Peter Luger fans will likely have a fit if somebody says that while the restaurant has been considered as a steak lover’s paradise for more than a century, it isn’t among the best steakhouses in the country, not even in Brooklyn anymore. But we have to say that Morton’s Steakhouse is now becoming the go-to place for a great steak dinner, especially if you want more variety to your meal.
But before anybody else takes to the streets, keep in mind that as with most things in life, food is a matter of personal preference – what may be delicious for you may not be as much to others but everybody’s entitled to their own opinions. The best thing to do, if you haven’t done it yet, is to compare your dining experiences at Peter Luger and Morton’s Steakhouse, if you live in or near Brooklyn.
The Peter Luger Experience
Peter Luger remains a favorite in the Zagat book and for a reason – its steak still tastes good even after a century after it was first introduced. Such is the restaurant’s obsession for its steak that it’s nearly the only food on its barebones menu with choices like the porterhouse steak and the prime rib. The steaks here have been dry-aged according to the Peter Luger tradition and served medium rare, ostensibly to allow the meat to shine.
Once it’s served on a plate, you will likely observe that the stake has a blackened outer layer, a char encrusting the meat that can either turn you off a bit – hello, carcinogens – or turn you on because there’s something so flavorful about it. The taste is heavenly, nonetheless – the meat’s texture was lusciously buttery, its flavor concentrated with complex flavors enjoyed with every bite, and its feel supple yet creamy, rich yet subtle. You will also agree that the beef has a silky yet chewy feel in the mouth combined with a juicy, nearly slippery, finish.
You may even notice a slight nuttiness with the strong beef flavor, a combination that makes the dry-aged beef taste nearly like Kobe beef, among the best in the world but it’s so expensive. The bottom line: The Peter Luger steak lives up to the hype and what a hype it is!
But there’s a slight hiccup in the way Peter Luger serves its steak. Instead of being served as a single large chunk, it’s served in pre-cut pieces – think large fish stick-sized slices that can be eaten in a single bite. If you’re looking forward to slicing the meat yourself and enjoying the experience, then Peter Luger may not be the steakhouse for you.
The complimentary basket of bread consists of lip-smackingly delicious onion rye bread and seasoned crackers, the perfect appetizer to a great steak. Even the sauce, a combination of crushed tomatoes, grated horseradish, and molasses, is delicious and the right accompaniment to the steak.
But if you’re looking for more things other than a great steak from Peter Luger, you may be just a tad disappointed, if not a whole lot disappointed depending on your expectations that, in turn, were likely based on the hype. For one thing, the barebones menu doesn’t give diners much of an option while the overall ambiance is nearly as barebones.
But if you’re looking for great steak, then Peter Luger is a great choice.
The Morton’s Experience
Morton’s Steakhouse isn’t what you can call a fine dining restaurant, far from it, with its nearly generic décor. But look beyond it and you will find that it’s a great steakhouse to be in, thanks to its smooth service, the quality of its food and its generous portions, and the breadth of the menu. Even the steak with their beefier quality is arguably better than that of Peter Luger!
People who want a more diverse menu flock to Morton’s, a full-service restaurant that offers appetizers, entrées, and main dishes as well as a few desserts. Here, you and your group can enjoy a full meal aside from the classic steak dinner.
The appetizer menu consists of close to a dozen items, such as oysters Rockefeller consisting of delightful oysters served with creamy, buttery spinach; Colossal Shrimp Alexander, juicy, tender and delicious shrimp; and chunky crab cakes. We loved the bacon-wrapped scallops, a perfectly balanced dish that we can eat on most days.
The steaks are near-perfect, if not perfect depending on your preference – beefy, chewy, lip-smackingly delicious with every bite. You will love that the steaks are served in large, single chunks so the joy of cutting through the beef is yours. You can choose from several cuts, too, such as the porterhouse and the bone-in, rib-eye cut served Chicago-style; the latter is larger, thicker and richer than the former so it’s a great choice if you’re caveman-hungry.
Aside from the breadth of the menu, the friendliness and attentiveness of the staff make each Morton’s visit an enjoyable experience. Diners, after all, eat out not just for the food but for the service, too.