Saturday, 12 June 2010
New York eats – Peter Luger, 178 Broadway Brooklyn, N.Y. 11211
May I begin by saying:
This is the best steak house in the world.
I started this blog when I realised that I seemed to remember what I ate better than what I did. Whenever someone asked me what I did or where I went, I’d struggle to sometimes come up with the details, but ask me what I had to eat one day last week and I could probably dredge up the most boring, delicious detail from the menu to the price. So, I thought, what better way to keep a picture journal than with food pictures.
I also wanted to let people know what I ate, and never more so than for this place. Now, when we told family and friends that we were going to New York, we were told, yep, told to go to Peter Luger’s. We were then showed a YouTube video of Peter Luger’s, and which steak house has a YouTube video? (maybe quite a few, who knows)
Being told that this was The Best Steak House in the world (with prices to match), we were kinda sceptical, not to mention slightly frightened by the prospect of paying so much for cow, but anyhow, determined to try it out since we were in the Big Apple, we booked a slot at the restaurant. People told us how difficult it was to book a place. Not at all.
(Granted, it was at 3.45pm on a Friday afternoon. I can’t imagine that being a prime time slot for steak consumption.)
Having got lost from Manhattan to Brooklyn (we walked across the wrong bridge, and then had to take a cab to the restaurant, and NONE of the 3 cabbies we flagged knew where this place was. The guy we finally went with (the 3rd guy) had a running commentary from his walkie-talkie (or taxi-talkie) central person thing and was directed to the place. When we finally got there, it almost felt like we were being taken into shelter from the unfamiliar sights of the Brooklyn streets, and so, settled in with a sigh of relief and hunger to the wooden, big armchairs in the restaurant.
They sure know how to treat lost, hungry people here. Within seconds of being sat down, a basket of warm, fresh bread was brought to the table. The bits on top of the bread were shallots maybe? But this was by far one of the nicest bread basket bread I’d ever had. Slightly chewy when torn apart, it tasted slightly garlicky, almost as though it had been mixed with some garlic-flavoured olive oil.
On the table was a gravy boat, presumably for the steak. It tasted of tomato, but spiced up with something so the overall effect was one of a spicy tomato sauce (NOT ketchup).
Before we arrived, we’d read reviews from places which said things like:
a) You can’t ask for a menu, otherwise they will know you’re a tourist. Well, the huge DSLR on my neck kinda gave that away. This must be why they gave us a menu anyway (and to every other table in the room). Myth de-bunked.
b) You can’t even SAY what meat you want, just the way you want it cooked and for how many people. Again, myth kinda de-bunked because unless you come to a steak house looking for a tuna sandwich, it’s kinda presumed (not unfairly) that you’re coming for steak. The menu is pretty idiot-proof (refer above).
We ordered the Steak For Two. Rare, please, and settled down to wait.
While we waited, I amused myself by seeing how many pictures I could take of stuff around the table.
And then, the Steak For Two was brought to the table.
Wait for it …
Keep waiting, it’s worth it.
Steak For Two, rare. OHMYGOODNESS how much cow is on that plate?!?!
While I gasped and snapped away, you’ll notice that the huge chunk of missing cow from the top left of the plate was silently being consumed by the boyfriend.
The piece of steak which was gingerly put on my plate by the waiter, presumably slightly afraid of my grinning, salivating self. I could barely bring myself to eat it, so I took about a hundred pictures of it, thinking that if I kept snapping and never eating it, it’d remain on the plate. (Highly logical, I must say.)
Then, I remembered how much it cost, and decided to eat it.
Look, I know it’s almost the same picture as above, but look at how beautiful this piece of steak is. It’s almost an insult to call it steak; to class it with other pieces of inferior steak-pretending things. I’ve never had steak like this before, and after eating it, the only name I think is fit for this is:
Cotton-Candy Cow Meat
I can’t even begin to imagine how they cooked this, but the outside was almost charred, and the inside was still pink and quivering. There was a worrying amount of oil (I prefer to think of it as juice, or even, gravy) on the platter, which is why the plate is tilting slightly to the left. It’s something the restaurant staff did for everyone, and not some weight-loss method derived by me, nope.
Like the boyfriend so aptly described it, you didn’t need the steak knife provided because you could just pick the meat up with your fingers and just nibble it gently, and it felt like eating cotton candy (minus the sweet stuff, of course).
How many pictures of steak is enough? Never enough, I say.
Helpful that they put a little reminder that its rare.
When we were done with the pieces around the bone, we started working on the bone, and this is the resultant meatless bone. We must have done well because the waiter came over to marvel at it. Marvel, I say, but it could have been to laugh at it, for all I know. I’ll choose to believe the better version.
Chips that cost us US$10. Expensive, but I must conclude, worth it. Very crispy, and still very rich and satisfying inside.
Then the bill came. But the beef had done so much to impress us that we almost felt like we were glad to pay US$135 for the meal.
Look, you don’t even have to guess if I will recommend this or not, because if you don’t go there, you don’t know what you’re missing.
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