Despite the rise of plant-based restaurants hitting the mainstream dining landscape in New York City and elsewhere, new and big steakhouses are still firing up their burners for the first time. And hungry carnivores are lining up.
Chef Andrew Carmelini’s Italian-accented steakhouse, Carne Mare, as well as the British-import Hawksmoor and the knockout delicious Gage & Tollner have all opened up recently and are some of the hardest tables to nab in the city.
But in a larger context, it’s not really a surprise. New York City is still a meat-and-potatoes kind of town. Steakhouses are still very much a part of the dining fabric of the Big Apple.
And so if your eyes get big at the sight (or thought) of beef, here are the 12 spots serving the best steak in NYC.
Hidden partially behind an excellent Japanese butcher shop in NoHo is an even more excellent Japanese steakhouse (57 Great Jones St.).
Part of the allure is that it’s not necessarily easy to get into—though not as difficult as you’d think. You have to be referred to by someone who has eaten here. Sending an email and introducing yourself has been known to work quite well. There’s also some artistic pedigree to the place: the building once housed the studios of Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Today, the art being produced here is in the kitchen of Bohemian in the form of some of the best steak in NYC. The seriously melt-in-your-mouth delicious premium Japanese beef in the form of wagyu is on the menu and should be obligatory for every diner, as it will blow your taste buds (and mind). There are also incredible bar snacks like uni croquettes, creamy mac ‘n’ cheese, and sashimi.
Brooklyn Chop House
Brooklyn Chop House is not in Brooklyn—there are locations in the Financial District and near Times Square—but don’t let that stop you from planting yourself here for a few hours to feast on the meaty deliciousness. The steaks here are top-notch edible specimens, with thick juicy cuts of the canon of cow-dom: porterhouse, ribeye, strip, filet mignon, and an insanely good dry-aged bone-in tomahawk.
The steak alone will get any carnivore to quickly achieve meat-eating ecstasy. But in addition to some of the best steak in NYC, what makes this spot extra special is that the other half of the menu is loaded with Asian-inspired dumplings, dim sum, and other Chinese delights like Peking Duck. The owner also runs the Brooklyn Dumpling Shop, so it makes sense.
From Japan to Korea. Located in the Flatiron District, Cote is a Michelin-starred Korean steakhouse and barbecue spot that is both upscale and casual at the same time. Get the Butchers Feast for the table and sit back and watch chefs cook four cuts of Wagyu at your table; plus diners get two kimchi-laden stews, salad, and dessert—all for $64 each.
No website. No publicity. No problem. Donohue’s, located on the Upper East Side, is something of a secret among steak lovers. It’s one of the most underrated places to stick your fork into a juicy porterhouse.
Since 1950, this Irish-accented spot has been firing up juicy steaks (and also really good burgers). Grab a seat at the bar, order a martini and a medium-rare ribeye and get ready to be dazzled, old school style. Located at Lexington St. and E. 64th St.
4 Charles Prime Rib
Walking into this diminutive West Village meat mecca on Charles Street and Greenwich Avenue is like opening the door to a party at its acme. Everyone seems to be in a festive mood here. Maybe because they nabbed a table at this notoriously difficult-to-get-into spot.
Related to the Chicago import Au Cheval, which serves one of the best burgers in the city, 4 Charles Prime Rib fires up 12-hour slow-roasted, salt-encrusted cuts of beef that are lusciously good. And if you’re dying for that Au Cheval burger, you can get that here too in addition to some of the best steak in NYC. Whatever the case, you’ll be a part of the party for a few hours.
Part of the steakhouse experience is sitting at a white-clothed table as jacketed waiters circle around your table, spooning jus back onto that precious cut of meat. But at this old-school Theater District steakhouse, the half-moon-shaped bar is the place to be—one of the most atmospheric bar areas in the city.
Plant yourself there and dig into a thick, bone-in porterhouse—which is cooked over hickory, giving a smoky flavor to the meat. To go along with what is some of the best steak in NYC, don’t forget about all the classic sides like creamed spinach, mashed potatoes, and onion rings.
Gage & Tollner
Several generations of Brooklynites knew of this handsome eatery on the Fulton Street Mall until it unceremoniously shut down in 2004 and a fast-food chain restaurant moved in. But in 2021, a steakhouse re-emerged here with the same name it had been two decades earlier.
The walls were scrubbed. The chandeliers were put back in place. And the kitchen was revamped.
Gage & Tollner—and Gilded-Age dining—was reborn. Almost like it never left. And New Yorkers can’t get enough of it. Make a reservation a few weeks or a month out and make sure you come hungry to this gussied-up 134-seat space. There are several cuts of beef on offer, but try the bone-in ribeye if it’s your first time here.
A British import, the first Hawksmoor swung open its doors in 2006 in London’s Shoreditch neighborhood. Since then it has multiplied several times around Great Britain. In September 2021, it leapt over the Atlantic and landed in the Flatiron District.
Housed in a high-ceilinged 19th-century space that has soaring arches and neo-classical touches, the restaurant eschews the usual steakhouse broilers for cooking big chunks of meat over charcoal. This result is a slightly smoky flavor and a lot of tasty char on the outer part of each cut of meat. So much for the New York City hegemony on great steak. The Brits, it turns out, certainly know a thing or two about excellent beef.
After this 36th Street restaurant opened in 1885, it began allowing frequent patrons to leave their pipes at the restaurant so as to avoid possibly breaking the smoking vessels in transportation. Today, the restaurant is a virtual museum of ancient pipes, as there are over 50,000 of them, most hanging from the ceiling. Everyone from Babe Ruth to Theodore Roosevelt to Albert Einstein still has a pipe hanging over diners’ heads.
But a fetish for old pipes isn’t the main reason to come to Keens. The steak, of course, is worth paying a pinky finger or two for. There are several cuts but the porterhouse for two (or three or four) is the way to go. Even better, the tender, juicy mutton chop at Keens is legendary.
If you want the real experience, get both. Just don’t light up a pipe afterward.
This Michelin-starred Williamsburg, Brooklyn shrine to steak has long been put on a pedestal as the best steakhouse in the United States, and certainly serves some of the best steak in NYC. You can sit around and debate if that’s still true. Or you can just agree that, number one or not, Peter Luger is still a great place to dig into a steak.
Opened in 1887 as a German beer hall—note the very Teutonic half-timbered interior—Peter Luger was famous for not taking credit cards (they do now) and not having particularly friendly service (they have that now too). Come with a group and get a porterhouse for however many people, a martini, and commence your hours-long feast at this legendary steakhouse.
Poor Paul “Big Paul” Castellano. This member of the Gambino crime family was on his way to this legendary steakhouse one night in 1985. When he got to the door, he was gunned down and never got a chance to eat that night.
Sparks would be an ideal last meal. After all, this Midtown East steakhouse has been serving superior steak since 1966, still run by the same Italian immigrant family. For those not into the sliced steak, Sparks also has a long list of seafood options.
Everything is cooked over an open fire at this not-easy-to-get-into Williamsburg carnivore cathedral. Start with some grilled artichoke hearts, some grilled Berkshire bacon, some grilled sardines, and/or some grilled scallops.
Then move on to the big boys: the axe-handle ribeye looks exactly as the name suggests, and do take a photo of it before eating and upload it to your favorite social media outlet for the riot of self-affirmation “likes” that will surely come your way.
David Farley is a West Village-based food and travel writer whose work appears regularly in the New York Times, National Geographic, BBC, and Food & Wine, among other publications. He’s the author of three books, including “An Irreverent Curiosity: In Search of the Church’s Strangest Relic in Italy’s Oddest Town,” which was made into a documentary by the National Geographic Channel. You can find Farley’s online homes here and here.