Sunday, February 28, 2010

My Favorite Steakhouse Picks Part 2: Keens (food)

I originally discovered Keens because it was close to my old midtown office, but I still go back there every so often because the food consistently satisfies and there's always a seat. The place is huge. A full pub section, a pub/lounge section, the main dining room, an upstairs dining room, and private banquet rooms. The full space seats almost 400 people!

More important than space is the atmosphere. With over 120 years of history, it gives off a great classic, old-old-old-school feel with the dark wood and the paintings and photographs.

A prime example of the historic atmosphere are the ceilings lined with old churchwarden pipes, a flashback to when the place was a pipe club and people kept their favorite pipes at inns.

For a starter I always go with the jumbo lump crab cocktail. I know they probably just took all of it out of a can, but when I'm at a steakhouse, I don't need a lot of fancy cooking.

It's a pretty big portion, and with a squeeze of lemon, some good cocktail sauce, and some drawn butter, it's just simple and delicious.

Here's the signature mutton chop that I get every time. It's a lamb saddle, and not actually mutton, so people who dislike strong gaminess won't be put off. It's big but the pub version (essentially half of this) is nowhere near as satisfying.

The best part of the mutton chop are the crisp, fatty "sideburns". But it also comes with some sauteed escarole so that you get some greens in and not just fat and meat. The container in the upper left contains mint jelly. Another old school accompaniment to lamb that I remember from my childhood but is not seen very often nowadays.

I've heard many raves about the hot fudge sundae, but I usually go with the indian pudding. It's another old school item that's not on many menus anymore, so I tend to get it when I see it. It's essentially a warm molasses cornmeal pudding served with vanilla ice cream. Hard to go wrong with that.

The prices are pretty standard high end steakhouse prices, with the crab cocktail coming in at $19.50 while the mutton chop is $45 and most of their desserts are $10. Again, it's about simple and delicious, and the ability to just show up and get a meal like this in the pub/lounge area helps make Keens great.

No comments :