NEW YORK: BARNEY & PETER
My last two restaurant meals in NYC could not have been more different, but also could not have been more representative of New York if they smelled like a Yellow cab and the meals were served by Bloomberg himself.
In the morning, a breakfast at Barney Greengrass, the self styled “Sturgeon King” I remember years ago, that Murray’s on Broadway also used to apply the same moniker to himself. He doesn’t seem to now. I am not sure if there was some war fought across the boundaries of Amsterdam and Broadway, but Murray’s no long bears the usurper’s sign and he is obviously now Barney’s bitch.
Famous for its deli selling bagels, bialys, smoked fish and any number of other things, Barney Greengrass is also a favourite haunt for Breakfast for hungry New Yorkers.
It opens and 8.30am and I was the first in the joint and settled down in the corner with a glass of orange juice and one of the free rags they dole out on the tube.
While I perused the menu and made ‘um” and “ah” noises, the place filled up with locals who obviously knew exactly what they wanted
“ I’ll have a pumpernickel bagel, no cheese, nova, capers and lemon”
“ I’ll have the eggs, whitefish and cream cheese with a bialy lightly toasted”
All a bit concerting for a person from a country where breakfast options usually stop at burnt or not quite so burnt.
Still, I got my head around it enough for me to order some eggs, lox & onions with a bialy and cream cheese.
I had eaten here before and, to be honest, did not think it was that much cop. This time, however, it was better than I recalled, with nice chunks of smoked fish, decent eggs and a golden brown bialy.
For $15, not a bad way to start the day.
Mind you, given that I had a 12.45pm reservation at one of New York’s great dining landmarks, it was just as well that I decided to go for a bit of a walk first.
Catching the 1 down to 14th St and the F to Delancey, I got off the tube and began to walk the long, long walk across the Williamsburg Bridge to the site of New York’s most famous steakhouse, Peter Luger’s.
New Yorkers will tell you that there is no place quite like Peter Luger’s and no other steakhouse in New York comes close. However, recent reports had also indicated that Peter Luger’s was no longer like the Peter Luger’s anymore and I had heard some negative reports.
My own experiences told me that it could be hit and miss. This was my fifth visit. So far, I had two good experiences and two bad.
I am pleased to say that this was a good one. Joined by my chums from the UK, Anny & Gavin, we sat down to the prerequisite starters of fried bacon and tomatoes & onions, which are fine but serve only to pass the time of day before the main event arrives.
In this case, the main event was the porterhouse for three. An enormous piece of meat and, I am pleased to say much better than on the last visit by DH when it would have been tastier to eat the table.
This time, the age of the meat shone through and the char was perfection as was the medium rare cooking.
We gave the vile and over priced wine list the wide berth it deserved and I stuck to my Martini while Gavin mulled over a beer.
Fries were as lousy as I remember and I did not even bother with desserts. It is the steak you come for. Everything else just makes you want to go and slap someone. But, what a steak and, when it is on form, nigh on unbeatable even at $75 a person.
So, after the relative disappointments of Dominick’s and Patsy’s. It was good to see that NYC’s “name” restaurants could still come up trumps