Keens Steakhouse is one of the most iconic dining destinations in New York City, renowned for its succulent steaks, exceptional service, and rich history. Established in 1885, this landmark establishment has played a significant role in the city's culinary landscape, attracting a diverse array of patrons, from business executives and celebrities to tourists and locals.
Located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, Keens Steakhouse boasts an impressive history that dates back over a century. Originally opened as a men's club, the restaurant was a favorite among the city's elite, including the likes of Teddy Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, and J.P. Morgan. Today, Keens Steakhouse remains a popular gathering place for those seeking a taste of the past, with its distinctively old-world ambiance, vintage decor, and impeccable service.
But Keens Steakhouse is not just famous for its historical legacy. The restaurant is renowned for its outstanding cuisine, particularly its dry-aged steaks, which are widely considered to be among the best in the city. The menu features an extensive selection of prime cuts, including porterhouse, ribeye, and filet mignon, all cooked to perfection over an open flame grill. Each steak is hand-selected and dry-aged for a minimum of 21 days, allowing the natural flavors and tenderness to develop fully.
But Keens Steakhouse is not just a haven for meat-lovers. The restaurant's menu is also brimming with other delicious offerings, including seafood, salads, and sides. The jumbo lump crab cakes are a standout, with their perfectly seasoned exterior and juicy, succulent interior. The creamed spinach and hash browns are also perennial favorites, providing the perfect accompaniment to any steak.
Of course, no visit to Keens Steakhouse would be complete without indulging in one of the restaurant's signature cocktails. The bar boasts an impressive array of libations, ranging from classic cocktails like the Old Fashioned and Manhattan to innovative creations like the Billionaire's Cocktail, made with bourbon, Grand Marnier, and lemon juice. The wine list is equally impressive, featuring an extensive selection of reds, whites, and champagnes from around the world.
But it's not just the food and drink that make Keens Steakhouse so special. The restaurant's ambiance is truly one-of-a-kind, with its historic decor, including a ceiling adorned with more than 50,000 clay pipes, once smoked by the restaurant's original patrons. The walls are adorned with antique prints, photographs, and memorabilia, providing a glimpse into the restaurant's rich history. The staff is also exceptional, with attentive and knowledgeable servers who are happy to guide diners through the menu and make recommendations.
Keens Steakhouse is also known for its private dining rooms, which are perfect for special occasions or corporate events. The restaurant offers a range of rooms, including the Lillie Langtry Room, named after the famous British actress and mistress of King Edward VII, who was a regular at the restaurant. The room features elegant decor, with antique chandeliers, ornate mirrors, and plush seating, providing a truly regal ambiance. The Empire Room, named after the iconic New York City landmark, is another popular choice, with its rich wood paneling and historic artwork.
But perhaps the most unique feature of Keens Steakhouse is its extensive collection of pipes, which are on display throughout the restaurant. The collection includes pipes once owned by luminaries such as Albert Einstein, Teddy Roosevelt, and Babe Ruth, among others. The collection is a testament to the restaurant's rich history and the important role it has played in the cultural fabric of New York City.
Over the years, Keens Steakhouse has received numerous accolades and awards, cementing its reputation as one of the city's top dining destinations. In 2019, the restaurant was named one of the top 10 steakhouses in America by Forbes, and in 2020, it received a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. It has also been featured in numerous publications, including The New York Times, Time Out New York, and Travel + Leisure.
But it's not just the critics who rave about Keens Steakhouse. The restaurant has a legion of devoted fans who return time and time again for the exceptional food, service, and ambiance. Many have their own personal favorite dishes or drinks, and some even have their own personal pipes on display in the restaurant's collection.
One such loyal patron is David Burke, a renowned chef and restaurateur who has dined at Keens Steakhouse for over 30 years. Burke, who is known for his inventive cuisine and unique culinary creations, has a deep appreciation for the restaurant's classic approach to steakhouse dining.
"I've been coming to Keens Steakhouse for as long as I can remember, and it never disappoints," Burke says. "The dry-aged steaks are incredible, and the sides are always spot-on. But what really sets Keens apart is the ambiance. You feel like you're stepping back in time when you walk in the door. It's a truly special place."
Another longtime fan of Keens Steakhouse is actor and comedian Jerry Seinfeld, who has been known to frequent the restaurant with friends and family. In an interview with The New York Times, Seinfeld spoke of his admiration for the restaurant's rich history and the quality of the food.
"I love Keens Steakhouse," Seinfeld said. "It's a classic New York City institution. The steaks are incredible, and the history of the place is really fascinating. It's like stepping back in time when you walk in the door."
Despite its long history, Keens Steakhouse continues to evolve and adapt to changing times. In recent years, the restaurant has made a concerted effort to embrace sustainability and ethical sourcing practices, working with local farmers and suppliers to ensure that its ingredients are of the highest quality and sourced in an environmentally responsible manner.
The restaurant has also expanded its offerings beyond the traditional steakhouse fare, introducing new dishes and flavors to appeal to a broader range of diners. The lobster thermidor and roasted duck breast are just a few examples of the innovative dishes that have been added to the menu in recent years.
But even with these changes, Keens Steakhouse remains true to its roots, providing a timeless dining experience that is steeped in history and tradition. It's a place where diners can escape the hustle and bustle of the city and savor a perfectly cooked steak in a setting that is both elegant and comforting.
In a city that is constantly changing and reinventing itself, Keens Steakhouse stands as a testament to the enduring power of great food, exceptional service, and a rich cultural legacy. It's a place where history and tradition are valued and celebrated, and where diners can experience the very best of what New York City has to offer.
As the city continues to evolve and grow, it's comforting to know that Keens Steakhouse will always be there, a bastion of classic cuisine and old-world elegance in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. It's a place that has stood the test of time, and will continue to do so for generations to come.