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The Times Drops a Brutal Zero-Star Review on Peter Luger

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Pete Wells thinks the institution has lost its charm

The Peter Luger porterhouse, cooked medium rare and displayed on a white plate
The Peter Luger porterhouse
Nick Solares/Eater

Times critic Pete Wells just dropped a doozy of a zero-star review on Peter Luger Steak House.

The venerable South Williamsburg institution — open since 1887 and often cited as the original old-school New York City steakhouse — has declined in quality while maintaining high prices, Wells argues in one his spiciest reviews of late. Now, the critic writes, everything from the service to the porterhouse to the famous burger is so bad that “you start to wonder who really needs to go to Peter Luger, and start to think the answer is nobody.”

On the burger:

Lunch one afternoon vividly demonstrated the kitchen’s inconsistency: I ordered a burger, medium-rare, at the bar. So had the two people sitting to my right, it turned out. One of them got what we’d all asked for, a midnight-dark crust giving way to an evenly rosy interior so full of juices it looked like it was ready to cry. The other one got a patty that was almost completely brown inside. I got a weird hybrid, a burger whose interior shaded from nearly perfect on one side to gray and hard on the other.

The dry-aged porterhouse was similarly inconsistent, Wells writes, ranging from medium-rare to medium-well — and the “barely past raw” underside tasted “as if it had done all its cooking on the hot platter.”

He also slams the service, saying that “the Department of Motor Vehicles is a block party compared with the line at Peter Luger” and that “the servers, who once were charmingly brusque, now give the strong impression that these endless demands for food and drink are all that’s standing between them and a hard-earned nap.”

Peter Luger used to be “ridiculously grand,” but now, there are far better steakhouses than this one, Wells writes.

This is one hot take that’s likely to get people riled up: The steakhouse still draws crowds of locals and tourists, and more than 100 years after its debut, fans still say it’s an atmosphere worthy of a destination.

Peter Luger Steak House

178 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (718) 387-7400 Visit Website