Best Steak
Strip House
13 East 12th Street

Some people would say Strip House isnít a real steakhouse because the waiters arenít surly and chef David Walzog cares as much about the sides as about the main attraction. Go ahead, be abused across the river. But you wonít find a better steak anywhere than the $58 double-cut New York strip served in this aptly bloodred beef den. You crunch through a slightly salty, exquisitely seasoned crust into the tenderest, most mouth-fillingly flavorful beef imaginable. Add a hot little igloo of potatoes fried in goose fat, and perfect spinach in truffled cream, and youíll never suffer the surly fools again.

Thereís also something to be said for those expense-account franchises that have been popping up like milkweed throughout mid- and downtown lately. You can count on them for huge, well-aged, precision-cooked slabs, but Mortonís midtown outpost (551 Fifth Avenue, at 45th Street; 212-972-3315) is the best, not only because the $33.95 New York strip is so great and the carefully chosen wine list so reasonably priced (okay, relatively reasonably priced), but because itís much more intimate than the cow palaces. Finally, if youíre unwilling to take out a second mortgage to beef up the whole family, Carmineís 38-ounce porterhouse (2450 Broadway, near 90th Street; 212-362-2200), sliced by the staff, is only $46 ó and so satisfyingly redolent of garlic youíll be grateful itís kin youíre out with and not a first date.