Peter Luger, Brooklyn

December 22, 2015

Peter Luger has been named the best steakhouse in New York City by Zagat Survey for 30 years in a row. It was established in 1887 as “Carl Luger’s Café, Billiards and Bowling Alley” in the then-predominantly German neighborhood. Despite its fame, Linda and I had never been to Peter Luger until Jean, visiting from France, invited us there for dinner on November 12, 2015.

On arriving, we threaded our way through the noisy and crowded bar in front. At the podium, where people were being asked to wait, we announced our reservation and were seated in the quieter back room.

Jean contemplated the menu.
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We skipped the appetizer offerings, which looked uninteresting, and simply ordered the steak for three. We added a side of  Luger’s Special German Fried Potatoes and a side of Onion Rings.

The basket of bread rolls arrived.
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We ordered a bottle of Peter Luger’s 2012 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
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It was what you would expect in a young California Cab and went well with the steak..

Linda had a beer.
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The sauce boat was put on the table and the middle was cleared in readiness for the steak.
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And, ta-da, it arrived.
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The platter is tilted so that the juices and butter will pool at one end and can be spooned over the meat. To start our server gave us each a piece of the tenderloin and a piece of the sirloin from these Porterhouse steaks broiled medium rare. An order for three is one large and one small steak. The only seasoning is some salt and clarified butter. The sauce is on the side and is optional.
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The potatoes and onion rings were also put in the middle.
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Jean is enjoying his steak.

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So are Linda and I.

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And eventually it is gone.

Desserts at Peter Luger are served with a bowl of homemade “Schlag,” slightly sweetened whipped cream.
Linda had
Apple Strudel.
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Excellent, fresh, warm and not too sweet.

I had
Pecan Pie.
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The good pecan flavor was evident. This was a bit dry and benefitted from the schlag.

Milk chocolate coins finished things off.
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Here we are on the way out.
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We had a very enjoyable meal. The steak had a meaty heartiness brought out by the broiling, which creates an exterior char while leaving the inside rare. The flavors are concentrated in Peter Luger’s in-house aging room. The potatoes, onions and desserts were all well matched with the steak. The only disappointment was the famous sauce, that seemed sort of sweet and sour to me, but fortunately the steak was so good it was not needed.

Jean wrote: ” J’ai apprécié le style brasserie sans chichi. La viande était bonne et le vin allait bien avec. Les seules réserves pour moi sont les German potatoes que Christiane fait mieux et la sauce steak qui était insipide.” (Christiane is his German wife; if her hash browns are better than these, I hope she serves us some.)

The service was Germanic: efficient and gemütlich. The ambiance is plain and well suited. The noise level was not too bad; I think that people were concentrating on their steaks. There were plenty of tourists, of course, but locals too. The pace was rapid, but we were not rushed. Thank you, Jean, for the invitation.

 For an interesting photo report on the whole process, from buying the beef, through the aging, butchering, broiling and serving see:


2 Responses to “Peter Luger, Brooklyn”

  1. Blair Says:

    I am glad you finally made it; a NYC meat institution!

    One thing your readers should note is that Luger’s does not accept credit cards. Of course, you can get a “Luger’s Card,” but most people pay cash.

  2. John B Says:

    Michael, they market that steak sauce as you probably know. If what you were served is basically the same thing as what you can buy at the grocery, then I understand the disappointment. It has elements of cocktail sauce such as might accompany shrimp that are off-putting with steak. I only post to you about once every two years, so let me say again how much I appreciate your reviews. You and Andy Hayler are about all that is left from enjoyable restaurant blogs.

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