A Cut Above: 10 Classic NYC Steak Houses

by Julie Besonen

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  • Keens Steakhouse
    72 W. 36th St., 212-947-3636, Midtown West, Manhattan
    Keens, established in 1885, has seen it all: Teddy Roosevelt, William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody, J.P. Morgan and a raid during Prohibition. Its most touching memorabilia is a framed playbill touted as the one Abraham Lincoln was holding when he was shot. Most mind-boggling is the collection of more than 50,000 clay pipes stowed on the ceiling, evidently bequeathed by long-dead tobacco-loving customers. Here's what else you need to know about Keens: the terrific pub menu is roughly half the price of the big-boy restaurant menu of jumbo steaks and mutton chops. The pub-size mutton chop is smaller, sure, but it's plenty thick and not gamy at all (it's really lamb). Prime rib hash is another dish that goes hand in hand with a stiff drink. The barmen are super-knowledgeable and have a dazzling scotch and bourbon collection. Before 8pm, an after-work crowd dominates, but later on, it's all seasoned regulars.

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