Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Peter Luger v. Wolfgang's Steakhouse

We went to Peter Luger last month (Nov 1) to celebrate Ben D's birthday. It was his first time there, and we stuck to the classic Peter Luger menu: bacon, hash browns, creamed spinach, and steak for four, rare (sometimes they overcook the steak, so I always get it rare). We also added tomatoes and onions in response to our waiter's strong powers of suggestion.

The tomatoes and onions were just thickly sliced tomatoes and onions. Pretty ridiculous. The waiter suggested eating them with the bacon and some steak sauce, and they were pretty good. Not a bad dish when you assemble it all like that.

At some point during our meal, I noticed the seasonal decoration in the dining room.

Do you see it? Here, I'll zoom in.

That's right. It's a tiny, solitary pumpkin on some random shelf. Someone has a good sense of humor.

Anyway, the meal was great. The steak was just as it should be, and it was a lot of fun. I think it's always more fun coming here with someone who has never been before. I'm convinced that the first meal at Peter Luger is always the best. Somehow the steak tastes better. I don't know why that would be, but that's how it is. It's what I've heard from friends, and it's what Mabel and I think ourselves. So it's good to have that at the table.

The meal was also a lot of fun because Mabel and I got there a bit early and had a stiff drink. It will be remembered as the meal where we discovered that getting a little drunk right before dinner is awesome.

Two more things about the meal. This place is famous for only taking cash (or the Peter Luger charge card, which doesn't count). But we were super low on cash because Mabel lost her wallet and we didn't have the ATM cards for our joint account. We barely made it.

Also, if you ever go to Peter Luger, look for their pocket protectors. If you know me, you know I'm a nerd for pocket protectors. They have these oversized ones with "Peter Luger" written on them. I asked if there was any way I could get a hold of one, but my waiter let me down. Maybe one day they'll offer them to the general public.


A week and a half after our meal at Peter Luger, we went to a resident recruitment thing at Wolfgang's Steakhouse. I first heard about Wolfgang's from this article in the Times around the time they opened up. It seems like they're doing pretty well. We went to their second location in Tribeca.

This wasn't a sit down dinner. It was drinks and hors d'oeuvres, kind of. They had crab cakes, shrimp cocktail, tuna, and canapes. And it was all good. At the end of the night, they even brought out a perfectly charred Porterhouse cut up in little pieces with toothpicks in each piece. They hors d'oeuvres-erized a Porterhouse. It was great. The taste was on par with Peter Luger, although it's difficult to control for context.

But the great innovation here, the memorable part of the meal, was the lamb chops. They served lamp chops as finger food. Just a whole lamb chop. But they expected you to pick it up by the bone and eat it. Awesome! It makes so much sense. You pick up a loin lamb chop by the bone and there's meat on either side. And it's just the right size. It's kind of weird but kind of awesome. It's kind of barbaric but also kind of perfect.

Peter Luger Steak House
178 Broadway
Brooklyn, NY 11211-6131
(718) 387-7400

Wolfgang's Steakhouse Tribeca
409 Greenwich St
New York, NY 10013
(212) 925-0350

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