The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Snow Day Lunch at Peter Luger: Cheeseburger, Creamed Spinach, and a Hot Fudge Sundae

Peter Luger
Snow-covered Peter Luger.

On February 26, I was perfectly content to stay home and work in my pajamas as a snowstorm semi-raged outside, transforming my view of an unkempt backyard-turned-weed graveyard into a winter wonderland.

And then around lunchtime, Kathy asked me if I wanted to eat lunch at Peter Luger. And I said, "Yes." How did Kathy get me to willingly transform from "groggy, sleep-wear 'boppy" to "mildly more functional, real world 'boppy" in the midst of a snowstorm on such short notice? Because, as a fellow Serious Eats contributor, she proposed that we go on a work-related mission. (Also, I like eating with her.)

The mission: to get a hot fudge sundae and a burger. It's called "research." Man, the things we do for you. Not that I expended much effort to get to Peter Luger; it's about 20 minutes from my apartment in Bed-Stuy on the B44 bus. It's the agony of an overstuffed belly that I had to endure. Lipid-based agony.


First, there was the complimentary bread basket with enough bread to feed waaay more than two people.

steak sauce

Then, there was the complimentary pitcher of steak sauce (I wanted to say "gravy boat," but I guess that name doesn't work if it's not full of gravy, and the lack of gravy doesn't make it a mere "boat"). For our nonexistent steak. But they didn't know that yet.


And then, there was burger. It's $8.95 for a half-pound burger, made from their meat trimmings, I would assume, since they've got loads of it. Add two gooey slices of cheese for $1.50, and fries for $1.95. The burger came with a thick slice of onion, which I left off. All I wanted was meat, cheese, and bun.

mmm cheeseburger
Now it is closed.



And thar she is. You may notice that the bun is especially top heavy. Too heavy for my tastes—it threw off the bun-to-meat ratio. I also wish it had been toasted to give a little crunch, as the crust of the patty wasn't especially...crusty. Other than that, the meat was great: coarsely ground, juicy, flavorful, and cooked medium rare as ordered. If only it had been on a different bun. I'm picky with buns—like any sandwich, a poor bun can bring down high quality fillings. In a good burger, the bun should melt with the patty, not detract from it.

Although I wouldn't put it on my list of favorite burgers in New York City, I think $12.40 for a cheeseburger and fries from Peter Luger is worth it. Just keep in mind that it's only available at lunch (until 3:30 p.m.).

creamed spinach
Creamed spinach.

Kathy and I supplemented our burger halves with creamed spinach ($9.50; the menu notes that it's for two people), which seems to be most people's favorite side dish at Peter Luger. Rarely having eaten creamed spinach before (if ever, which isn't surprising seeing as my steakhouse-eating experiences total to almost nil), I don't have anything to compare Peter Luger's version to, but I liked it. I don't think I could eat much of it though—this stuff is super rich. Because spinach cooked in butter and cream/milk will be like that.


We were stuffed after sharing the burger and creamed spinach, but there was one last item to attend to: hot fudge sundae ($9.95) topped with an obscene amount of whipped cream (which in Peter Luger world is endearingly called "schlag"), a surprisingly cute cow-shaped piece of chocolate, and a maraschino cherry that, although a requirement for a sundae, I never ever want to eat.

Ain't it nice how the stomach magically expands for dessert? That'd be great, if magic existed. Not that that stopped us: We shoveled spoonfuls of creamy vanilla ice cream mixed with thick hot chocolate fudge mixed with "this is one step away from butter" whipped cream at the risk of popping a stomach gasket. And we did (eat, not pop), because it was a goddamn glorious combination. The parts seem so simple, but I don't often come across sundaes where each component is just the way I like it. The ice cream should be smooth and creamy; the fudge, thick, gooey, and a smidge chewy; the whipped cream, fluffy and substantial, not the sort that floops over and melts in 10 seconds. And then they need to be in the right ratio. Yup.

I'm surprised I don't eat hot fudge sundaes more often, considering that they're one of my favorite desserts. Methinks it's a good "once in a while" treat, only to be indulged in when I'm "researching" with Kathy. (Related-ish sidenote: I went to the dentist a few days ago and I have two or three cavities that I need to get filled. Oops. I'm not surprised though. They're all interdental cavities, and yes, I do floss every day, although apparently not well enough. Hopefully the prescription toothpaste my dentist gave me will prevent more from popping up for a while. And I should probably work on eating less. Yeeeeeaah.) (Another related sidenote: I welcome any hot fudge sundae recommendations. That sort of goes against my attempt to not eat too many hot fudge sundaes, but whatever.)

steak menu chocolate coins
Meat and chocolate lie in your future.

The bill came to $20 per person. Not bad for a restaurant known for high priced steaks—the sort that I may someday indulge in. Unsurprisingly, Peter Luger was sparsely populated on that snowy afternoon, which may have made the experience more pleasant than usual. "Let me know if you need anything; it's not like I have much else to do," our friendly waiter joked. At the end of the meal he gave each of us a chocolate coin, then tossed us the ones that the neighboring table had left behind (leaving chocolate coins behind—what's up with that?). Maybe I'll make lunch at Peter Luger a snow day tradition.


Peter Luger
178 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (map)


santos. / March 13, 2010 5:09 AM

i have never wanted to go to new york during the snow months, but if it means a chance of going to peter luger on a snow day, i want!

louanne / March 13, 2010 11:43 AM

what is with that schlag! i didn't eat at luger, but the dang whipped cream at wolfgang is all i can think about some days.

Brian Asis / March 13, 2010 2:04 PM

Eating a Hot Fudge Chocolate Sundae on a cold afternoon is acceptable if you eat it with a one-pound burger :D I liked the way they had the cow shaped chocolate on the top of the sundae

Nicholas / March 13, 2010 9:09 PM

Awww sweeeeet Air Jordan's for $33!!!

I mean... that burger looks crazy good. The price seems eerily reasonable too. Added to the 'must-try-before-leaving-NYC-list.'

roboppy / March 14, 2010 1:35 AM

santos: Snow is nice! ..While it's happening. When it turns to grey slush, it's less nice. I guess I wouldn't want to visit here when it's snowing either. ;_;


Brian: The cow was a funny touch. COW MUST BE IN EVERY PART OF THE MEAL.

Veronica: Where was creamed spinach in my childhood? Wah!

Terry: And somewhere, a sundae is dying to be eaten by youuu.


Actually, more "must try" than this for burger awesomeness is Diner just down the street from Peter Luger. If you ever wanna go, I'll go too!

Rosebud / March 14, 2010 4:43 PM

Such a tourist trap but I love the sundaes at Serendipity. There's a 1000 dollar sundae apparently but Id rather not eat gold. I think my family would come up from Mexico and shoot me with me. With good reason. Anyway....

TheSpatulaQueen / March 14, 2010 10:53 PM

Ahh, I went to Peter Luger's a few months ago with a group of 10 and had almost the exact same thing you did - burgers, creamed spinach, their gigantic bacon (it's more like a hamsteak), and sundaes with mountains of schlag.

However, out of 9 burgers (1 got steak) all ordered medium rare, we got 1 rare, 2 medium rare, 4 medium, and 2 well done. So, consistency's their major issue, though I agree that it's a heck of a good deal if you manage to get them on a good day. But considering that was the last notable burger I remember, I think I need to re-visit this food category. Wanna do like a burger party/crawl or something?

roboppy / March 16, 2010 11:25 AM

Rosebud: $1000 sundae is INSANE. I went to Serendipity once and liked the frozen hot chocolate, but the savory food was memorably bad. And I don't have high standards, so that's saying a lot.

The Spatula Queen: I heard that they were inconsistent but I thought my burger was evidence of them solving that problem...I GUESS NOT! D'oh. Thanks for the heads up; that's good to know.


Annie: It's fun to do sparingly. Gotta watch this waistline...(pokes fat)...wah.

emma / March 17, 2010 12:52 AM


their steak is mind blowingly delicious. it's like steak flavored butter dissolving in your mouth. we went for valentine's day in 2009 and dream about going back... it's SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good. omg. we have been to several high end steak houses since then, trying to find a substitute, and have been sadly unable.

Jenn / March 17, 2010 8:20 AM

I've stumbled across here and I really like your site. You're hilarious! And I'm quite jealous of your eating adventures.

Lynn / March 18, 2010 12:21 PM

Thank you for your sacrifice. I appreciate that you stretched the boundaries of your waistband to bring me that delicious burger, fries, and sundae (I'll pass on the spinach, thank you). It looks fabulous!

roboppy / March 19, 2010 2:33 AM

emma: Mm, steak butter. I will get my steak butter someday. ;_;

Jenn: Thanks for reading! You wouldn't be so jealous if you saw all these cavities I have!..haha..h..ah...sob.

Lynn: You're welcome. My waistband is SO STRETCHED.

S Lloyd / April 27, 2013 4:02 PM

Did you went back and tried their celebrated Porter House? If Yes, what do u think? How would u compare PL to other steakhouses you have tried in Nyc? Thanks

roboppy / May 9, 2013 1:47 AM

S Lloyd: Unfortunately, I haven't been back for steak. I've just been back once...for the burger, haha. It was work-related; otherwise I wouldn't have gone. I like steak, but not enough to eat it on my limited budget. :\

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