|I sneak out of my apartment and go next door to Strip House to dine on David Walzog's opulent seared rib chop, which is filled with juicy flavor but charred on the outside to a peppery sirloin crisp. For pure beefeater elegance, you won't find anything better than the steak au poivre ($32) at Balthazar, with a sidecar of healthful spinach and a tangle of crispy golden frites.
For a proper communal feed, my wide-bodied friends and I repair to the MarkJoseph Steakhouse, just off Peck Slip in the South Street Seaport, where the mammoth porterhouse for four ($133) is pre-sliced, Peter Luger-style, on a hot platter, dripping in a sizzle of its own fat. There are baskets of squeezy Lugerlike onion rolls for additional comfort, and gravy boats of sweet red steak sauce a co-owner used to work at Luger's Long Island branch. There's even a smattering of wise guys in the crowd, with great white napkins spread expectantly over their bellies.
Midtown wise guys seem to be reconvening at Ken Aretsky's Patroon, newly refitted with a utilitarian glass-and-brick fašade (plus flagpole), in a style we'll call firehouse chic. My overly charred sixteen-ounce sirloin didn't measure up to the hallowed prime cut at Sparks down the street. But the porterhouse was sawed in wide, satisfying slabs, and a wedge of the hatbox-size house New York cheesecake kept the four large gentlemen at my table busy with their spoons for half an hour, maybe more.
|Strip House, 13 East 12th Street, 212-328-0000
Balthazar, 80 Spring Street, 212-965-1414
MarkJoseph Steakhouse, 261 Water Street, 212-277-0020
Patroon, 160 East 46th Street, 212-883-7373
Sparks Steak House, 210 East 46th Street, 212-687-4855