Peter Luger Steakhouse, the biggest disappointment of my year

My little brother turned 21 on Saturday (yay!) and as a birthday present, our family took him out to Peter Luger’s for a steak (which has been a family tradition for a while now).

The evening didn’t start off too well.  We all ordered drinks at the bar, my brother was excited he was able to legally drink in front of other adults.  I ordered a dirty martini, and I kid you not, it tasted like I was drinking vodka with a cup of salt in it.  It was undrinkable. Now I’m no dirty martini expert but I’ve had one or twenty in my past and none of them were even close to as salty as this drink was.  I was being a weenie and didn’t feel like saying anything, so I made my mom do it.  She asked the bartender very, very nicely if he could make me another drink as the martini was way too salty.  Well, that just set him off. He started to literally have an adult tantrum in front of us, slamming glasses, throwing the drink out, exclaiming very loudly that he’s “made thousands of these with no complaints ever” and “it’s made with olive juice, didn’t we know that? That’s what makes it dirty” and apparently undrinkably salty.” My mom, bless her heart, was being so nice about it, while I literally wanted to take his big, ugly face and knock him down, but I kept all my seething inside.  He then says that we ordered it wrong, and that we should should have said to make it only a little dirty. So he finally he sets down his drink in front of me and I take a sip, still very salty but at least I could suck that stupid $12 drink down.

We finally sat down and the waiter was very nice. We ordered a steak for four, which was very pricey at $173 plus a $30 steak for one. We also ordered an appetizer of huge beefsteak tomatoes and french fries and creamed spinach for sides.

The tomatoes came out. They were predictably huge, but completely tasteless.  They looked like they were genetically modified and grown in a hothouse. You’re supposed to spoon the famous Peter Luger Steakhouse on it, which we did, which was okay tasting but still. It was $10 for some slices of bleh tomato.

The steak came out a little while later. It was huge and delicious looking.  Peter Luger is famous for its dry aged steak which is supposed to make it very tender. However, all six of us who ate that steak unaminously agreed that the steak didn’t taste like it had been dry aged for even an hour, and there was absolutely nothing special about it to warrant that huge price tag.  We probably could have had the same steak at Outback for a fraction of the price.  It was seriously disappointing.  As I said, it’s been a family tradition to go out to Peter Luger’s for a usually melt in your mouth tender steak.  We grew up going there. But this steak was nothing to write home about, instead it almost made me angry because the taste just did not match what we thought we were paying for.

The creamed spinach and french fries were the highlights of the evening.  The spinach was very flavorful with a strong spinach flavor and no overpowering creaminess to it.  The french fries were big, crispy, and hot.  But still, those are items you can get anywhere.  We also got crappy, not crispy onion rings.  Just another disappointing thing to add to the list.

It makes me sad to write this post because I really used to love Peter Luger’s and would rave about it to anyone who would listen.  Now I will do the opposite and say that it does not live up to its hype.  All we got was an overpriced meal and rude service.  Needless to say, we will never go there again.

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4 thoughts on “Peter Luger Steakhouse, the biggest disappointment of my year

  1. Archie says:

    I hope you spoke up and let them know!

    • jaycin333 says:

      Usually I have no problem with saying anything but Peter Luger doesn’t seem like it’s open to the feedback. I don’t know, I don’t think it would have made a difference.

      • Dakin says:

        You are right– they won’t care if you complain. PL is one of the highest grossing restaurants in the united states, much less NYC. they live on their reputation and don’t care if you come back or not, even in a recession.To be fair, I have never eaten there, but know many wall street types who have and their experiences vary. Part of the “character” is the rude staff, like your bartender. For special occasions, try Spark’s ( a steakhouse where big paul castellano got wacked; mob guys usually know the best restaurants)or my favorite the 21 Club. My wife maintains they make the best martini she has ever had and I always enjoy the atmosphere and the food there.

      • jaycin333 says:

        Thank you for the recommendations – will definitely need to try them!

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