I'm not much of a steak guy, so I've somehow managed to avoid Keens. But I do love hash, and have always wanted to try Keens's prime rib hash (served only at lunch and only in the pub room or bar). I dragged a friend to Keens today.
I loved just about everything about the bar. No tables were available, so we sat at the bar and had a fabulous experience. It's hard to find a room more beautiful than the bar at Keens, but I was particularly charmed by the lack of faux-old-school service. The bartender was young, considerate, warm, and professional. The plain rolls and especially the sweet butter were excellent. The prime rib hash is in my Top 5 hashes I've ever sampled, highly seasoned, but with some complexity (the prime rib and hash components were seasoned differently). The portion is huge but I couldn't stop eating it. We also had a side of expertly sauteed escarole, a nice, gently acidic counterpoint to the fat in the hash.
My friend finished maybe 60% of his hash, and sprung for the house-made key lime pie. He was very happy. Next time, I hope to split a hash and a mutton chop. If your time is your own, I recommend going for a late lunch. We arrived at 1, but by about 1:45 the place had mostly cleared out and we had most of the bar area to ourselves. What a soul-satisfying lunch.
Keens is cool.