NYCReview

Peter Luger Steak House review image
8.9

Peter Luger Steak House

$$$$718-387-7400‎
Hours:TUESDAY11:45AM to 9:45PM

The last time we visited Peter Luger, the Williamsburg steakhouse that appropriately sits near the top of many New Yorkers’ bucket lists, our server told us he was new to the restaurant. As it turns out, “new” meant he had only been working there for 10 whole years. In the context of this restaurant with a 130+ year history, he is sort of new.

Most aspects of Peter Luger seem as if they were cryogenically frozen before the Savings Bank across the street turned into a high-end wedding venue. So if you’re someone who appreciates time-capsule restaurants or places that are likely haunted by former NYC mayors you’ll enjoy every bit of this place. That includes the flippant “f*ck you” service, the fact that no music plays in the dining room, and the lack of any substantive atmosphere aside from the smell of hot, juicy red meat. Oh, and did you think you were going to pay for dinner with a credit card? Adorable. Think again. Peter Luger only accepts cash or check (or, as of relatively recently, debit card). Welcome to 1953, babe.

Peter Luger Steak House review image

In the dining room, you’ll notice some people ordering without a menu. That's because, unlike what happens at most restaurants, there’s a certified correct approach to eating at Peter Luger. Start with the wedge salad, which consists of a pile of blue cheese crumbles, confetti-sized strips of bacon, tomato hunks, and dreamily dressed rafts of iceberg lettuce. It’ll be the best non-salad salad you’ll eat for months. Next—against all logic suggesting you shouldn’t start a meal with two bacon appetizers—get Peter Luger’s famous caramelized slab bacon. Between bites of salty, sweet pork, sip an icy martini with a Peter Luger branded spike through the olives and consider all the lame steakhouse meals that haven’t brought you to this moment of clarity. Then comes the second act: the porterhouse.

Maybe, for reasons relating to climate or cholesterol, you’ve decided to only eat a couple of steaks per year. In that case, you’ll want one of your pieces of beef to be Peter Luger’s dry-aged porterhouse. The cut for two costs around $129, and when it arrives at your table, the staff will pull half-inch-thick slices of filet and sirloin onto your plate and top them with a spoonful of buttery juices. This is the pinnacle of steak—but, luxurious as it is, the porterhouse is only complete with a forkful of creamed spinach and some diner hash brown-esque German fried potatoes alongside it.

Peter Luger Steak House review image

Say you aren’t game to regularly spend upwards of $250 dollars on a two-person dinner at a restaurant where onion rings are listed under the vegetable section. Or maybe you think it’s strange that we’re all so taken by a kitschy place where the management once installed wax replicas of Jimmy Fallon and Audrey Hepburn in the dining room. In either case, Peter Luger probably won’t do anything for you other than make you tilt your head like an emotionally-wounded Labrador.

But every now and then, when the moon is high enough over New York City (or your sister’s kid graduates or you get promoted), you’re going to want a porterhouse for two and creamed spinach that contains more dairy than vegetation. When that time comes, you can’t do much better than Peter Luger. Even if you only stop by once every hundred years or so, like the ghost of Fiorello H. La Guardia does.

Food Rundown

Wedge Salad

If you need to be convinced that iceberg lettuce is a delicacy, eat this ridiculously good salad. It has blue cheese crumbles, confetti-sized strips of slab bacon, and tomato hunks, all lathered on top of crunchy lettuce. We think about this dish all the time.

Thick Bacon

At Peter Luger, you chase bacon with steak. We don’t make the rules. The grill marks and fat caps on these hand-cut pieces of pork do.

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Porterhouse Steak

There are only two options for steak at Peter Luger: a ribeye steak and the porterhouse for one, two, three, or four people. You want the porterhouse, since it has less of a fat cap. Like all the city’s best steak, it’s dry-aged and seasoned with nothing but salt and butter. A ton of butter. There’s no slicing necessary, since this will arrive at your table pre-cut. You should, however, pick up the bone and gnaw away while your dining companion isn’t paying attention.

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Creamed Spinach

Requisite side order number one. Bright green, mossy looking, and full of cream, this spinach brings out even more flavor from the steak’s salty juices.

Peter Luger Steak House review image

German Fried Potatoes

Requisite side order number two. These boiled-then-fried potatoes remind us of the diner hash browns of our dreams, with a little bit of paprika and a ton of salt and pepper. Some pieces have nothing but crispy edges, and some are soft in the middle. Eat these with your steak or maybe even with a fried egg the next day.

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Burger

The burger is only available before 4pm every day, and there’s usually a line for it on weekends starting at 11:45am (when Peter Luger opens). If you’re the kind of person who judges a burger 90% by the meat and 10% by everything else, then you’ll love this one. It has more than a half-pound of dry-aged beef, and while it’s good enough to eat plain, you should get it with thick-cut bacon, and then maybe lie down.

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Lamb Chops

These lamb chops are of second-tier importance as far as we’re concerned. Having said that, these certainly are juicy and delicious.

Peter Luger Steak House review image

Holy Cow

If you can make it through bacon, fried potato hash, creamed spinach, and buttery sirloin and filet, by all means, order this hot fudge sundae. It’s topped with a beret of schlag (homemade whipped cream). When your server drops some branded chocolate gelt on your table with the check, dip the coins into the schlag.

Peter Luger Steak House review image

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