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Platt Pans Luger's Porterhouse and Balthazar's Steak Frite, While Defining The Shit Line

Some of NYC's most famous and popular restaurants live above the "shit line," but do they deserve too?

Nick Solares

New York Magazine critic Adam Platt examines the phenomena of the "shit line," his term for the division between the restaurants whose fortunes are unaffected by criticism from those that are at its mercy.  He provides a handy 11-point guide, with examples, for the telltale signs of such establishments. These include long lines (Grimaldi's Pizza), a signature dish (Junior's, JG Melon) or having been in business a really, really long time (Keen's, Grand Central Oyster Bar). Along the way he slaughters some sacred cows, not least of which being the porterhouse at Peter Luger, which the critic finds "inconsistent and ridiculously priced." The chalks marks outside Balthazar are adding up as well, as Platt follows Well's recent drive-by with his own volley against the "so-so steak-frites." But don't feel too bad for these establishments. As the critic points out, they have "achieved an enviable, bulletproof status, whether they deserve it or not".