Booze Banter

Bar Review – Keen’s Steakhouse, NYC

This past March, my wife and I decided to spend a weekend in Manhattan for our 11th wedding anniversary. Since Mrs. G-LO is an incredibly detail oriented vacation planner, she inundated me with dining and hotel choices for almost three months. We only had two full days in Manhattan, so her goal was to maximize our time and enjoyment.

Planning our daytime itinerary was easy when compared to our nighttime itinerary. We spent our days in museums (MOMA and the Tenement Museum), delis (Katz’s Deli), food shops (Russ and Daughters), pizzerias, doughnut shops (Doughnut Plant), and diners. We walked (despite a weekend filled with torrential rain showers!), rode the subway, and systematically worked our way through as many cheap eats that Manhattan has to offer.

Picking a dinner destination was a completely different animal. Our dinner reservations were changed on at least ten separate occasions. Since it was our anniversary weekend, we were looking for something special that wouldn’t break the bank. We decided on a compromise: a fancy dinner with friends on Friday night (Public Restaurant), and a laid back dinner on Saturday night (we settled on Keen’s Steakhouse).

Generally speaking, I am not a fan of steakhouses. Although they sometimes have great atmosphere (the dining room at Butcher & Singer is spectacular!) and attentive service, the food rarely excites me. I can make a respectable steak at home, and it won’t cost me $40+ per person (which of course doesn’t include any side dishes. Seriously, $8+ for a baked potato or a spear of broccoli?). As far as the food goes, I would have to say that Keen’s lived up to my expectations, which frankly, weren’t very high. I had a very mediocre Prime Rib Sandwich ($16.50). In all fairness, I did take a good look at what everyone around me was eating, and I must admit that the swarthy guy seated at the table next to us (turns out he was a Paesano, i.e. Sicilian), was devouring a rather impressive looking King Cut Prime Rib ($49.50). If I ever go back there for dinner, perhaps I should consider increasing my budget.

My sole motivation for going to Keen’s was their selection of Single Malt Whisky. It is truly spectacular, and they have well over 100 whiskies to choose from. If you think I’m kidding, take a look at this:

After a few minutes of looking over the menu, I decided to order a Springbank 10 (100 Proof). My wife decided that she would go with a classic cocktail: The Sidecar. What really impressed me about the bar at Keen’s was the professionalism of the bartenders. Besides being incredibly courteous, they really know what they are doing and are very well informed about the products they serve. I watched our bartender at work, and you could tell that he really enjoys his job. He didn’t just throw a bunch of mixers into a shaker and call it a day.  There is a whole lot of love in every drink they make! Here is the fruit of his labor:

We hope to spend more time in NYC, and when we finally get back there, the bar at Keen’s is on the top of my list of places to visit!


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