|Paul's Peter Luger steak|
Paul celebrated his 32nd birthday with meat.
His birthday was Tuesday, and we marked the occasion on both Saturdays surrounding it. The Saturday before his birthday, we ate at The Breslin. This past Saturday we had reservations at the steakhouse Peter Luger.
First, The Breslin. In keeping with our tradition of choosing a restaurant for our birthday about which the other is forbidden to complain, Paul chose The Breslin, a British gastropub on 29th Street. To give you a sense of the menu, I need only say this: He was looking forward to trying the tongue but ended up getting the blood sausage instead. Needless to say, there wasn't much for me on the menu. Nevertheless, I was actually looking forward to giving it a try -- any restaurant that's received a Michelin star can't be too bad, right?
And I did find one thing on the menu for me: the lamb burger. Perfectly moist, topped with feta cheese, it was among the best burgers I've tasted. Even better, it came with a side of thrice cooked fries. Nothing like frying a potato three times to make it extraordinarily crunchy.
The Breslin would have been a perfectly lovely experience had it not been for the wait. The Breslin doesn't take reservations, so we arrived at 7 p.m. We were told we'd be seated in about an hour. Really it was about 90 minutes. (And we were lucky -- as we were waiting, guests who arrived after us were told they'd be seated in two or two and a half hours.) Our food didn't arrive for another 45 minutes or an hour. Still, we did get to see an entire pig on a platter being served to a large party near the kitchen. It was like dinner and a show.
Our 7:45 p.m. reservation at Peter Luger this past Saturday was my birthday present to Paul. Getting in -- and at a reasonable hour for dinner -- was a bit of a coup. I called on October 15, the first day reservations were open for the evening I'd chosen for his birthday meal.
Despite what you may think, this really was a present totally for Paul and not for me. I'm just a little bit on the other side of indifference when it comes to steak. I don't really like it, but I'll eat it if I have no other options. I'm a cheap date.
While Paul happily downed his steak, I was perfectly content with my salad and the various sides we chose: creamed spinach, french fries, and two thick slices of bacon that could have been the bulk of about three meals by themselves. And since it was a special occasion, we topped it all off with a big chocolate sundae.
Toward the end of the meal, Paul wondered how he was going to top this gift when my birthday rolls around next July. Honestly, I thought his last birthday present to me of two tickets to see South Pacific on Broadway was much better. After nearly 10 years, I guess we know each other pretty well.