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Whether you’re a visitor or a resident, you’re probably well aware that there are hundreds of spots in New York City to get a really nice cut of steak. The bustling city is packed with hungry diners, who love to slow down—or wheel and deal—over a couple of martinis, plateaus of oysters, a bottle of bold red wine, and of course, a perfectly cooked slab of beef. Add in hospitable service that guides you through the menu, an inviting, clubby atmosphere, and you’ve got the recipe for a top-notch steakhouse.
But the experience is often not inexpensive, and the disappointment of spending money on a mediocre meal is a pain most of us have felt. So, before you splurge, find our picks for the best of the best in the big city.
From institutions dating back over a century to modern classics, here’s where to book your big reservation in New York City.
Keens is the kind of place where, after leaving NYC for several years, when you return for a meal not only does your waiter remember you, he remembers your drink order (true story). The service is that good, and the food far surpasses it. The James Beard Award-winning, 138-year-old steakhouse, which the character’s Don and Roger frequented on TV’s “Mad Men,” owns the largest collection of churchwarden pipes in the world. The pipes, with their owners’ names, are displayed throughout, giving the space a funky, but still classic vibe.
Dine on the famous mutton chop, aged steaks, and perfect hash browns on the boisterous first floor, or tuck into one of the more intimate rooms on the second floor. Be sure to check out the Bull Moose room’s ornate decor and cozy fireplace. Finish your meal with a hot fudge sundae that will take you back to your childhood.
This Michelin-starred hotspot is a cross between a Korean barbecue restaurant and a classic steakhouse. Intrigued? You should be. Order the $68 per person Butcher’s Feast and you’ll get four USDA Prime and American wagyu cuts to cook over your smokeless grill, along with Korean-inflected sides like egg soufflé, scallion salad, and kimchi stew. Or, ball out and order the $225 per person steak omakase, featuring a grand tour of premium dry-aged cuts. The wine list is excellent. The room is comfy and dimly lit, perfect for a date or night out with friends.
The first Hawksmoor opened in East London in 2007, and while New Yorkers love a homegrown spot, the British import’s mission to buy the best products and let them shine has translated beautifully in Gotham. Hawksmoor is one of the only steakhouses in the city to grill its steaks over charcoal, and the restaurant serves its ribeyes, filets, and strip steaks in one of the most glamorous rooms in town.
If you’re flying solo, the bar is the perfect spot to pull up for a craft cocktail and a steak, or the Peacemaker Po’boy, which is a heaping portion of short ribs topped with fried oysters and ranch dressing on a crisp roll.
Located just off the bustle of Times Square, Gallaghers is the perfect pre- or post-theater stop, assuming your appetite is up to it. Enter the clubby room, heavy on wood and leather, by walking past the giant aging locker holding all the restaurant’s meat up front. Open since 1927, Gallagher’s is a classic steakhouse in every sense of the word, with waitstaff quietly and deftly serving your meal, which should start with house-smoked bacon.
For entrées, you’ll find porterhouse for two, three and four, along with an always excellent bone-in New York strip, and house specialties like veal chop parmigiana. The restaurant’s banana split is the cherry on top of the meal.
One of the city’s most affordable new steakhouses comes from chef and restaurateur Laurent Tourondel, and it’s a delight. The menu is short and to the point: greens, skirt steak, and fries for $45. The fries are unlimited. The steak is rich, gamey, and comes with a peppery Béarnaise sauce. And, the field greens are crisp and fresh. Sometimes the staff will offer different sides, like half a lobster or cauliflower gratin, and you should try them. The pared-down Chelsea space is walk-in only and you’ll want to save room to pick a sweet from the dessert cart.
Head out to Brooklyn, and you’ll find this buzzy steakhouse on a charming street in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood. This is a spot for local New Yorkers who want a nicer-than-normal dinner without heading into Manhattan. The menu notably includes a Sunday night roast with a sous vide tri-tip for $36. That price includes sides like French fries and popovers. The candlelit space exudes charm, and the bar is always packed with people from the neighborhood enjoying happy hour-priced beer and cocktails.
Need to impress a client or the in-laws? Take them to this gorgeous space perched high corner above Central Park with the stunning views the location promises. Bring your corporate expense account and enjoy luxurious side dishes, grand wines, traditional and more trendy cuts of beef, all accompanied by first-class service. Chef and owner Michael Lomonaco was the chef at Windows on the World at the former World Trade Center, and bounced back with this establishment in 2007. It remains a world-class evening out.
Another Brooklyn steakhouse worth the trip out of Manhattan, this restaurant bucked tradition when it opened back in 2010. The prices are relatively down-to-earth for a steakhouse, with several meats priced by the pound such as the hanger steak, in a room that feels like a hunting lodge. The grass-fed strip is outstanding, along with less conventional choices like swordfish, lamb saddle, and fish collar. The Iceberg and Blue Salad with warm bacon dressing will change the way you think about a wedge-style salad.
This buzzy nouveau steakhouse sits in downtown Manhattan, and is revered for its extremely meat-forward menu, which features A5 Wagyu beef (at relatively reasonable prices considering), a stunning Chateaubriand for two, American Wagyu from Snake River Farms, and a roasted Amish chicken that’s better than it has any right to be. Get the duck lasagne or kung pao duck wings for the table, because you already know you’re going to get the meat sweats. So, you might as well enjoy every bite.
With five locations in Manhattan (plus one in New Jersey and one in Boston), Wolfgang‘s is clearly a local favorite, serving chophouse classics such as porterhouse for two, ribeye, filet mignon, and a killer lobster mac and cheese. Even so, the original location on Park Avenue, with its stunning vaulted tile ceilings and buzzy after-work Manhattan vibe, is the top choice, but you won’t be disappointed at any of the locations.