Iconic steakhouse Peter Luger gets zero stars from New York Times
In his zero-star review of iconic New York steakhouse Peter Luger, New York Times food writer Pete Wells said “after I’ve paid, there is the unshakable sense that I’ve been scammed.”
Wells castigates the restaurant, complaining both of terrible service — “The management seems to go out of its way to make things inconvenient” — and terrible food.
“The shrimp cocktail has always tasted like cold latex dipped in ketchup and horseradish. The steak sauce has always tasted like the same ketchup and horseradish fortified by corn syrup,” Wells wrote. “Was the Caesar salad always so drippy, the croutons always straight out of a bag, the grated cheese always so white and rubbery?”
Responding to the blistering review, Peter Luger co-owner Judy Storch said “We know who we are and have always been. The best steak you can eat. Not the latest kale salad,” as the New York Post reported.
In her response to Wells, Storch noted the restaurant’s history and reputation: “Lugers has always focused on doing one thing exceptionally well — serving the highest quality of steak — with a member of our family buying every piece of USDA Prime beef individually, just as we have done for decades.”
But Wells takes issue with the steak, too.
“What gnaws at me every time I eat a Luger porterhouse is the realization that it’s just another steak, and far from the best New York has to offer,” he wrote.
The review acknowledges the restaurant’s history — “compared to Peter Luger,” Wells wrote, other steakhouses “don’t count” — but he concludes that the list of reasons to avoid Peter Luger is a long one.
“You start to wonder who really needs to go to Peter Luger, and start to think the answer is nobody.”
Storch said “reviewers and their whims have changed,” and Wells notes a two-star review from Times writer Frank Bruni in 2007.
The restaurant has, for some, become synonymous with steak in New York City. It opened its doors underneath the Williamsburg Bridge in 1887 as “Carl Luger’s Café, Billiards and Bowling Alley,” according to the restaurant’s website.