I live with two girls in my Brooklyn apartment. One of them loves to watch Lifetime. So that means I watch Lifetime. I put up with it because she’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever known and she’s hot. But sometimes it can be too much estrogen. So I was extremely glad when Kuang Wei (K-Dubs, my nickname for him when I would introduce him to my American friends,) an old army buddy that I hadn’t seen in a few years decided to visit me for a week.
I thought Peter Luger’s would be the perfect place for us to reminisce about the good old days and the bad old ways in Bravo Company, 2nd Singapore Infantry Regiment. Nothing like eating unadulterated meat and army talk in a bare bones surrounding to counteract all that Lifetime viewing.
It was a short trip west on the JMZ to Peter Luger’s, which is almost right under the Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn. I had thoroughly briefed my buddy on the concept of operations for lunch. There would be no asking for the menu, only tourists do that. We were to order the rib-eyes and creamed spinach. I know everyone gets the porterhouse, but we both preferred the rib-eye to the tenderloin (smaller side of the porterhouse) and strip loin (larger side.)
Like the army though, things rarely go as planned.
First the menu was given without us asking for it.
We ordered two rib steaks, which are rib-eyes with the bone on, creamed spinach and beer.
“Would you like some bacon?” the waiter asked.
Bacon? In this Bovine temple? What the heck, I do loooove bacon.
“Sure,” I said. “Oh and do you have Brooklyn Larger?”
“Yes,” he replied.
“Can we get that instead of the beer we just ordered.”
“Excellent excellent choice,” the waiter intoned with a hint of a smile.
Why I do believe that this waiter actually likes us.
I was surprised by the disposition of the waiter. I was expecting more of the gruff service I had heard so much about. But this waiter was relatively young compared to the old timers who were patrolling the room.
I was so glad that the waiter suggested the bacon. It was the most glorious slab/piece of bacon ever. In a culture that likes its bacon cooked to a carbonised crisp, this was bacon as it was truly intended: thick, with a bit of char. I bit into it and it was succulent and juicy with an intense porky favour. I closed my eyes hoping that I could remember this moment and the taste of that bacon for the rest of my life. It was utterly magnificent. Towards the end, I tried a little of the famous Luger steak sauce on it, I hesitated before because I did not want to pollute the pristine porkiness. But the sauce’s sweet tanginess gave a nice counterpoint to the bacon. I washed the rest down with my Brooklyn Lager, a perfect pairing, bacon and beer at 11:45 in the morning.
Next came the assault on our main objective; a massive rib steak for each of us. This is one HUGE slab of cow. Its primal, its badass and it is manly. You feel like a lion when you eat it. And man was it good eating. The rib-eye is my absolute favourite cut. Its big, thick but more importantly its well marbled with fat, making it the juiciest, most flavourful cut of beef around. Fuck the filet mignon. I ordered mine medium rare. It came just a tad rarer than that, which is actually how I prefer it. But I seldom ask for “medium rare but more to the rare side” unless I personally know the chef, because what usually comes is seared beef sashimi. This steak was perfect. There was slight char on exterior, the interior was buttery soft as my knife glided though it. The meat was intensely flavourful. I never had a steak that tasted so good. It made me swoon. The juicy piece of meat tasted rich with a funky mineral aroma. I now knew what beef is supposed to taste like. Eating a steak at Peter Luger’s is like watching something in high definition for the first time. The clarity (of flavor) will amaze you.
This is where the uphill battle begins. The meat is so good, so flavourful and juicy that I couldn’t stop eating. I stuffed myself more and more. Just when I thought I had no more room for the steak, and tell myself I’ll stop, I would eat another slice. Then another. It was so good. Just one more bite. I’d stop, put my fork and knife parallel to each other on the plate, only to pick it up three minutes later.
I was leaving New York and I would probably never have a steak this good again. I took another bite, savouring the taste. I was beyond full now. Yet I was going to finish that steak. I had never given up on any mission while in the army. And I wasn’t going to give up on not finishing this steak. I was single-minded in the complete and utter consumption of this piece of meat. 2 S.I.R! Roar!
About 30 ounces of prime, dry-aged rib steak later, I finished it. I couldn’t really move after that. I think I need a helo for a medavac. Call one in and pop smoke will ya K-Dubs.
(K-Duds and I would eventually try to walk it off by crossing the Williamsburg Bridge on foot… only to walk to Il Laboratorio del Gelato for dessert. Apparently my stomach has a reserve for ice cream even though it’s full.)
After a meal at Peter Luger’s with the guys, a newly (re)empowered husband returns home, I wonder what the conversation would be like…
Husband: “Honey I’m home.”
Wife: “Hey Hon could you help me take out the trash please?”
Husband: “Take out the trash? Bitch I’m gonna watch the game! And why don’t we have any snacks in here? Why don’t you take yourself to the kitchen and make something!”
Wife: (in steely icy voice) Now Hon, if you ever, ever talk to me in that tone, you will never ever have sex with me or any woman again. Do I make myself clear?
Husband: Yes Dear.
Wife: Now go take out the trash.
Husband: Yes Dear.
Wife: And as for the food, go make it yourself. Me and my “bitches” are going to have a little public affair downtown. I’m out!
Husband: Yes Dear.
Check back soon for Part 2 of my experience at Peter Luger’s
Read part two here.