Last night I ate at Keens. Overall, I thought it was a quaint place, but definitely only a second-tier NYC steakhouse. I am sure I will return at some point for the mutton chop, but I will not rush back.
Keens is older-than-old-school. It's decorated with all type of Americana. Where I was sitting, there were a bunch of interesting, very old show bills, I believe. Keens also has a huge number of old pipes hanging from the ceiling. I have to say, however, that I found that to be a strange way to display them. I was looking for them and never figured out where they were until the end of the meal. I liked the old-timey feel at Keens, but I have to say that the room lacked the energy that many steakhouses have.
The service was competent. Nothing more to say there.
The food was good, but not in the top tier, in my opinion. First Keens sends out a plate with some celery, maybe carrots, dressing, and olives. The rolls were tasty. We started the meal in principal by sharing a caesar salad. The salad was very heavy with the taste of anchovies, which I loved, but my dining companion hated. Then I had the mutton chop, medium-rare, which came out fairly red, which was fine with me. It was an interesting piece of meat, but nothing revolutionary. I don't have any basis for comparison, but it seemed like a fine mutton chop. It's certainly a huge piece of meat. I also had a bite of my dining companion's sirloin, cooked medium. Perhaps it's because I'm used to steaks cooked rare or medium-rare, but I thought the sirloin lacked flavor. I also thought that Keens compensated for a second-rate piece of meat by overseasoning the steak. Creamed spinach was good, a little less creamy and more spinachy. I enjoyed it. We were too full for dessert.
Overall, I think Keens is an interesting place. I'd come back for the mutton chop, but I don't agree with the uniform raves that this place gets on chowhound.
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