The words “Peter Luger” and “Best Steakhouse in America” have become synonymous. At this point, it’s hard to imagine a better Porterhouse, or a better steakhouse. Then again, they should probably have it down after 122 years of business.
The wait was brutal, over two hours, but the damage was self-inflicted. My brother didn’t bother to make a reservation. The maitre d’ was sympathetic, but we didn’t arrive for the first seating, and a wreck on the BQE pushed back reservations 45 minutes. Thankfully, we were a short walk from Spuyten Duyvil, a funky Williamsburg beer bar that regularly makes ranks among NYC’s best. The space features a wood floor, red pressed tin ceiling and canary yellow walls. You’ll also find Doctor’s charts of the “Ear, Nose and Throat” and “Development of the Human Foetus.” In warmer weather, people must flood the amazing stone-lined patio with ivy-lined brick walls. I grabbed a refreshing pint of Blue Point Bitter ($8 for 20 oz.) on cask.
Back to Luger, which is regularly described as a German beer hall. I can see that, given the pressed tin ceiling, wood floors and accents. The old school, professional staff wears crisp white shirts and black bowties.
The USDA Prime Steak For Three ($127.50) is dry-aged for 28 days on site. The Porterhouse arrives with a perfect millimeters-thin sear on a sizzling platter in luscious pan juices. The slices of filet/New York strip were still pink in the center and continued to cook on the platter, so be sure to devour the steak quickly.
My brother and his wife voted for well-done, which would have been a serious disservice to such high-quality beef. Thankfully we were able to talk him down from that ledge to medium. I would have voted for medium-rare, which is the best representation of beef that premium. No surprise: the meat closest to the bone was the most flavorful, no doubt due to a higher fat content.
Luger’s Special German Fried Potatoes for 2 ($11.95) are the perfect accompaniment, with crusty bits and sweet nubs of caramelized onion. To get the most out of these potatoes, spoon on some pan juices.
We didn’t have room for Luger’s famed apple strudel with homemade schlag, but that just gives us another reason to return. Is Peter Luger really the best steakhouse in the nation? The competition has become much more fierce in the past 122 years, but it’s hard to imagine a better steak experience.