We left Richmond for NYC and first up for dinner was KEENS STEAKHOUSE. We had so many great places lined up for foodie adventures in the city, but I think I was most looking forward to Keens, one of the few remaining original New York Steakhouses. I don’t know if it’s the low ceilings, dark wood, dim lighting, white tablecloths, wait staff in waistcoats, or the genuine clay pipes on the ceiling that gentlemen used to check at their tavern because they were too delicate to travel with, but the atmosphere puts you right at ease in a traditional luxury comfort kind of way. Our waitress also happened to be absolutely lovely so that may have factored in as well. If you have been inspired to check it out, I do recommend a reservation.
I just want to mention that because my parents and I were on vacation our meal tended towards the slightly extravagant, which is to say that there are definitely smaller, lighter, and more reasonable things to choose from. And I say slightly extravagant because my dad, true to form, chose the largest piece of meat on the menu, the Mutton Chop, which also happens to be the signature dish. I went for the classy version of surf and turf and ordered the Lobster with Filet Mignon, rare, and my mom balanced us out with the Dover Sole and roasted market veggies. For those of you who, like myself, have also not heard of Dover Sole very often, it is a flat fish found around the coasts of Europe. There is an American Sole but is not held in as high esteem or value.
To drink we started off with some classic Manhattans and a gin gimlet. Now, my family makes Manhattans with scotch or bourbon, and here they make it with rye. The selection is influenced by region, but at this point it is really just a matter of preference, and I will say that the rye did just fine. With dinner we switched to wine, a red Zweigelt Austrian blend, my dad an ale, and my mother a white neither of which I can remember.
Zweigelt – A red Austrian grape that is easily the most widely planted. It produces an easy drinking table wine that is plush and fruity with soft tannins and usually a hint of cassis. It was a bit too dark, fruity, and lacking in bright complexity for my taste, and not the best pairing with my meal, but I am glad I tried it.
As for the food, it was FANTASTIC. The mutton chop was like nothing I have ever had. It was huge for one thing, and the tender meat and fat made each bite beyond savory and was utterly out of this world. Cooked perfectly and accompanied by a bit of mint jelly it is definitely worthy of being the signature piece. My Filet and Lobster were lovely as well, accompanied by melted butter and light, brown gravy. I like mine rare, juicy, and tender, but feel free try it a bit darker. The portions were perfect for having a bit of the surf and a bit of the turf without feeling done in. Before I get into the Sole, I must first mention the way it was prepared at the table by the food runner. He expertly used a spoon to separate the bottom and top portions from the spine and it quick, delicate, artful movements. It was impressive and something rarely seen anymore. The Sole was delicate in flavor and texture with boiled potatoes on the side, a perfect choice for a light meal especially when accompanied by a side.
And for desert: my mom picked the Stilton and Port, I went with a glass of Sandeman LBV, and my dad the Keens Red Berry Bibble. The port that came with the Stilton was the 10 yr Tawny I believe, and mine was an older vintage, perhaps a 12 year, and the difference was very distinct. The Tawny was light, bright, and ruby red with a cherry caramel honey flavor, and the Sandeman in contrast was darker and tasted like a poached peach with a toffee caramel drizzle. The Tawny was the better match for the strong Stilton. The bibble turned out to be a slightly blended and chilled red berry treat with crème fraîche on top, a light sweet and sour way to finish the meal without extravagance.
Amazing Meal. Highly Recommend.
72 West 36 Street
New York, NY
Monday-Friday 11:45AM – 10:30PM
Saturday 5PM – 10:30PM
Sunday 5PM – 9:30PM
“Open every day of the year except Christmas Day”