NYC Steakhouse & Martini Golf Weekend
by Fat Guy
If Vegas has an argument towards being the World Capital Of Steakhouses, New York would certainly have to be the Grandaddy Of The World Capital Of Steakhouses. You almost have to splurge on a big-time NYC steakhouse once in your life, just to educate your steak palate and cross it off your bucket list.
Travel Channel's Steak Paradise names three NYC stalwarts to their list: Peter Luger Steakhouse , Brooklyn. "Peter Luger Steakhouse is known as the 'Vatican of meat' by its devoted patrons. For over 120 years, Peter Luger has been serving up its famous porterhouse steaks. In fact, their steaks are in such high demand that reservations need to be made weeks ahead of time. According to the restaurant's loyal customers, the steaks at Peter Luger Steakhouse are worth the wait."
The Palm , New York City. "The Palm on Second Ave. and 45th St. is the restaurant's flagship location. The walls of The Palm are decorated with comics drawn by some of the most gifted hands in the business. The decorating began when the owner of the restaurant allowed struggling newspaper artists to paint caricatures in lieu of paying for their dinners. Now, patrons of this famed steakhouse can see their likeness adorn the wall -- if, over the years, they spend $15,000 at The Palm. All the beef at The Palm comes from one source, and they dry-age their meat between 28 and 35 days. Seasoned only with olive oil and kosher salt, the cuts are broiled to perfection and served. This magic recipe has expanded business and The Palm now has locations nationwide, with 4 restaurants in New York City alone."
Megu , New York City. "At Megu, beef is king and nothing beats Kobe beef. The owner, Hiro Nishida, takes great pride in his restaurant and its extraordinary design. Most of the materials used to build the restaurant's interior are imported from Japan -- just like the Kobe beef. If you like your beef raw, sample the beef sashimi."
Beyond Steak Paradise, most Best Steakhouses in NYC lists include:
Old School: Keens Steakhouse (72 W 36th, great Chateaubriand for 2 @ $102), Maloney & Porcelli (37 E 50th St, well-aged midtown Manhattan classic features steak, oysters, and nice vintages), Uncle Jack's (440 9th Ave, new meaning to 'Meatpacking district', huge portions, Kobe beef).
Wall Street-Style Power Dining: Dylan Prime (62 Laight St, ultra-trendy SNL cast hangout with great filets), Old Homestead Steakhouse (56 9th Ave, hard to pick between the Kobe steak, filet, or the $41 Kobe burger), Sparks Steakhouse (210 E 46th, high quality, oil paintings, leather chairs, great prime sirloin and fresh lobster), Strip Steak (lobster bisque, NY strip, ribeye, porterhouse, red velvet walls, dim lighting, black-&-white pin-ups, bordello atmosphere), MarkJoseph (Financial District, great creamed spinach and hashbrowns compliment great steaks), BLT Prime (111 E 22nd, steak with 5-star French twists, saucy acoutroments), and Robert's (536 W 28th St, the steakhouse at Scores Gentlemen's club... enough said).
Relatively Reasonable (for NYC): Monkey Bar (60 E 54th, has a different $24 special steak every night), Knickerbocker Bar & Grill (33 University Place, a T-bone that'll make you cry, live jazz, and great lobster mashed).
Family Friendly: Ben & Jack's (219 E 44th, former Luger's waiters' beef palace is welcoming and unpretentious with great porterhouse steaks).
The hamburger can often be a distant cousin to a good steak, but not in New York City. Per the Cooking Channel, New York's best burger is at Minetta Tavern (Greenwich Village). Minetta has been described as a "Parisian steakhouse meets a classic NYC tavern." Think former Hemmingway hangout, former speakeasy, re-retro-ized decor with gilded gold ceilings, and an invigorated classic menu from new owners in 2008. The Minetta's Black Label burger is $26 (hey, it's New York), but it's a thing to behold. An 8-ounce patty as thick as a Stephen King paperback is hand-formed from ground dry-aged strip steak, short-rib meat, and skirt steak giving the burger a steak-y flavor that would only be spoiled by cheese or condiments. It's then seared on a specially designed extra-hot flat grill and consistently drenched in melted butter during cooking to keep the seared edges soft. It's then rested, the same as a steak should be, to allow the juices and fat to coagulate. Finally it's topped with the sweetest carmalized onions you've ever had, and served on a hearty bun with pommes frites [Fat Guy's no food critic, but I think that's French for French fries]. Oh yeah, they do their steaks with the same butter-laden TLC, and were named the best steakhouse in NYC by no less than the New York Times . A new owner is "breathing fresh life into this late 1930's relic... it's high gloss nostaglia." Their dry aged Cote de Boeuf for two is often mentioned in the same sentence with sex, complete with brontasaurus-sized roasted marrow bones and sucrine lettuce salad, priced at a mere $104 (hey, it's NuYoak, you want the friggin' steak or naat?). The potatoes Anna, a crispy cross between scalloped and hash browns, are a Must Order.
You could spend a fortnight here, eat at a different steakhouse and hit a different martini lounge every night, and barely scratch the surface. For martinis, hit The Bubble Lounge for an old school Hollywood living room feel with rich classical fabrics. Primarily a champagne lounge but a great martini menu, order a chocolately Kit Kat or a Tribeca Cooler martini. The guys at SneakySunday.com dig Stir (1363 1st Ave). Great chill place to grab a cocktail on a date or a night out with friends. Good seating and upscale bar food make this a fun night out - especially in the area of 73rd and 1st that doesn't have as many upscale nightlife options! Or Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle Hotel (35 East 76th Street at Madison Avenue). Another "old-school bar" with a lot of class at the Carlyle Hotel on the Upper East Side. There's live music (with cover after 9:30) and the murals on the wall are done by Ludwig Bemelmans (the author of the Madeline book series). They do various cocktails, with a chatty barstaff - and a great "dark" location makes it a good date place too!
But the ultimate authority on things such as the best martini in NYC is probably the New Yorker . They dig Madam Geneva (4 Bleecker St., at Bowery). The moodily lit lounge hidden in back of AvroKO’s Bowery hot spot Double Crown takes its name from an old British slang term for gin. The Beefeater comes sweetened with housemade jam. Pegu Club (77 W. Houston St., 2nd Fl). Audrey Saunders stocks specialty gins that make her bar a martini mecca, and the Fitty-Fitty is a sly, silky variant with half gin and half dry vermouth—plus orange bitters and a lemon twist that highlight the two liquors’ botanicals. The devil is in the details. Not only do they serve most martinis in a smaller glass with paired carafe to preserve the drink’s signature chill and keep the stemware frozen, they even chill the olives. Bar Seven Five at Andaz Wall Street Hotel (75 Wall St., at Water St.). Don’t expect the overheated, see-and-be-seen ambience of the Ace , the Jane , or the Standard at this hotel bar. In fact, don’t even expect an actual bar. Instead, you’ll find a modular space designed by David Rockwell in dollar-bill green, several large, black tables suitable for sitting or standing, and roving servers carrying wooden caddies stacked with shakers and glasses. The drinks are poured tableside, in a Benihana–meets–Sasha Petraske sort of way. And while the setting is definitely meant to appeal to modern-day Don Drapers, the cocktails (all $13) are more Ragtime than Mad Men (think gin, not vodka, martinis).
The best original drink in NYC is the V.I.P. (Vodka Infused Pineapple) at Del Frisco's Steakhouse (1221 Ave Of The Americas), and they serve up a nice steak too.
Steakhouses and martinis mean upscale golf. Getting to the course is a bigger challenge in New York than just about anywhere else on the planet, but the endless dining, nightlife, and entertainment options in the Big Apple make it worth the traffic and parking hassles. Make your tee times for late morning and give yourself plenty of time to get to the course.
Bethpage State Park (Black) 6,684 yards, par 71 $50-$120 516-249-0707, www.nysparks.com
Bethpage State Park (Red) 6,555 yards, par 70 $41-$92 516-249-0707, www.nysparks.com
Hudson Hills Golf Course 6,935 yards, par 71 $55-$115 914-864-3000, www.hudsonhillsgolf.com
Pound Ridge Golf Club 7,171 yards, par 72 $175-$235 914-764-5771, www.poundridgegolf.com
Centennial Golf Club (Lakes/Fairways) 7,133 yards, par 72 $65-$135 845-225-5700, www.centennialgolf.com
The Golf Club at Mansion Ridge 6,889 yards, par 72 $69-$129 845-782-7888, www.mansionridge.com
Omni Berkshire Place $329 per night 212-753-5800, www.omnihotels.com
Trump International Hotel & Tower New York $495 per night 212-299-1000, www.trumpintl.com