17 March 2014

The Weirdest Steak House in Town

On lower Stone Street (not the cool section lined with bars and favored by brokers), under some scaffolding, there is a narrow operation that I've always considered the weirdest steak house in New York. Most steak houses are huge and spacious. This one's a sliver, but fire-engine red. It's also pretty sad and decrepit looking, and bears what I consider an odd name: Nebraska Steakhouse. I guess there are a lot of cows in Nebraska. Or were, historically. But in a town where most steak houses proudly trumpet the names of their founders or owners (Peter Luger, Smith & Wollensky, Ruth's Chris, Keen's), it seems strange to crow about another state.

The menu's the usual array of large cuts of meat, with a chicken and lamb dish thrown in. (Though they do have something called "Mona's Health and Wellness Menu," which included tilapia and turkey meatballs and such.) The prices at—again, as usual—sky high. Judging by the largely positive Internet reviews, it seems the food is appreciated by the customers. Also appreciated, apparently, are the shapely, mainly Russian, female bartenders. At the annual Christmas party, they all dress up like sexy little Santa's helpers. I guess that's one way to keep your male clientele coming back.

The joint's curious personality may have something to do with its owner, one Mona Muresan, who is a Romanian-born body-building champ. She moved to the U.S. in 1992, when she was teenager. She began as a coat check girl and worked her way up the chain of command until she eventually bought the place from its previous owner in 2006. Real Horatio Alger story.

There has been an eating establishment at this address at least since 1930. In 1932, it was the Satin Coffee House, which sounds intriguing.


Anonymous said...

Nebraska is not the leading cattle-raising state, it is a relatively distant no. 2 behind Texas, however it leads all states in the number of cows turned into hamburger.


Mitch said...

Mona looks like someone you would not want to tangle with. She doubtless holds her own in the tough world of owning a steakhouse.