Tag Archives: Dirty Martini

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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My favorite place on earth (besides my home)

On Saturday, I was lucky enough to spend an entire afternoon and night in NYC.  I LOVE THAT CITY.  Very few cities come close to the amazing, kinetic energy of the city.  I grew up going there, and I just love all of the discoveries I find each time I’m there.  This was kind of girl-centric trip and I had the entire day and night planned.  My friends called me the cruise director for the day and that kind of morphed into a dream career for as Cindy, the “Experience Planner”.

Anyway, on to the food.  I do A LOT of research before going into the city because I do not want to leave that place without having at least a few great meals there.

For lunch, we headed to Despana in Soho.  It’s a Spanish/gourmet market/restaurant.  It’s freaking so good. Next time you’re in the city, get your butt over there.  You will not regret it.  I ordered the Picante Bocadillo (sandwich).  It was their own home made chorizo, with Mahon (cow’s milk) cheese, spicy guindilla peppers, tomato slices, and aioli.  Before I get to the inside of the bocadillo, let me talk about the bread. It was a revelation, really what all bread should aspire to be.  So crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, fresh, and such a delicious bread flavor.  It also wasn’t hard to bite off or chew (a pet peeve of mine for bread).  Now on to the filling, because that was so damn delicious as well.  The chorizo and the peppers really gave a nice spicy kick.  The chorizo was so flavorful and just salty enough.  The tomato really added a nice freshness to the entire sandwich.  I finished the entire thing and enjoyed every minute of it.

I also ordered two tapas: a Tortilla Espanola and a Jamon croquette.  The tortilla was really well done, the egg and potato were perfectly balanced and the onion gave it a nice subtle flavor. Plus the texture was nice and firm.  The croquette was perfectly deep fried and the cheese and Spanish ham inside were nice.  It was a little salty, not the best croquette I’ve had but better than most I’ve had in the US.

Okay, so in between lunch and a late afternoon dessert, I scheduled in a 60 minute reflexology massage at Golden Yan Foot Spa for $35! Yes, you saw that number right!  It was great, very, very Chinese, just like the massage parlors in China.  For the $35, you get a nice 15 minute, shoulder massage and then a wonderful 45 minute foot reflexology massage.  My feet felt like clouds afterwards.

Then we had a our late afternoon dessert at Chikalicious, a tiny little restaurant on East 10th Street completely devoted to innovative desserts.  It’s adorable and Chika, the mastermind behind the desserts, was there herself.  We sat at the bar and were able to watch all of the dessert making in progress.  It’s a $14 prix fixe menu – you get an amuse bouche, a dessert entree, and petits fours.  I also sprang for the $7 wine pairing.  The amuse bouche was creme fraiche with some type of Cherry gelee. It was sweet and delicious; the cherry was firm and fresh tasting.

I ordered the Panna Cotta (forgot what the flavor was) with a peach sorbet and some fancy gelatin cubes.  OMFG.  I discovered Panna Cotta back in January and now order it every time it’s on a menu and have even ordered a baker friend of mine to make it for me.  Yes, I do love it.  Panna Cotta was so smooth and light and creamy.  Then the peach sorbet was really just like eating fresh, pureed peaches; it tasted like summer. The entire dish was so delicious.

My sister ordered the cheese cake “cloud” as she called it. She liked it, but it was more like a cheese cake mousse than a traditional cheese cake. Very rich, and I think it would have been better had it been paired with something with a different texture because it was kind of like eating a big ball of cream.

The other girls all ordered the chocolate tart with a red wine reduction and a peppercorn ice cream.  The votes were mixed on this one, mainly because of the peppercorn ice cream.  All three agreed the tart was extremely tasty. I tried it and the chocolate was so rich and it was lava like.  I like the peppercorn ice cream and thought it added an interesting twist to the dish.  My friend really enjoyed the entire dish. I believe the menu changes every day and it’s so worth a trip because it’s such a city experience.

We hit up a Thai BYOB called Sticky Rice that was so mediocre I don’t want to even talk about it.  It was a fun atmosphere but let’s just say I got rubbery chicken, weird, should not be sweet appetizers, an inedible fake tasting spring roll, and way too peanutty pad thai.  I don’t recommend it.  It was cheap and you can bring your own booze and those are it’s only redeeming qualities.

I also had a fantastic dirty martini at Minetta Tavern (a supposedly amazing restaurant for steak and burgers, which I couldn’t afford).  The martini was so well balanced; all the flavors blended so well together and it was so smooth to drink.  The olives were so good, meaty, and smooth tasting as well. My friend ordered the best Cosmo I’ve ever tasted! The juices were fresh and it was delicious.

So I got totally spoiled in NYC.  I highly recommend doing that every once in a while. It really soothes the soul.

I’m out in Denver for the next two weeks so I will soon be reporting on some of the already great food I’ve had out here…

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