Lenny Passarelli grew up within the bustle of busy kitchens and developed a palate for decadent food at his family’s fine-dining establishment, Scotty's in Rockville Center, which the clan ran for more than 45 years. When he started his own legacy at AJ Maxwell's Steakhouse, he wanted to combine the two ingredients he'd learned to be most important to a restaurant: food and fun. In the fine-food category, Passarelli serves live Maine lobsters, dry-aged sirloin steaks, and massive porterhouses capable of feeding up to four. Attentive servers, who are trained to be sensitive to whether a gathering is a celebration or business meeting, keep the drinks flowing and the experience joyous.
The gentle glow of the overhead chandeliers reveals an intricate full-wall mosaic mural depicting ancient Roman life, which the owners discovered during the restaurant’s renovations. The mural was left behind by New York's Forum of the 12 Caesars, which was famous for being the city’s most expensive and over-the-top theme restaurant from the 1950s through the 1970s, attracting celebrities with its lush atmosphere and their pets with the promise of top-notch doggy-bag service.
New York Magazine has hailed Talia's Steakhouse for its weekly post-Sabbath kosher parties, which, like the rest of Talia's offerings, add a sense of fun and occasional decadence to kosher dining. The menu, which blends contemporary Manhattan offerings with Middle Eastern staples, offers a 10-ounce dairy-free kosher "cheeseburger" and dairy-free waffle sundae sit alongside the menu's more traditional steak, fish, and Middle Eastern favorites. Candlelight flickers atop white tablecloths to the beat of live mellow rock on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday evenings, and french doors swing open onto a large sidewalk patio when weather permits. The restaurant has earned many media accolades, and kitchen staff stick around into the wee hours to sate second-shifters and ambitious somnambulists.
In the curtained-off dining areas of MarkJoseph Steakhouse, where patrons slice into Zagat-lauded morsels of prime dry-aged porterhouse, a “wall of fame” shows celebrities from Celine Dion to ¬Sopranos cast members grinning with their pleasure in MarkJoseph’s hearty, gourmet menu. Wine racks stripe the steakhouse’s earth-toned walls waiting patiently to add their rich bouquets to patron’s meals of artfully prepared beef or coral-hued lobsters accented with perfectly acidic lemon wedges. So beloved is the spot’s celebrity-approved cuisine that the steakhouse sells bottles of its own signature steak sauce, ready to assist home cooks.
Peter Luger's is to steakhouses what Babe Ruth was to baseball—a dominant champion beloved by New Yorkers. The restaurant has been named the best steakhouse in New York by Zagat 28 years in a row, and it was even a charter member of that publication's hall of fame. Seated across from the long wood bar, one gets the sense the Babe would have approved of the restaurant's mighty meals, which typically consist of a porterhouse steak for two, three, or four (the sparse menu also includes lamb chops and fresh fish, but the steak is clearly the star). The owners of the restaurant are taking few risks in maintaining its superior status: they personally select the meat on daily visits to wholesale markets. The loin is then dry-aged in the restaurant's aging box, a process that makes it surprisingly tender, like a bully who suddenly realizes other kids need their milk money to buy candy. After it's broiled and doused in house steak sauce—a sauce the restaurant now sells online due to popular demand—the meat is ready to be devoured. It all adds up to the kind of meal that attracts actors, athletes, and the occasional covert lieutenant governor inauguration.
Several years after Joe Moreno opened Broadway Joe Steakhouse in 1949, it was featured in the Jimmy Stewart movie The FBI Story. The first of many films and TV shows to be shot in the restaurant, it set off a chain reaction that would soon have actors and cultural luminaries not just filming scenes there but dining on its hearty Italian dishes and steaks. In the kitchen, cooks prepare many of the pillars of Italian cuisine—chicken parmigiana, veal marsala, and linguine with clams. Diners can sink teeth into salmon fillets or a wide selection of steaks, from cuts of rib eye, filet mignon, and sirloin to 50-ounce porterhouses for two that are so big they served as body doubles for Jimmy Stewart.
Shula?s Steak House romances diners with opulent white linens, cherry-wood walls, and football-themed d?cor, replete with photos of famous athletes in gold-plated frames. The restaurant?s appetizers, salads, and sides feature 3- to 5-pound Maine lobsters, oysters, and vegetables, satisfying those eaters who stray from meatier fare. All steaks served by Shula?s must meet eight meticulously defined criteria?marbling, maturity, consistency, leanness, flavor, appearance, and tenderness?before advancing to the next round of a steak-selection reality show. Legendary NFL coach Don Shula?s name marks restaurants across the country, signifying the utmost dedication to quality beef.