two days of frenetic meetings and taxicab
crawling in the tight labyrinthine, sun-blocked
streets of Manhattan it actually felt like
a release to take a ride across the Brooklyn
Bridge in spite of a steady early afternoon
drizzle. We were heading to what some say
is the greatest steak house in America, Peter
As we rode in the cab the gray geometry of
bridge girders flashed against the granite
skyline and my eyes like a visual version
of the aural clackety-clackety-clack of a
Wed eaten two ambitious French meals
yesterday and an Asian banquet the night before
that. A steak sounded very comforting.
When we won the Gourmet Magazine award we
flew to New York for the ceremony. One of
the other recipients was Peter Lugers.
I met one of the daughters of the Storch family
that now owns it. Her name is Jody and she
graciously invited us to come next time we
were in town.
I must admit that I was shocked at the Spartan
simplicity of the décor. The tables
were bare, wooden rectangles. Our waiter looked
as if hed been working those floors
for fifty years. He brought us caraway rolls
with cold chunks of salted butter. He also
brought out a bottle of red wine complements
of the house.
We ordered tomato and red onion salad, shrimp
cocktail (extra horseradish was automatically
served along side) and the famous hash browns.
Alas, the hash browns werent available
until 3 p.m. we learned. We also ordered "Steak
Jody came out directly and told me of how
her grandfather had purchased the place in
1950. As we spoke, a parade of various service
staff members began bringing in tray after
tray of raw, cut steaks from somewhere outside
into the kitchen. Jody told me they went through,
TEN TONS of beef a week!
Her grandfather was still alive at 92 and
ate steak twice a day every day. When I tasted
it I knew why he was still here.
The steaks couldnt get any better in
© by Norman Van Aken, 2001