Entries in Keens Steakhouse (5)


The Pub Mutton Chop at Keens Steakhouse

I’ve written before about the so-called Legendary Mutton Chop (it is actually lamb) at Keens Steakhouse. It’s the most quirky item on the menu: no other restaurant I know of serves lamb butchered this way.

The mutton chop in the dining room costs $45, and like most steakhouse portions is more than all but the hungriest diner will finish.

In the pub, they serve a half-sized version for $25 that is still ample, especially if you order appetizers and side dishes. (The limp greens that come with it are nothing to write home about.)

It is nice to have warm rolls offered beforehand; not so nice that they are served with butter that just came out of the fridge.

Still, it is worth your consideration if you’re in the Herald Square area and want a light bite without signing up for a heavy steakhouse meal.

The other useful thing is that there is no break between lunch and dinner service: Keens is open continuously from 11:45 a.m. until late.

Keens Steakhouse (72 W. 36th St. between Fifth & Sixth Avenues, West Midtown)


Keens Steakhouse

I had an errand to run near Herald Square yesterday. Keens Steakhouse is the only decent restaurant nearby, so I dropped in for a light supper. A bit before 6:00 p.m., they were already nearly full, which is remarkable for a restaurant this enormous that is not in the theater district. Had I arrived just a few minutes later, I would have had to wait for a table.

There’s a casual “pub” at Keens that doesn’t take reservations. You can order from the over-priced dining room menu, but the pub also has its own menu that, if not cheap, is at least reasonable. I’ve written about Keens a number of times, so I’ll get right to the beef.

Prime Rib Hash ($16.50; left) caught my eye. It’s basically a play on corned beef hash, with diced prime rib as the main ingredient, and a fried egg replacing the usual gravy. In the interest of science, I had to try it.

The verdict? It’s pretty good, though surely not meant to be dinner on its own. Four people could share it as an appetizer. It’s that big. So naturally, I ate the whole thing myself (and nothing else).

For its steaks, Keens charges premium prices for a second-tier product. The décor is one-of-a-kind, but you always have the feeling that the staff is thinking about the next thousand customers.

They do have a few dishes no one else is serving, especially the incomparable mutton chop, to which I can now add the Prime Rib Hash.

Keens Steakhouse (72 W. 36th Street, east of Sixth Avenue, West Midtown)

Food: *½
Service: *
Ambiance: **
Overall: *½


Update: Keens Steakhouse


Note: Click here for more visits to Keens Steakhouse.

My girlfriend, son and I had a pre-theater dinner at Keens Steakhouse last week. I ordered the incomparable Mutton Chop ($45.00), which I think is the best item on the menu. My girlfriend had the sirloin (43.50), which wasn’t quite as tender it should be.

Keens is one of the few NYC steakhouses that offers prime rib. The only option shown on the dinner menu is a so-called King’s Cut ($49.50). The perceptive server guessed that a twelve-year-old probably wasn’t going to finish such a massive portion, so he offered us the English Cut ($28.00), normally served only in the downstairs “pub”.

Fries ($8.00) could easily become addictive. We didn’t order a bottle of wine, but a glass of the respectable house cabernet was a remarkably cheap $8.50.

While the time-warp ambiance at Keens is matchless, its steaks are a notch below other places in town while being several dollars more expensive. The huge two-story space is built for volume, and servers aren’t as attentive as they should be. But for the mutton chop or the prime rib, Keens is always worth the occasional visit.

Keens Steakhouse (72 W. 36th Street between Fifth & Sixth Avenues, West Midtown)

Food: *½
Service: *
Ambiance: **
Overall: *½


Return to Keens Steakhouse

Note: Click here for more reviews of Keens Steakhouse. 

I returned to Keens last night with two companions who were eager to try an authentic New York steakhouse. I started with the House-Cured Salmon ($12.50), which was wonderful.

Last time at Keens, I tried the mutton chop, which I loved. I’m sure I’ll have it again someday, but in the interest of science, I wanted to sample something else. I would have chosen the porterhouse (available for 2 or 3 people), but my companions prefer filet to strip. So I ordered the T-bone ($42), while they ordered the Chateaubriand for two ($90).

The T-bone was correctly prepared to the medium rare that I’d requested, although I like a crisp char on the exterior that is apparently not in Keens’ repertoire. My companions declared the Chateaubriand “best steak we’ve ever had.” It was one of the largest hunks of beef I’ve ever seen on one plate. I tasted a bit of it, but their preference for well done steaks renders my opinion irrelevant, as I like to see blood on the plate.

For dessert, we shared (but could not finish) an order of bread pudding, which was terrific, but more than we had room for.

Keens Steakhouse (72 W. 36th St. between Fifth & Sixth Avenues, West Midtown)

Food: *½
Service: *½
Ambiance: **
Overall: *½


Keens Steakhouse

Note: Click here for more visits to Keens Steakhouse.

Frank Bruni’s review in last week’s New York Times aroused my curiosity, so I dropped into Keens Steakhouse the next day to try that “legendary” mutton chop.

I arrived around 6:45. The matre d’ advised me that there would be no tables available in the dining room till 9:15, but I could put in my name for a pub table (where a full menu is served). I was advised there would be about a twenty-minute wait for that. I ordered a glass of cabernet at the bar, where the patrons were four-deep, and settled in.

Keens may have New York’s best collection of single-malt scotches (they say they’ve got 200 of them). The bottles cut an impressive figure across the back wall of the bar. Naturally they’re available individually, but Keens also offers “flights” of four contrasting scotches, which go for anywhere between $28 and $48. I wasn’t in the mood, but I’ll probably sample them on a future visit.

Before I knew it, the hostess advised me there was a table in the main dining room after all. It had only been ten minutes.

I don’t know if Bruni’s review has influenced business, but I could see there were lots of people ordering “mutton chops” (which, as Frank has now told us, are actually lamb chops). Keens must have its own network of lamb purveyors, as I’ve never seen a cut anything like this before. Who else but Keens could be serving it?

While I waited for the legendary chop, I enjoyed the complimentary warm bread service and chilled vegetables with creamy dipping sauce. I also enjoyed staring at the massive collection of churchwarden pipes that adorned the ceiling.

The chop finally arrives. It looks massive, but this is a bit deceiving, as it’s actually a T-bone, and the bone itself takes up a lot of space. After you savor a bit of the fat, you’ll want to trim the rest away, leaving yourself with a substantial, but not unmanageable portion. Still, at two inches (or more) thick, with a peculiar wing shape, it’s a meal to remember. Keens cooked mine superbly to medium rare, just as I’d asked. At $37.50, it’s one of New York’s better steakhouse bargains. (The chop came with sauteed escarole, which I didn’t care for.)

As I was leaving, the hostess inquired about my meal, and remembered me by name. That was impressive, given the hundreds of people in the restaurant, and the fact we’d only spoken briefly. I look forward to returning, and trying more of the menu. Including those scotches.

Keens Steakhouse (72 W. 36th Street, east of Sixth Avenue, West Midtown)

Food: **
Ambiance: **
Overall: **