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Were you cooked evenly?

Luger is still a tipping establishment, right? You probably put a significant ding in his income that hour.   Shrimp cocktail is supposed to be hard and crunchy? [i rarely eat anything with more t

Isn't he saying the potatoes suck and the steak isn't as great as it once was though?

I'm sure none of these thoughts is original.

 

1. This will seem hard to believe, but back in the '80s and '90s, "good" restaurants didn't serve beef. There was even a Times piece about it at some point during that period -- which, since the Times doesn't report "trends" until they're so obvious you can't walk down the street without stepping in them, proves the point. So if you wanted good beef, you had to go to someplace like Luger's. To be sure, you could have argued, back then, whether Luger's was really the best of the lot (I thought that Rich's favored rival Sparks salted their steaks almost to the point of inedibility, myself) (LOVED Christ Cella). But Luger's was up there. And there was no competition from the kind of places where the chefs actually can cook.

 

2. Over the last several years, with the dumbing down of haute cuisine, the "best" restaurants run by the "best" chefs started serving beef -- and especially steak -- as one of their premier offerings. For one thing, this meant new purveyors arose providing better beef than the time-tested longstanding contacts that Luger's had used to support its legend. For another thing, it meant that there were now better, more attentive chefs cooking steak than the ones in Luger's kitchen.

 

3. You can now go to just about any top (non-sushi) restaurant in New York and order a steak. And it will probably be better than Luger's. To say that isn't a slam on Luger's. It's just that the competition got better. It's like, there was a time when the slices at Joe's were the best pizza in New York. The slices at Joe's are still great, no denying that. But who now would say they're the best pizza you can get here?

 

4. Daniel likes a certain type of restaurant and dislikes certain other types. I will swear on anything I can swear on that the large-format steak at Frenchette, right now, is better than the Porterhouse at Luger's. I also understand that nothing will ever make Daniel like Frenchette. That's great. We go to restaurants to have a good time.

 

5. When Mile End opened, it seemed to some of us that its (then) artisanally produced smoked meat (when you could get it) was better than Katz's pastrami. That opinion was widely derided: "you always said Katz's was great, and now you say this is better?" I didn't, and don't, understand that. It seems pretty self-evident that if you know what you're doing, small-batch production with better ingredients and closer attention to technique will trump big-batch production. (Italics because Brooklyn gin and vermouth still can't touch "real" gins and vermouths, even from big producers.) (And Harry and Ida's isn't better than Katz's: sorry.)

 

6. I love going to Luger's. I'm not going to stop because of this.

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I have been going to Peter Lugers for over thirty years.. For the Luger's burger to be discredit over one experience seems a bit harsh.. Considering they make New Yorks best burger, day in and day out for decades, one bad time is not going to erase all of that.

 

The service is gruff, sure. But, not in a snotty dicky way.. Not in a bad service way.. not I’m on my cell phone and forgot about you sort of way. You ask for something you get it.. You get a little attitude sometimes, you give it back ,it's new york, it's nothing personal.

 

The steak if fabulous. The bread is good. Wine list sucks, sure.. I usually drink martinis and beer, by the time the steak arrives, a glass of their house is plenty fine.

 

I have never felt ripped off or cheated, or anything other than satisfied and happy. A wedge salad with bacon, a steak for two, a plate of raw onions and some fried potatoes in one of the coolest rooms in new york.. I am all set.

 

The place has been opened for how many years, over a hundred.. This review took place over three visits, a couple of weeks in a 7000 week run.

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You were at that dinner with Steve Dilley, where he pulled small plastic packs of fancy salt from his pockets, right? My “coke dealers at Luger” memory.

 

Lol.

 

What Sneak said.

 

Still a good burger.  What I didn't know is that you can get the burger (or any food) at the bar at lunch.

 

I went to Keen's for the first time in ages awhile back... it was solid (as far as old-school NY steakhouses go), and they had some unexpected gems on the list, like '07 Allemand.  And Gramenon BTG.

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I'm sure none of these thoughts is original.

 

1.  This will seem hard to believe, but back in the '80s and '90s, "good" restaurants didn't serve beef.  There was even a Times piece about it at some point during that period -- which, since the Times doesn't report "trends" until they're so obvious you can't walk down the street without stepping in them, proves the point.  So if you wanted good beef, you had to go to someplace like Luger's.  To be sure, you could have argued, back then, whether Luger's was really the best of the lot (I thought that Rich's favored rival Sparks salted their steaks almost to the point of inedibility, myself) (LOVED Christ Cella).  But Luger's was up there.  And there was no competition from the kind of places where the chefs actually can cook.

 

2.  Over the last several years, with the dumbing down of haute cuisine, the "best" restaurants run by the "best" chefs started serving beef -- and especially steak -- as one of their premier offerings.  For one thing, this meant new purveyors arose providing better beef than the time-tested longstanding contacts that Luger's had used to support its legend.  For another thing, it meant that there were now better, more attentive chefs cooking steak than the ones in Luger's kitchen.

 

3.  You can now go to just about any top (non-sushi) restaurant in New York and order a steak.  And it will probably be better than Luger's.  To say that isn't a slam on Luger's.  It's just that the competition got better.  It's like, there was a time when the slices at Joe's were the best pizza in New York.  The slices at Joe's are still great, no denying that.  But who now would say they're the best pizza you can get here?

 

4.  Daniel likes a certain type of restaurant and dislikes certain other types.  I will swear on anything I can swear on that the large-format steak at Frenchette, right now, is better than the Porterhouse at Luger's.  I also understand that nothing will ever make Daniel like Frenchette.  That's great.  We go to restaurants to have a good time.

 

5.  When Mile End opened, it seemed to some of us that its (then) artisanally produced smoked meat (when you could get it) was better than Katz's pastrami.  That opinion was widely derided:  "you said Katz's was great, and now you say this is better?"  I didn't, and don't, understand that.  It seems pretty self-evident that if you know what you're doing, small-batch production with better ingredients and closer attention to technique will trump big-batch production.  (Italics because Brooklyn gin and vermouth still can't touch "real" gins and vermouths, even from big producers.)  (And Harry and Ida's isn't better than Katz's:  sorry.)

 

6.  I love going to Luger's.  I'm not going to stop because of this.

 

This seems right? I've only been to Luger's a handful of times, but my last meal there was Not Good (2016 I think?) while previous meals have always been more fun than good, with some Very Good steaks. How the sad onions and tomatoes became a must order, I will never know. It is a very bad plate of food, and an expensive one, but one I always have ordered, so they are doing something right.

 

I will obviously say this, but "dumbing down" of haute cuising seems to be the wrong attribution here. Whatever one thinks about post-recessionary fine dining, or the use of beef as the main course in F3 restaurants historically, my feeling is that (i) the increased focus on ingredients in NBC and sub-fining dining restaurants, including a greater focus on dry aged beef (Ssam Bar being the exemplar), and (ii) the presence of elite beef at the true fine dining level, in particular the use of American, Australian and then Japanese wagyu (Keller I think being the focal point here), are probably what made Luger start to look weak. The cooking technique, which I recall reading as par cook, then slice, then broil, has always been weak compared to what proper chefs were doing. But it's a fun place and all of that, and would much rather go there than some of the steakhouses in my town that are serving much better steaks. 

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I think there's an unfair element in the comparison:

 

- Ssam Bar served those terrific steaks for a couple of years with prices increasing to the point that they started selling the steak for two as a steak for 4-5 with sides. Afaik there is nothing left of that.

 

- Luger sells probably 200-300 times more steaks than Frenchette could, and there would be no way for Frenchette, as massive as it is, to increase their numbers substantially. 

 

So the power of Luger (or any equivalent steakhouse) is, or should be,offering a consistently high-quality (if not the highest possible) steak in a high volume environment. Luger, as far as I can tell, has been having more trouble doing so in recent years as they've grown.

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I think there's an unfair element in the comparison:

 

- Ssam Bar served those terrific steaks for a couple of years with prices increasing to the point that they started selling the steak for two as a steak for 4-5 with sides. Afaik there is nothing left of that.

 

- Luger sells probably 200-300 times more steaks than Frenchette could, and there would be no way for Frenchette, as massive as it is, to increase their numbers substantially. 

 

So the power of Luger (or any equivalent steakhouse) is, or should be,offering a consistently high-quality (if not the highest possible) steak in a high volume environment. Luger, as far as I can tell, has been having more trouble doing so in recent years as they've grown.

 

Agreed. But also the narrative around Luger was once "best steak in the world" and not "very good high volume steak". The latter is a very admirable thing - merits of the wine list aside, I think of L'Express is a great high volume French restaurant, not the best French restaurant in Montreal - but, to pivot the narrative, does involve knocking Luger down a peg or two. Whether it is successful as a high volume kind of place, I don't have enough visits to say. 

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Right, and I think if the issue was just that the world has grown and Luger hasn't, it would go from two stars to one, but since Luger has also declined, it had to be zero (and I imagine that's based on more than a couple of really bad meals Wells had there).

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It's surprising it took this long for a critic to notice the decline. Having been going to Luger since the early 60's, the decline was quite noticeable by the mid 90's.

 

To be fair, it was excellent until then.

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4. Daniel likes a certain type of restaurant and dislikes certain other types. I will swear on anything I can swear on that the large-format steak at Frenchette, right now, is better than the Porterhouse at Luger's. I also understand that nothing will ever make Daniel like Frenchette. That's great. We go to restaurants to have a good time.

 

 

What are you talking about.. I love being in a crowded overly formal room.. whisked away from the streets of Chinatown to sit in a small stuffy expensive place.. It's pretty much what I live for..  :P

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This seems right? I've only been to Luger's a handful of times, but my last meal there was Not Good (2016 I think?) while previous meals have always been more fun than good, with some Very Good steaks. How the sad onions and tomatoes became a must order, I will never know. It is a very bad plate of food, and an expensive one, but one I always have ordered, so they are doing something right.

 

I will obviously say this, but "dumbing down" of haute cuising seems to be the wrong attribution here. Whatever one thinks about post-recessionary fine dining, or the use of beef as the main course in F3 restaurants historically, my feeling is that (i) the increased focus on ingredients in NBC and sub-fining dining restaurants, including a greater focus on dry aged beef (Ssam Bar being the exemplar), and (ii) the presence of elite beef at the true fine dining level, in particular the use of American, Australian and then Japanese wagyu (Keller I think being the focal point here), are probably what made Luger start to look weak. The cooking technique, which I recall reading as par cook, then slice, then broil, has always been weak compared to what proper chefs were doing. But it's a fun place and all of that, and would much rather go there than some of the steakhouses in my town that are serving much better steaks.

It no longer seems relevant to this discussion, but I feel like I should clarify two things I might have said wrong.

 

First, when I referred to "good" restaurants, I didn't mean (just) F3.  I meant restaurants with pretensions to being good.  Even before NBC, that included a lot of places below the F3 level.

 

I think it's telling that when Tom Valenti took over New York with An Elemental Hunk Of Braised Meat at Alison on Dominick, it was a lamb shank.  That lamb shank then ushered in the flood of short ribs that made New York safe for beef again.

 

Second, I knew "dumbing down" was too pejorative.  I like beef.  I think the "dumbing down" is that now just about every upper-moderate-and-up non-sushi restaurant in New York also has to function as a steakhouse.  So I guess my problem isn't beef on menus, it's steak on every menu.  (To be clear, I love steak.)  Well, also I think it's pretty lame that the climactic course of just about every tasting menu in New York is a piece of grilled or broiled hyper-aged Wagyu.

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