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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Keen's Steakhouse in New York City

Warning:  The following may not be appropriate for children under the age of 13 and those who have no idea who General Douglas MacArthur is

As you will see above, Keens was founded in 1885 as a "smokehouse." It was a Gentleman's Smoking Club and is now the Oldest Steakhouse in New York.
Historical Members of significance from the last century included:  Teddy Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, Will Rogers, Billy Rose, Grace Moore, Albert Einstein, George M. Cohan, J.P. Morgan, Stanford White, John Barrymore, David Belasco, Adlai Stevenson, General Douglas MacArthur, “Buffalo Bill” Cody, Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter. Okay, just kidding on the last two though they are both old as dirt.
Historic Bar
As you can see the bar is stocked with great single malts and plenty of wine.  The decor probably hasn't changed in 140 years.  If you want to impress your father in law?  This is the kind of place to do it.  If your father in law doesn't drink, well it might be time to find a new father in law.
The Moose isn't the only thing embalmed here, you should see some of the women.
This was the room we ate in.  Very comfy, great service and at no time were we rushed.
The absurdly delicious bacon app
When my friend Will saw the thick sliced bacon as an app, it was on like Donkey Kong.  And holy smokes (pun intended), it was delicious, thick and smokey.  I could have ate five of these myself.  Thank god for this picture, because I didn't even notice the vegetables on the plate at the time.

Little Neck Clams are such a underutilized app here in the south.  I'm assuming it's a geographical issue, which is a shame because they are absolutely delicious!  We also had one of my other favorites I don't get very often, Oysters Rockefeller.  Oysters, garlic, cheese and spinach?  What's not to like.

The Infamous Mutton Chop
Keens is known for their famous Mutton Chops. What's a Mutton Chop?  Here's how the New York Times describes it: "a 26-ounce saddle of lamb, skirted with fat and nearly two inches tall."  And they are not "gamey" at all.  In fact, I preferred it to the steaks we had also ordered. It comes with a Mint Jelly, which is not necessary, but it is delicious on it's own.

Overall, the service and atmosphere is something that CANNOT be replicated anywhere else.  As pure steakhouse, I wouldn't put it over the best steakhouses in Atlanta, in fact, I found the true steaks mediocre to above average.  The unique appetizers and Mutton Chops are a must if you come here.  Enjoy Keens for what it is and soak in the history that is literally oozing out of the walls.

Todays Footnotes (there are quite a few):

If you are in NYC and want to try something different, hit Sake Bar Decibel.  It's a Japanese "Speak Easy."  The address is 240 E 9th Street, but it's unmarked and in the basement of a brownstone.  They have light food, but the specialty is Sake and with HUNDREDS to choose from, it's truly unique.
A real life samuri was here

Ethos at 1st Ave and 51st Street was a true treat.  My friend Helen talked us to come in for a couple of apps and some wine.  First the calamari is truly some of the best I have ever had (grilled of course, real calamari should never be fried).  The Octopus was delicious as well. No, I didn't ask, "give me everything with tentacles."  The Seftalia was delicious too it was Grilled Cypriot Meatballs, on Bed of Tzatziki Sauce, Topped with Tomatoes, Onion and Cucumber. And the service was impeccable.

Last Footnote: 

Great food wasn't the only great thing I've had out of NYC recently.  The new Vampire Weekend Album, Modern Vampires of the City.
I have always been a fan of their first two albums, but campiness akin to Weezer always held me back from really loving them.  This album is a maturation of their sound.  They have grown up without having to really compromise.  The tracks "Unbelievers" and "Hannah Hunt" are the types of tracks that showcase this evolution.  "Diane Young," "Finger Back" and "Worship You" may be three of the funnest song they have written and are a throw back to their previous offerings.  "Step," "Don't Lie" and "Ya Hey" are great songs as well.  "Hudson" was about the only song on the album, I wasn't crazy about.  Overall, this may be my favorite album since Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs."

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