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“Lunch at Peter Luger's”

  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Lunch/Takeout New American Brooklyn Break the Bank Good

I have a confession to make. I have never eaten at Peter Luger’s. I know, crazy but true. There were numerous times I had made plans to go, but for one reason or another, it never happened. Last week Kathy and Julie took a stand and decided it was time for me to check it out, and we made a date to go and try their famous burger, only served at lunch. I had heard about this burger from legions of respected food-loving friends. It had obtained mythical burger status in my mind. I was warned to take wads of cash (no plastic is accepted), and to wear Lycra or something expandable. And so last Friday, dressed in my loosest jeans and packing a wallet full of cash, I boarded the J train to Marcy Avenue. I found a seat and listened to the MTA announcer remind us to watch out for our belongings, not to expose electronic devices like iPods or cell phones. This I found odd. Are they actually thinking people are worried about getting mugged on subways anymore? Oh those were the good old days. I wish that were my worst fear. Here, take my iPod, take my cell phone. Take everything. Please. Just don’t blow me up. (If it seems as though I am trying to laugh at this, I am. It’s the only way I can deal with the horrific reality of this prospect.) As I sat there, sadly contemplating the devolution of our society and the state of our world, the train came out of the tunnel, and sunshine spilled in through the subway car’s dusty windows. We rattled up the tracks, chugging up and over the Williamsburg Bridge, and there, laid out in front of me, was our city—unapologetically alive. Is there any other place to live?

I walked down the subway stairs and up Broadway, a few blocks over to Luger’s, an institution that feels as though time has not moved forward an inch in decades. The décor is simple and standard—wood paneled walls, wood floors, black and white photos on the walls. Unlike the breadstick-thin amazons that greet you at most Manhattan chicdoms, the hostesses at Luger’s are older women dressed in sweaters, donning bifocals on chains, wearing heavy make up with thick eyeliner and sticky coats of mascara, with long fingernails, and raspy voices choked by years of smoking and answering phones. Behind the long wooden bar, there was a bald, blue-eyed sturdy bartender in a white coat with a salty personality, who mixed Julie a perfect Manhattan. And in the bright, windowed dining room, there were waiters, all men, ... [more, click below]

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