How Peter Luger Steak House Picks Its Steaks - Exclusive

Peter Luger Steak House is a longstanding staple in the New York City dining scene — and when we say "longstanding," we mean it: It's one of the oldest steakhouses in the city, opened in 1887. Over the last century-plus, Peter Luger Steak House has catered to everyone from politicians and pop stars to athletes and actors, offering its simple, quality-over-quantity menu and old-school vibes. They're a name to trust when it comes to all things steak, from the meat selection process to serving it up on a plate.

In an exclusive interview, Food Republic spoke with co-owner and vice president Jody Storch about the restaurant's longevity and some of her favorite celebrity encounters while working at the restaurant, but we also asked her about how exactly Peter Luger pulls off that perfect steak. For Storch, it doesn't with the cooking process, though that's certainly important — instead, cooking the perfect steak starts with picking the perfect steak. Every day, the team goes to the meat market to hand-pick their steaks and when they do, they're looking for a high grade and perfect marbled texture.

How to pick a steakhouse-worthy steak

Peter Luger Steak House only uses USDA prime, but not all prime is the same, according to Jody Storch. She told us, "There's a vast range of high-end prime [to] low-end prime. You could sometimes look at a piece of meat and say, 'Oh my God, did the grader have a fight with his wife this morning? Is he in a bad mood? How did he make this prime?' We used to call it 'prime crime,' because if something was very poor or plain looking, we would reject it."

So beyond just that USDA stamp of approval, what else does she and her team look for when shopping for steak? Storch noted that abundant marbling is key, as is abundant fat. The marbling should look like a "fine flecking dispersed throughout the meat than a heavy, coarse, ropey marbling." As for color, the steak should be a nice, deep, rosy hue — a sign of quality resulting in more tender, juicier end products.

Learning to find the perfect steak wasn't a quick process for Peter Luger Steak House, though. Storch said her grandmother spent two years in the meat market with a retired USDA grader, who taught her all she knew. She then passed that knowledge on to Storch's mother, who then taught Storch, who is now passing the skill down to the next generation. It's all key, she said, to "keeping the restaurant at a high level."

Peter Luger Steak House runs three unique locations in Brooklyn, New York; Great Neck, Long Island; and inside Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Visit the Peter Luger Steak House or Caesars Palace websites for information about reservations.