Yesterday, after enjoying our time at the Tribeca Film Festival, (Carol Channing: Larger Than Life, fantastic) my husband and I impulsively decided to take a walk and wandered from Chelsea to the Madison Garden area (around 7 p.m.) in search of somewhere to have dinner.
We're from out of town, and as we approached the MSG area I realized we had probably walked in the wrong direction to just stumble upon a good place to eat. But I did recall that Keen's Chophouse (a/k/a Keen's Steak House) was in the area. Had never been there before, but it had been on my list of Must-Get-To-Someday places. So, I called Keen's and was told they were fully booked until 9:30, but if we wanted to stop by we could get the full menu at the bar.
We decided to chance it, and when we arrived I explained I had called earlier and would take anything they had, even a seat at the bar. Not necessary to sit at the bar, the congenial host said, and we were shown to a regular table in the dining room. Not a table on the banquette against the wall, where two tops are crammed together, but a free standing table in the back of the room where it was more private and comfortable.
We were then brought a relish tray and basket of rolls by one of the nicest and warmest servers I have encountered in a long time (a tall, older gentleman with white hair).
Because I am on a protein/vegetable/fruit diet these days, we asked if we could split a salad and an entree (skipping the sides/carbs), and were told absolutely, no problem. So we ordered the three leaf salad and the prime rib. I also ordered an unsweetened iced tea, which was wonderful, perhaps the best iced tea I've ever had at a restaurant. It was oolong with ginger, and so flavorful and refreshing. Definitely different, loved it.
The salad was good, my husband ate the rolls and said they were crusty and delicious, and the prime rib was a Fred Flintstone-sized thing of beauty, cooked rare/medium rare and juicy. After we both had done our best with it we still had a good size piece left over to bring home.
Service was excellent, never rushed, never neglected, water glasses always refilled quickly. I enjoyed chatting with our server who was an upbeat and pleasant man. What a great meal to cap off an overall wonderful day.
I'm usually not spontaneous when it comes to dining in NYC, I like to have a firm reservation and not take chances, so to have such a good experience, left a huge impression on me.
Keen's fan for life now.
72 West 36th St., New York, NY 10018