It’s almost 4pm at work on a perfectly sunny Saturday in London. While I wait for a certain something to incubate in the water bath, I can’t seem to ignore my hunger pangs as I regret the lack of breakfast and lunch. And here I am, dreaming and drooling over the best steak I ever had in my life, to stave off that growing hunger before I get off work to grab a bite. Yes, I am quite a loser.
We attempted to make a reservation at Peter Luger Steakhouse at least a month before our Christmas holiday in New York City, and to our horror, it was fully booked at the Brooklyn branch, so our kind concierge made a booking at the Long Island branch instead. I wasn’t very happy about that because Long Island was too far off for our packed schedule in NYC. And then we received a call one day and yay, someone cancelled their reservation at Brooklyn, so the table was ours!
In anticipation for glorious, glorious meat that our dear foodie friends have so lovingly spoken of, we had a typical American breakfast at a diner round the corner from where we were staying, and decided to skip lunch. I should have known that our constantly hungry selves would take over because at about 3pm, we were painfully hungry and chomped down hotdogs in desperation. We could only hope that we had room for steak at dinnertime.
We took a cab to Brooklyn, and found ourselves walking into a madly-packed and rowdy bar at Peter Luger Steakhouse. It was full of men, all waiting to pounce on bloody pieces of meat after good rounds of beer. I felt slightly out of place, being one of the possibly three women in the steakhouse but the waiters were a delight and made me feel right at home with nary a glance that sneered at the sheer audacity of an Asian woman to enter premises that so clearly belonged to hungry, meat-loving men.
The menu is no-nonsense, short and sweet. There was only one thing that everyone came for, its famous steaks, so I wasn’t surprised at the small selection. If you don’t like steak or meat, it’s best to have a full meal before you meet your pals here, or avoid the steakhouse altogether. We quickly ordered a Porterhouse Steak for Two, a portion of onion rings and a bottle of red wine to share. No healthy salads, no additional main courses, just steak, onions and red, which is pretty much the way a steak dinner should be. The service was prompt, friendly and the kitchen must be quick on its feet because our steak arrived in no time, resting on a huge plate.
And then it was showtime. The waiter tilted the plate and anchored it on an inverted saucer, allowing the oil and meat juices to collect on one end, while keeping the steak on the other. He proceeded to describe the different cuts present on a Porterhouse steak and (wipe your eyes before you read the following) then dipped pieces of the steak into the hot oil. The lovely chunks of pink meat sizzled before our very eyes. I was bordering on insanity as I watched this. Such theatrics to get the salivary glands and piranha behaviour going! What followed, was a hurried scramble for utensils to tuck in.
Oh the meat…..the meat!!! It was so buttery, so perfectly charred on the outside and lusciously pink and juicy in the middle. I’m not kidding when I say this, but it is possible for steak to melt in your mouth, Peter Luger steak that is. I was torn between savouring the steak whilst keeping my mouth shut and wondering aloud to my husband. How can steak be this good?! Isn’t it just a slab of meat cooked on a grill? The texture and flavours clearly suggested that Peter Luger Steakhouse prides itself on procuring the finest meats that fulfilled its criteria – pink, well and evenly marbled with fat, and the meat only comes from cattle graded PRIME by the United States Agriculture Department.
And the onion rings were sooooooo divine and crisp. It wasn’t dripping in oil, and it was so light, I didn’t particularly want to share it with M. Oh what wouldn’t I do to get my hands on these again?!
We were happy and satisfied, albeit overly-stuffed diners. We completely regretted the hotdogs we had succumbed to in the afternoon, and if it weren’t for that, we would have willingly choked ourselves to death with another portion of steak, and packed another to go so we could hug it to sleep.
M fell madly in love with the steak at Peter Luger, and we are immensely disappointed to say that we haven’t managed to find a piece of meat cooked so well, that could rival that. Our hunt continues in London, but I doubt anything will turn up. There must be a reason why it has been voted the best steakhouse for years and years, just look at the number of people who pack the house on a week night, in Brooklyn, no less!
We have to go back to Peter Luger Steakhouse for another round of steak and onion rings, and to try the other sides that we’ve missed. This I have proclaimed to M and judging from his response, I’d say that We Can Hardly Wait!
Peter Luger Steakhouse is located at:
178 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11211
255 Northern Boulevard, Great Neck, NY 11021