Here, six chophouses that stand out in the Big Apple:
“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,” say Michelin inspectors of the iconic steakhouse at the base of Brooklyn’s Williamsburg Bridge. After opening for service in 1887 as Carl Luger’s Café, Billiards and Bowling Alley, it quickly became a neighborhood hangout, and after the opening of the Williamsburg Bridge in 1903, even more so. Since then—and now under the direction of the Forman family—Peter Luger’s has been named one of the top-rated steakhouses in the five boroughs and has held a Michelin star since the New York City guide’s inception in 2006.
“Start with a thick slice of bacon to get your taste buds up to speed before the steak arrives,” add inspectors. “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.”
Midtown West/Herald Square
Fun fact: this historical steakhouse owns the largest collection of churchwarden pipes in the world; the Pipe Club’s notable names include Babe Ruth, Teddy Roosevelt and Albert Einstein, among others. Albert Keen opened Keens to the public in 1885 in what was the Herald Square Theatre District, making the lauded steakhouse the only survivor today. “It suggests a Dickensian Gentleman's club, with its dark wood panelling and low ceiling lined with thousands of clay pipes,” say inspectors, “although these days the customers are mostly deal-making business types rather than extravagantly whiskered thespians.”
On the menu, look for steakhouse favorites like oysters and little neck clams on the half shell, iceberg wedge salads, and dry-aged USDA prime steaks for the taking.
The Time Warner Center is home to many fine dining establishments; chef/owner Michael Lomanaco’s flagship steakhouse, Porter House, is one of them. Stop in for prime steaks, seafood and pastas while taking in the breathtaking views of Central Park and Columbus Circle through the restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows.
“The kitchen puts out a tasty helping of sweet and spicy onion rings, buttermilk-battered and deep-fried in portions designed for linebackers,” note inspectors. “The beautifully marbled ribeye is aged for more than 45 days and would be delicious simply seared, though a chili rub adds an aggressive spice.”
The Beatrice Inn
“Chef/co-owner Angie Mar has produced a classic chophouse menu, where meat is king,” inspectors say of the West Village self-proclaimed “underground” chophouse. At The Beatrice Inn, where Mar has been at the helm since 2014, meats from around the world are wet- and dry-aged. (Think a 60-day dry-aged cote de boeuf and 160-day Whiskey-aged Tomahawk ribeye.)
“There are plenty of dishes for sharing, whether that's the dry-aged rack of lamb or the applewood-smoked rabbit,” add inspectors. “But even standard dishes designed for one are on the hefty side. Flavors 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.”
After a successful run from 1993 to 2007 in Boca Raton, Florida, Maxwell’s Chophouse planted its roots in Manhattan’s Flatiron District. “Maxwell’s is an opulent and gilded steakhouse that instantly feels like a well-bred, New York classic,” note Michelin inspectors. Here, mother-daughter duo Babette Haddad and Melissa Haddad Malaga bring forth a menu boasting in-house dry-aged cuts of meat, heaping salads and seafood towers.
“Like any self-respecting chophouse, sides like buttery whipped potatoes, nicely balanced wedge salads, and on-point desserts are traditional and delicious,” say inspectors. “However, those thick cuts of dry-aged, top-tier steaks are a perfectly rare treat.” (Pun very much intended.)
4 Charles Prime Rib
“Brendan Sodikoff's lovely newcomer makes the case that New York should be home to more Chicago influencers,” inspectors say of the steakhouse named for its street address. This late night dining den is a sure win for meat-lovers, with a menu offering three cuts of prime rib that’s been slow-roasted for 12 hours and served with beef jus.
What to order? “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,” suggest inspectors. “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.”
Porter House hero image by Noah Fecks.