Keens Steakhouse

15. April 2009 American, Midtown 8

72 West 36th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues
$130 for two, with drinks, with tip
♥ ♥ ♥

To celebrate my getting a new job during these harsh economic times, the Dr. took me to Keens Steakhouse for their legendary mutton chops. I think I might have to keep him around for a while.

The meat from a sheep less than twelve months old is called lamb, and as we all know, is usually tender and mild in flavor. The meat from an older sheep is called mutton, and for reasons I can’t find on the Web, is not as popular on New York City menus as lamb. Someone please explain why I can’t enjoy mutton much more often! We ordered it medium-rare and it was perfectly bloody and hefty. Keens wouldn’t be the only Herald Square Theater District survivor today if they haven’t been this consistent since 1885.

For lack of better wording, mutton is more manly. I felt stronger and more carnivorous when I was eating it even though we were sharing one $45 chop. There is no lack of male reminders at Keens–the collection of churchwarden pipes from old customers cover the ceiling, from Teddy Roosevelt’s to General Douglas MacArthur’s. Walking in, you’d think you’ve entered a museum rather than a restaurant. If it wasn’t for Lillie Langtry, actress and paramour of King Edward of England, taking Keens to court in 1905 for having denied her access to its gentlemen-only premises, it will still be a rendezvous of the men’s club today. She won her case, swept into Keens in her feathered boa and ordered like a man.

Related post/s:
Simmering lamb ragu for more than 2 hours
I’ll take lamb shanks any day, too

8 thoughts on “Keens Steakhouse”

  • 1
    Eddie on April 15, 2009

    Congrats on the new job! Nice write-up; I’ve always been intrigued by Keens and wondered if the mutton chop was worth the hype, and it sounds like it is..

  • 2
    Joe on April 15, 2009

    Its not mutton, it is older lamb, but still less than 1 year old.

  • 3
    Natalie on April 16, 2009

    I once ordered lamb at a restaurant and was most definitely given a mutton chop. As the lamb carried a $65 price tag, I was very upset to have been served mutton. The restaurant didn’t understand why I was so upset. This post makes me feel more normal, like there are others out there who know the difference!

  • 4
    cia on April 16, 2009

    Natalie — Was it obviously meatier? I hope the kitchen at least confirmed you were right. There are people out there who shouldn’t be waiting tables and could care less what their restaurant is serving.

  • 6
    cia on April 18, 2009

    Interesting! I wonder if it’s still the case after 2005? Well, it definitely fooled me: that thing was meaty.

  • 7
    cia on April 20, 2009

    It could have been lamb, but the saddle. Check out that NY Times article Riley posted above.

  • 8
    Natalie on April 20, 2009

    Not only was it meatier, it had a flap of fat about an inch thick. The chef insisted that it was lamb. I’ve never seen a lamb chop weigh in at 12 ounces before!

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