The main attraction at Mac's Steakhouse is a venerable selection of grass-fed steaks dry aged for at least 28 days. The gourmet cuts include 12-ounce new york strips served with potatoes au gratin, 16-ounce boneless rib eyes, and filets mignons that the New York Times lauds for their "velvety texture and well-made b?arnaise sauce." Though the steaks may get top billing, they share the limelight with an estimable array of seafood, including grilled salmon, white tuna, and a saut?ed shrimp-and-lobster combo served with vegetable risotto. Not to be outshined by the victuals, the restaurant's wine list traces the globe with varietals culled from California, France, Tuscany, Argentina, and Spain that have earned it an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator.
To enter Mac's 7,000-square-foot interior, guests pass through 10-foot-high, 100-year-old carved wooden doors. They cross the threshold into a high-ceilinged space with 150-year-old wood-plank floors. Paintings of cattle adorn the walls, and guests can peer into a wine cellar tucked behind glass panels.
Frank's Steaks has all the respectable hallmarks of an old-school steak house: white table cloths, neatly folded napkins, and dim lighting setting the mood. But then there are the crayons. They aren't there to keep kids busy?they're there so inspired diners of all ages can scrawl art onto the butcher paper atop each table. The most compelling works are framed and hung on the walls of the establishment, a fitting goal for diners to strive for when waiting for their mouthwatering steaks to arrive.
The signature Romanian skirt steak is certainly worth putting a crayon down for?the tender, juicy cut comes dripping in a marinade of garlic and duck sauce. A 42-ounce porterhouse, meanwhile, easily satisfies two diners or two medium-sized tanks of piranhas. Desserts also come in generous proportions, featuring smooth sorbets, triple-layer chocolate cake, and ice-cream pies.
Chefs at George Martin's Strip Steak stand guard at roiling broilers, anticipating the exact moment when each dry-aged Angus steak within has perfectly browned. Ladles of béarnaise and au poivre sauces in hand, the kitchen staff sends each order—flanked by ramekins of sautéed vegetables or hand-cut french fries—out into the cozy, candlelit dining room. Wines and signature cocktails, such as ginger cosmopolitans, pair with each entree, including the restaurant's eponymous steaks, free-range chicken, brazilian lobster tails, and veal chops. George Martin's Strip Steak also caters special events, from small gatherings in its private dining rooms to onsite celebrations for up to 100 tuxedoed mannequins.
Though still a young man, William Degel can trace his life story all the way back to Prohibition. In the early 1930s, his godfather owned Jack's, a Manhattan steakhouse and speakeasy frequented by movie stars and politicos. Stories of the restaurant's notoriety inspired William's own career path: he leveraged an early job as a bartender into the purchase of a rundown Queens saloon, which eventually gave him the opportunity to open Uncle Jack's Steakhouse. This fine-dining establishment was styled after the original Jack's, with Victorian touches such as pressed-copper ceilings, a hand-carved mahogany bar, and faeries only visible to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Now expanded to three New York locations, Uncle Jack's has proved so popular that William was selected to host Restaurant Stakeout, a Food Network program on which he helps struggling restaurateurs save their businesses. William often credits his success to a focus on quality, a trait noticeable after one glance at the menu. He handpicks all of the beef from cattle that are grown to the steakhouse's exact specifications on Nebraska ranches. The USDA Prime cuts are aged onsite up to 35 days, then cooked in 1800-degree infrared boilers that seal the meat's juices inside a perfectly charred exterior.
As with his godfather's place, William's restaurants cater to the city's elite. Athletes, actors, and local celebrities are often seen seated around Uncle Jack's tables, which isn't surprising considering the richly appointed dining rooms, paparazzi-repelling forcefields, and extravagant perks programs the restaurant provides. Birthday and anniversary reservations are rewarded with a bottle of Taittinger on the house, and the Lifestyle Rewards program lets members cash in their points for Rolex watches, Vegas vacations, and even a Porsche 911.
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.
With four generations of culinary wisdom running in their blood, the Pace family has a pretty good idea of what it takes to run a successful restaurant. Foremost on the list are top-notch ingredients—all meat served at Pace’s Steak House is handpicked in New York City’s famed meatpacking district and aged onsite in aging rooms filled with special lights and fans. After aging, some cuts are marinated for 24 hours. The menu's meatier selections—sizzling rib eye, filet mignon, and porterhouse steaks—are supplemented by oysters on the half shell, fresh seafood steaks, and a wine list, which includes 15 wines by the glass.