If your travels from your Main Street take you to New York, here’s where MainStreet thinks you should go to indulge in steak...
There's something about the plates weighed down with juicy hunks of beef, boldly tannic red wines swirling in huge crystal glasses and sides and desserts to sate even the biggest appetite that seems conducive to discussing contracts, accounting methods, co-workers and the like.
Just be careful wielding those big knives while you talk.
Fortunately for anyone in New York City, there's a plethora of eateries specializing in beefy goodness -- and many of them are wonderful. I've narrowed the discussion down to four steakhouses, each of which I picked for a different reason.
For a take on some good, perhaps less-expensive locations with a variety of cuisines, check out James Altucher's recommendations on the best restaurants in which to hold business meetings.
Michael Jordan's The Steakhouse NYC
Grand Central Station
I expected to feel a bit like a tourist eating at Michael Jordan's, which is located on one side of Grand Central Station, overlooking the main concourse.
But any touristy sensibilities evaporated when I took a bite of my rib-eye. The seasoning, the marbling, everything just seemed done to perfection.
The appetizers, such as the iceberg salad and the tomato with sweet onions, didn't disappoint. Nor did the sides. And the prices are pretty much in line with other steakhouses of similar caliber.
There's no particular shtick to it. It's just a good, solid steakhouse. And it happens to be my favorite in New York City -- at least for now.
I feel a little silly favoring such a new restaurant -- one named after a sports star, who isn't even famous for being on a New York team. But there you have it. I can't help what my taste buds tell me.
Robert's Steakhouse at the Penthouse Executive Club
603 W. 45th St.
It's this simple: Don't go to Robert's unless you want to see strippers along with your strip steak -- and are prepared to pay for the privilege.
A big deal was made of Adam Perry Lang going to work in the Penthouse Club, and Frank Bruni's New York Times review made me yearn to go taste steak crafted by this touted master.
The steak is, indeed, luscious. But prices are very high. The steaks seem to be $10 to $20 more than comparable selections at other great places, and bottles of wine start at about $70.
Add in the air conditioning that cools the food quickly, the loud, repetitive strip-club music (Jennifer Lopez's Do It Well played, I think, three times when I was there) and the football-stadium announcer saying, "that was ARIEL on the stage just now..." Not to mention the yelling you have to do to be heard by your companion just across the table.
It doesn't make for an environment in which one can really enjoy the steak, or the dining experience, on its own.
The Granddaddy of 'Em All
178 Broadway, Brooklyn
This venerable Brooklyn steakhouse is year after year cited as one of the best -- if not the best -- in New York.
There's no denying that the porterhouse steak is lovely, still cooking to your exact desired doneness on the plate in front of you, glistening with butter and juices.
But this restaurant is caught between tradition and the way of the contemporary world.
For instance, you're "not supposed" to ask for menus. If you do, I was told, the waiters get grumpy.
Restaurant-goers nowadays want their options. So people in a group I went with asked for menus and got nary a scowl. I didn't know whether to be glad we missed the famed treatment, or disappointed.
For those who want the steak but don't care about the tradition, there are a lot of imitators, mostly started by alumni of Luger. Places such as MarkJoseph and Ben & Jack's bring the famed food into contemporary dining establishments, often with better wine, appetizer and dessert selections. Oh, and they take credit cards.
But there's a lot to love in that authentic Luger's tradition.
68 West 58th Street
A restaurant dedicated to serving Kobe-style beef: The concept is a little narrow, and the prices are massively expensive, but if you're in a mood to indulge (or on an expense account) it's a great experience.
(Kobe beef is from a specific region in Japan; if it isn't from that region, it's more correctly called "wagyu.")
If you can forget about the swords hanging from the ceiling and the fake fire on the wall, Kobe Club is an all-out pleasant protein experience.
The Kobe Club offers small pieces of beef so you can experiment with different kinds, such as a 4 oz. filet and 4 oz. striploin. There is American beef, Australian and Japanese; Japanese is the most expensive and, of course, the best.
I loved the two-person "flights" of beef. There's the "emperor's flight," with all-Japanese wagyu -- a 4 oz. filet, 4 oz. sirloin and 10 oz. rib-eye for $395. Or, if that payout sounds a little much, try the "samurai's flight" with 4 oz. each of American, Australian and Japanese wagyu filet, plus 6 oz. of American prime filet. That's a mere $225.
There are so many other great steakhouses, the mind reels. Morton's(MRT) Steakhouse has long been a favorite of mine. Bobby Van's, Delmonico's, The Palm, Smith & Wollensky(SWRG), Ruth's Chris(RUTH) and others can rightly claim places among the elite of New York City.