Steakhouses are not like other restaurants and New York City steakhouses are not like other steakhouses. Over the last century and a half, New York City steakhouses have developed their own rules and customs that are distinct from other types of restaurants. They can be intimidating to the novice and baffling to even the most seasoned restaurant diner. With that in mind, here’s a guide to navigating New York City steakhouses, with everything you need to know to get the most out of your experience:
The first steakhouse in the United States was Delmonico’s (1827). It is considered a steakhouse because of the prevalence of beefsteaks on the menu and because it is credited with creating the Delmonico cut. But it was really more of a fine dining restaurant. Both Lobster Newburg and Baked Alaska originated there, and Charles Ranhofer, who became chef de cuisine in 1862, was arguably America’s first celebrity chef. Delmonico’s is still around today (although it has not seen continuous service having closed for a few years), but it represents a parallel evolutionary branch of the steakhouse genre. The menu at Delmonico’s was traditionally heavily French in influence, and the dining room, then and now, ornate and filled with plush furniture.