This post is dedicated to all my meat lover friends and followers out there… If you are a big steak lover like I am, then the name Peter Luger should ring a bell.
And whether you have been to this steak house or not, I am sure that somehow at some point, you may have heard of this place in New York (Brooklyn to be exact), that serves the quintessential American steak.
Peter Luger is the king of all American steak houses. It is an American institution. In fact, it has been in existence since 1887! That’s right, this place has been here and has been serving the finest steaks in America for 125 years now and counting! They are known the world over to serve only the most premium quality steaks and only those parts (short loin to be precise) of a beef that bear the grade of USDA Prime.
As soon as you enter the restaurant, you are greeted by a wall of Zagat certificates neatly framed and arranged from every year, naming them as THE TOP STEAKHOUSE in New York.
They are that popular that it takes an average of two months to book a table for dinner and three weeks to a month to book a table for lunch, if you get lucky. From political leaders to Hollywood celebrities to the biggest gourmands and local foodies, this place is always brimming with hungry diners who have made the “pilgrimage” to the “steak mecca of the world”.
The atmosphere of the restaurant is very old-school, traditional American and yet exuding with Bavarian influence. An old bar, with furniture made of dark wood and old waiters who don’t smile are all part of the “ambience”.
The dining area. We sat in one of the tables here.
As soon as we placed our orders, a plate of hot bread and cold butter was served.
Because we knew we would be eating something “sinful” for our mains, we started “healthy”. We first had the traditional Sliced Tomatoes and Onions Salad with Luger’s Own Sauce (photo of the sauce below).
As you can see, these are no ordinary tomatoes and onions. They were gigantic! The tomatoes were sweet and juicy, while the onions were crunchy and tasty! I had never tasted onions this big and good!
The famous Peter Luger Sauce that they served together with the Sliced Tomatoes and Onions Salad. You may or may not add this to the salad. And being a purist when it comes to my veggies, I chose not to. This is also the exact same sauce for their steaks.
Next salad that we ordered was the Caesar Salad with grated Pecorino Roman and Croutons.
And then for our appetizers, we had their famous Sizzling Bacon, Extra Thick by the Slice.
At this point in time, we decided to throw away our “healthy eating habits” out the door and just close our eyes (and open our mouths) to what was lying in front of us!
And then it finally arrived… the star of the show, the king of all steaks, the Peter Luger Porterhouse. Since we were a group of 8 hungry people, we had 2 orders of their huge Steak for Four!
What makes this steak extra special? It all starts from the meat selection process, wherein only members of the Luger family who visit the wholesale markets (on a daily basis) are allowed to choose. Only those cattle that have passed the test and are graded PRIME by the USDA are considered. From hereon, they check the color, fat (marbling) and bones. The short loin that has been selected from this process will now go into the restaurant’s premises for dry aging and eventually for butchering and cooking.
Peter Luger is known to serve not only the biggest and thickest (about 2 inches), but the tastiest and juiciest kind of steak in this part of the world. This is by far, the biggest steak I have ever seen in my life!
USDA PRIME Striploin, dry-aged and cooked medium. (One thing I was told was to never ask for your steak here “well-done”, it’s like committing murder and the waiters will frown at you!)
The steak to beat all other steaks. Beautiful and perfect, in all its fat and glory. Medium inside and medium well on the outside — just the way I like my steak to be.
The meat was so tender, it melted like butter in my mouth. The flavor of the meat was incredible, with the juice coming out with every bite. Salt and pepper were more than enough to season this huge piece of meat. And because the steak was simply too good on its own, I didn’t see the need to add their steak sauce on top of it. (Grave injustice, I think!)
So to balance it all off, I decided to just eat my meat with one side dish, the Creamed Spinach - the simple flavors of which perfectly complemented my tasty, juicy steak.
And as if our huge steaks weren’t enough, to end our wonderful meal, we ordered a slew of traditional American desserts.
We started with Luger’s Special “Holy Cow” Hot Fudge Sundae. And you guessed it… as soon as it arrived, we all exclaimed, “Holy Cow!!!”
Then we had the traditional American / German Pie, the Apple Strudel. This was really good. Freshly cut sweet apples enveloped by the thinnest and flakiest pastry and baked to perfection.
Followed by the Key Lime Pie, which I think is probably one of the best Key Lime Pies I’ve ever had in my entire life. There was that perfect balance of sweetness and sourness here, and the whole thing was lovingly laid on a very thin graham crust, that could barely support its heavy weight. The super soft, ooey gooey texture of the pie in itself made the whole thing even more delicious.
Pecan Pie, another excellent American dessert from their menu. This is something I wouldn’t mind having again and again. (If I could, I would.) The nuts on top were crunchy while the pie in itself was just perfectly soft and chewy, while the filling not too sweet.
And of course, last but not the least, we ordered their Homemade Schlag. This proved to be the perfect “topping” and “ending” to all our desserts. I spooned this really yummy German-style whipped cream on top of my Key Lime Pie and Pecan Pie, and boy, was that pure heaven!
And because the waiters probably sensed that we were still hungry for more desserts (?) or perhaps they found out there was a big Chocoholic (!!) in the group – who hasn’t had her fill of chocolates for this meal yet – they threw in a bunch of their lucky chocolate coins on our table! (Yes, how’s that for excellent service?!)
We were so full and delighted at the end of our big meal, and the chocolate coins thrown in for good measure were just the bonus! Of course, my own piece of chocolate coin didn’t last that long. I couldn’t help myself -and so I had it as my post-dessert, together with my hot cup of Americano.
And I think that was just the perfect way to end my happy meal.
Peter Luger surely lived up to its name and hype. It is no ordinary steak house. The food and the over-all experience of dining in one of America’s institutions were well worth the pilgrimage to this steak mecca. This is the place all steak house owners go to – to imitate and copy. The owners themselves are perfectly alright with this since they know that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But then again, I guess they also know that as with anything else in life, there can only be one original, one real thing.
178 Broadway, Brooklyn NY 11211 (718-387-7400)
255 Northern Boulevard, Great Neck, NY 11021 (516-487-8800)