All my boys know that their birthday will be a food-fest celebration for the whole family. Whatever else they may have planned with friends (who may or may not join us), we gather together on the actual day. Sometimes someone requests a favorite meal or we throw together an impromptu party. As they’ve gotten older, more often or not they request the restaurant they are not likely to take themselves to meaning, where can mom and dad pay the bill?
This year Calder chose his hands-down favorite steakhouse in NYC, Peter Luger, an old school 120 year old institution in Brooklyn. I remember the first time I went there as a newbie New Yorker in my 20s and made the mistake of asking for a menu. The waiter looked at me with an intimidating glance; “what else are you going to order?”, I’m sure he was thinking.
Subsequent visits over the years have taught me—its not that the waiters are snobby, rather, they are a professional, no-nonsense sort who take their jobs very seriously, which is to have cooked and delivered tableside the right size steak, fired and sliced to perfection along with the desired side dishes. As far as I’m concerned, those are your only decisions: what’s the doneness of your steak and what are your sides? The actual steak flavor is top-tier, beefy, tender, buttery with a perfect top crusty edge seasoned to perfection.
On the side are Tomatoes with White Onions, Hash Brown Potatoes, Creamed Spinach and a plate of Bacon. Atmospherically, it is a rollicking good time in spite of the guy-heavy, after-work, "we’re-on-expense-accounts" vibe.