneath a silky fried egg. Others are firmly footed classics, like a phenomenal bone-in Porterhouse for two, served alongside truffle potatoes, creamed spinach and a whole head of roasted garlic. Bookend your meal with wonderful cocktails and desserts—perhaps a dense wedge of Valrhona dark chocolate pie in an Oreo-cookie crust.
Across the street from the tree-lined Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, Jake’s Steakhouse is an everyday neighbourhood restaurant good enough for a special occasion. The restaurant opened in 2001 with a menu that sits at the cross-section of American favourites: drinking snacks like wings and sliders, Italian-American standards like fried calamari and penne alla vodka, and of course, the beef — from a 35-day dry-aged rib eye to a filet topped with frizzled onions. Dessert is required when local, long-time businesses like S & S Cheesecake and Lloyds (famous for their carrot cake) are on the menu.
What our inspectors say: While the city may be chock-a-block with steakhouses, it's hard to argue with this gem's deft cooking. Duck behind the limestone facade and you’ll find a clubby, multi-level space with private nooks, a lively, well-stocked bar, flat-screens displaying the latest games and an upstairs wall of windows overlooking Van Cortlandt Park. A true American steakhouse ought to have a substantial shrimp cocktail, and at Jake’s this classic starter arrives fresh and delicious with the sweetness of plump shrimp offset by a tangy cocktail sauce. Any steak on the menu can be topped with Gorgonzola and a thatch of frizzled fried onions, though a succulent and well-marbled T-bone seared to rosy-pink perfection begs for little beyond a fork, knife and good conversation.
Keens is a New York classic, and another one of the city’s oldest steakhouses. It was established in 1885 within the historic Herald Square Theater District, an equally debaucherous part of town as its infamous neighbor, Times Square. In the last century, Keens has seen countless luminaries cross its threshold (Teddy Roosevelt and Albert Einstein among them). Legend may overshadow cuisine at other establishments, but at Keens, the food continues to stand on its own. Quintessential American chophouse fare includes wedge salads, Prime porterhouses, buttered potatoes and of course, a New York cheesecake. The mutton chop is a signature dish, but the kitchen puts forth a beautiful steak.
Have your steak with a view at Porter House, the luxurious bar and grill on the fourth floor of the Time Warner Center. Here, the elegant setting is enhanced by views of Columbus Circle and Central Park (request a window seat to take full advantage). New York chef and owner Michael Lomonaco has been preparing top-of-the-line steaks and a plethora of market-driven seasonal American dishes since 2006. At this steakhouse, you won’t be faulted for ordering the fish. Porter House has something for every appetite: Choose between thick-cut bacon or Hamachi crudo, butter-poached lobster or a côte de boeuf. Japanese A5 Wagyu and Snake River Farms American Wagyu, if not decadent enough, can be topped with the likes of King Crab or foie gras.
What our inspectors say: This is a steakhouse in the moneyed Time Warner Center after all, so deals here are going down almost as quickly as those bottles of Château Margaux. Still, this isn’t a suits-only haunt; in fact, the intuitive service makes everyone feel like a bigwig. And the Central Park views are worthy of the price tag alone. The food is straightforward, featuring crab cakes with horseradish-mustard sauce and charred cowboy rib steak. But, don’t shy away from other equally surprising items, including sweet, slightly al dente corn bathed with a delightfully rich and creamy sauce. South Carolina coconut cake is one fluffy layer after another topped with a smooth and not-too-sweet icing as well as a heap of shaved coconut for just the right bit of crunch.