Sunday, April 15, 2007

Keens Steak House: Birthday Steak!!

Yesterday was my birthday. And, while others may like spa treatments, expensive gifts or lots of hard liquor to celebrate their birthdays, I have traditionally enjoyed steak. Although I am a huge fan of Peter Luger's, I often go to other steak houses. One day I will find a steak house closer to the Upper West Side than Brooklyn. And so on this birthday we all headed off to Keens Steakhouse on West 36th Street, right off the IRT and near Madison Square Garden. Its even closer than the Palm!

Keens is one the older New York Steakhouses. It was founded in 1885. There are three floors and multiple rooms. Like the Four Seasons, where you sit will affect your dining experience. We sat in the Bull Moose Room, named after Teddy Roosevelt and featuring a large moose head: which I am assuming is a gift from Teddy himself. Try to avoid sitting on the main room on thefirst floor, if possible. Sitting in one of their four "private" rooms is the way to go.

Keens is also the home of the worlds largest collection of clay pipes. These pipes were too fragile to move from place to place, and were kept where they were smoked. The whole place is decorated in pipes (look at the ceiling). Famous people's pipes, including Teddy Roosevelt, are prominently displayed in the front of the restaurant.

As for the food, well its ok. The best appetizer was a $45 chilled seafood plate, featuring half a lobster, shrimp, muscles, clams and oysters. Tomato and onion salad was fine, but didn't compare to Luger's.

We had the Porterhouse steak for 3 for 4. This worked well, although 3 of the 4 people were women. It was rare as ordered, and very flavorful. The texture was not perfect, but it was quite a good porterhouse steak. We also had fillet, which was as good as fillet ever is (I am not a fan of fillet). The creamed spinach was excellent. Mushrooms were good, but could easily be avoided. Their potato dishes were small, and not that exciting. Dessert was weak, even for a steakhouse.

Keens has an excellent list of whiskey. They have a wine list that has bad forty dollar bottles of wine. After that, the prices jump up to way the heck overpriced. Stick with whiskey!

Keens is a really pleasant place to eat. If you choose the right room, you will have plenty of space, no pressure to leave, and decent food. It would also be an interesting place to go before the Rangers. However, I still feel the need for the pilgrimage to Luger's in Brooklyn (or even Great Neck) for the perfect steak.

FLICKR PHOTOS: You can see food photos from Keens here.

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