Famous Sammy’s Roumanian Steakhouse

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80 Good

If you’ve ever wanted to crash the adults’ after-party of a bar mitzvah, now’s your chance.

157 Chrystie St., New York, NY, 10002



Known For

The lowdown

A cynic might wonder what the incentive is for a place like Sammy’s Roumainian to keep cranking out top-rate old-school Jewish cooking. The steady crowd, most of whom hail from way out of town, might not notice if the food lost a step. Distractions abound, with live music nightly, mostly lounge standards intertwined with Borscht Belt banter. Dani Luv’s self-described “best one-man show” has been performing there since 1998. The low-ceilinged basement dining room is studded with business cards, photos of patrons, and collegiate souvenirs. Kettle One vodka frozen into blocks of ice provides another reason to overlook the food, as the festive crowds here are not bashful in their tippling. Even after 40 years at the same location, however, Sammy’s isn’t ready to be relegated to the history books. The expertise is apparent from appetizers like karnatzlack, an elongated sausage patty made of beef, veal, and plenty of garlic, with a spongy texture courtesy of a careful balance of seltzer and baking soda. The chicken liver is mixed at the table, with caramelized onions and strips of turnip for texture. Sammy’s signature is the Romanian tenderloin, a skirt steak tenderized with minced garlic and served in a portion too large for its plate. Fluffy potato pancakes are the natural choice for sides. Prices aren’t cheap, but given the huge portions and high quality, they’re not completely out of line.

What you need to know

Insider Tips Performance showtimes 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday; around 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday to Sunday.

Recommended DishesChopped liver; karnatzlack; tenderloin.

DrinksFull Bar

Noise LevelBring earplugs!