Valentine’s day, no matter your romantic status, is essentially an excuse to treat yourself and someone you love. With that in mind, imagine nipping at a chilled shellfish platter, leaning in over a char-broiled porterhouse, delighting in a glass of Champagne and remember — it’s good to feel good now and again.
Here are our inspector’s picks for a few of the best, always USDA Prime, steaks in New York City:
New York City’s favorite, 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 flavor. Classic sides include creamed spinach and German potatoes. It’s wise to save room for dessert and compulsory to pay the bill in cash.
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.
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-paneled dining room and rich, European-influenced plates are ideal for an evening of indulgence.
It may seem unusual to find a fish tank at a steakhouse, but when that steakhouse is in the historically Greek neighborhood 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 favorites like charred octopus and saganaki.
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.
Across the street from the tree-lined Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, Jake’s Steakhouse is an everyday neighborhood restaurant good enough for a special occasion. The restaurant opened in 2001 with a menu that sits at the cross-section of American favorites: 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.
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.