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Dinner at Keen's Steakhouse, 9/29/07

Since the beginning of this year (2007), I've developed an addiction. At times, it's spiraled out-of-control to the point that I don't know when to stop. But today, my friends, I've decided to come out of my denial "closet" and accept my addiction...to chowhound.com! If you haven't checked out this website, I advise you to stay far, far away; it will suck you in and disrupt your work and home life. You'll start finding yourself wondering "what's being discussed" on the 'chow board when you're away from your computer. It's sick, really.When I first began my love affair with chowhound.com, there was a fellow 'hounder (goes by the name "RGR") who spoke highly and frequently about "Keen's Steakhouse." I became intrigued with Keen's, and put it on my "restaurants that I must-try" list.

Unfortunately, it would be months until I finally experienced Keen's for myself.With my parents' upcoming visit to New York quickly approaching, I decided to make reservations at Keen's for our Saturday night dinner. Putting all of my trust in to what my fellow 'hounders had said about this place, I had high hopes but was worried about what my Texan parents would think (since Texas is the steak capital of the world). Keen's is located on 36th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. I've never really spent much time in that area, but from the looks of the surroundings, I certainly wasn't expecting a nice steakhouse to be on the block. But as we got closer to 6th Avenue, there it was...Keen's, in all its glory. Upon entering the space, we were immediately whisked upstairs to the "Lamb Room." We were all impressed by the atmosphere and decor of this 100 year-old steakhouse. Our group was seated next to a brick hearth in the most charming, old-fashioned dining room. On the ceiling, there were thousands (90,000 to be exact) of smoking pipes in neatly organized rows from past "members." It was amazing to think about just how many people have passed through Keens' doors; you could almost feel their spiritual presence!

I won't bore you with anymore atmospheric details and will now move on to the most important piece...the meal! Less that a minute after we were seated, a chilled vegetable/relish tray with blue cheese dressing and a bread basket appeared. The tray consisted of carrots, celery, pickles and olives which were all perfectly crisp and fresh. The server took our drink order and gave us a couple of minutes to peruse the dinner menu. Keen's is famous for its mutton (lamb) chop (which none of us ended up ordering, but will consider for next time). Mom and I each ordered the cream of asparagus soup (which was an appetizer special that evening) and split the filet Mignon, cooked medium "charred." My dad ordered the house-cured salmon appetizer, the T-Bone steak and hash brown potatoes for the table to split.

The cream of asparagus soup was very refreshing, delicate, creamy and warm. The asparagus aftertaste was much more subtle than others I've had. Though I didn't taste my dad's house-cured salmon, he certainly seemed very pleased....and then the steaks arrived. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they split mom and I's steak in the kitchen, so we didn't have to do it ourselves and make a huge mess. The filet about 1 1/2 inches thick with a perfectly pink center. The meat was insanely tender with an amazingly charred external crust. The hash brown potatoes were basically one large, thick potato pancake; the best damn potato pancake I've ever had.We were all so content and focused on our meal, that there was absolutely no conversation during dinner. Finally, after the plates were cleared, the conversing began again as we were handed the dessert menus. We agreed that we'd only order one sweet for the table, and decided on the butterscotch sundae. Since I was so full, I barely remember the dessert; therefore, I don't have much to report.I was extremely pleased with Keen's in every aspect, as were my parents. It's great knowing that there are steakhouses here worthy of the Texan palate! I will definitely return to Keen's in the near future and encourage you to do the same. This is the ultimate "NYC" steakhouse experience.

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