So many are gone now……
I can remember a few…LUCHOW’S on 14th street….the WEINERSCHNITZEL EMPORIUM…..MAMA LEONE’S, a temple of Italian wretched excess, with 1250 seats and gigantic platters to match. Mama shuttered the place in 1994, but I’ll never forget the fun and generous spirit of this Theater District landmark. They even gave you food – sometimes bread, sometimes cheese – to take home.
And how about DELMONICO’S – New York’s first steakhouse – in lower Manhattan? It’s long, long gone, and to this day I regret not eating there.
SPARKS STEAKHOUSE survives – and indeed thrives. Which is more than you can say about its most notable patron: mobster Paul (Big Paulie) Castellano, who in 1985 was gunned down by the Gambino family outside Sparks’ front door after downing a 24-ounce Porterhouse (medium rare) dinner.
Still going strong as well: KEEN’S CHOPHOUSE, open since 1885 on 36th Street (see my October 19, 2017 post about this restaurant). Even today, it boasts a stratospheric ZAGAT rating of 4.5. Don’t miss the MUTTON CHOP.
And, of course, there’s still the grandaddy of ‘em all – THE OLD HOMESTEAD STEAKHOUSE, founded in 1868 down in the Meatpacking District. Still robust! Still packed!
But there is one other that I have admired for years, and that’s GALLAGHER’S STEAK HOUSE. In the late 1970s, when I was in New York almost every other week for business, I would find myself wandering over to West 52nd street simply to marvel at the camera-ready meat locker (visible from the street through the front picture window). Staring at haunches of Prime beef on their 30-day dry-aging journey to the table, I can remember thinking, “That’s my kinda place”.
Maybe Gallagher’s is where the seeds for MANNY’S were planted in my mind.
Created in the late 1800s, it was called Club Evelyn until 1927, when Helen Gallagher (a Ziegfeld Girl) took over and rechristened it GALLAGHER’S STEAK HOUSE.
Decades passed, and the restaurant’s look hardly changed at all. But then, in 2015, a fellow by the name of Dean Poll took over and reportedly sunk a badly needed $5,000,000 into the place to bring it into the 21st century. In my view, he was really smart about it, because the menu doesn’t appear to have strayed from the steakhouse classics that proved so durable over the last hundred years or so. It still checks all the boxes of a big and brawny New York-style Power Steakhouse.
Poll did make some updates to the interior – the kitchen, for example, now opens to the dining room – but the beautiful u-shaped bar remains. And most important, the restaurant retains the slightly saloon-y vibe that is so reassuring, non-threatening and comfortable. BRAVO!
Check out the images below….
A stiff drink…Flintstone-sized Porterhouses grilled over hickory charcoal…
swordfish and lobsters…
salads and hash browns…
desserts right out of Steakhouse Central Casting…
and a 10-ounce burger to boot.
No wonder Gallagher’s remains a favorite of movers and shakers, bankers and brokers, mobsters and movie stars – and, of course, athletes.
Now, I did not go to the men’s room when I was there. But I can imagine the walls are emblazoned with pictures of jocks – generation after generation of them. In fact, I think it’s that it’s possible – maybe even probable – that Babe Ruth and Derek Jeter not only share wall space, they might have even shared the same original porcelain fixtures. I don’t know. I was just wondering.