NYC Best Meaty Eats: Great Steaks In Brooklyn
South Williamsburg has long been a hot spot for people who like to eat really, really good meat. There's the pioneering steak house Peter Luger, of course, which has been around, in one form another, since the late-1800s and has topped Zagat's "Best Steakhouse" list for 30 years in a row. There's the pioneering BBQ joint Fette Sau, slinging its 'cue out of old auto-body repair shop at the end of driveway (which also serves as the outdoor seating area) and was schooling us about the intense pleasure of smoked meat years before the likes of Mighty Quinn's, Briskettown, and Hill Country joined the fray. There's the pioneering fried chicken spot Pies n' Thighs, which used to feed the faithful in the mid-aughts from an almost literal hole-in-the-wall beneath the Williamsburg Bridge. And though the neighborhood has changed enormously in the past few years, the first-rate meat-restaurant tradition seems to be hanging strong. Witness: the open-fire steak house St. Anselm on Metropolitan (across the street from its sister Fette Sau); and the self-explanatory Meat Hook Sandwich Shop on Lorimer, which shows that the best butchers in NYC also know how to make you an amazing lunch.
Steak at St. Anselm
First, St. Anselm, which opened in its current iteration as a kind of low-key steakhouse in 2011, and which continues to command long waits for tables (or grill counter stools) during anything close to prime dinner time. The reason for all the love: excellent cuts of meat, simply seasoned and grilled to perfection over a sizzling fire, all at reasonable prices. The thing to get at St. Anselm (or, at least, the thing I always get, because it's so good and so cheap) is the $17 Butcher's Steak (pictured attop), a huge piece of hanger steak, remarkably rich and tender, cooked to exactly the right "rare" that I always request, served with garlic butter. You can barely make this dish less inexpensively in your own home! The sides and starters are also terrific, especially the Grilled Haloumi cheese with pea greens, and the Spinach Gratin, There are lots of other meats on the St. Anselm menu, and I've heard they're really good as well. It's just that I can't bring myself to NOT order that hanger steak.
Meat Hook Sandwich Shop
For your lunchtime meat needs–and, as of now, it's still only open during the day–look no further than the category-busting Meat Hook Sandwich Shop, a tiny nook of a place just far enough away from the Williamsburg's shopping and brunching mobs to give it a real neighborhood feel. As the outpost of one of the city's most celebrated butchers (Meat Hook proper, located a few blocks away), it's not surprising that the meat here is super fresh and lovingly handled. But what sets the sandwiches apart from, say, the ones you find at Chelsea Market's Dickson Farmstand Meats, is its confident inventiveness and superb ancillary ingredients, from the bread, the vegetable toppings (pickled and otherwise), and the sides. For example, the Cold Roast Pork sandwich is true thing of beauty, the sweet meat countered beautifully with bitter escarole, spicy raisins, crisp fennel, and, most inspired, tuna mayonnaise, or tonnato, all on a perfect sesame roll. The massive Italian hero–various hams, mozz, peppers, vinegary dressing–is probably the best I've ever had of this sandwich hall-of-famer. And if for some reason your vegetarian buddy wants to go with you, the Veggie sandwich here at the Meat Hook is definitely, as the menu promises, "better than you would expect."
For More Information on St. Anselm and Meat Hook Sandwich Shop
Meat Hook Sandwich Shop is located on Lorimer Street between Powers and Grand is open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Yes, lunch only, though fingers crossed that will change soon. St Anselm is located on Metropolitan Avenue and Havemeyer Street, and is open from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and until 12:00 midnight on Friday and Saturday. St. Anselm also serves brunch on the weekends, from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Both restaurants are just a few blocks from the Lorimer Street stop on the L.