WHAT'S HOT IN NEW YORK: Frankie and Johnnies Steakhouse

Frankie and Johnnies Steakhouse at 269 West 45th Street in Manhattan was established in 1926 and during the prohibition used as a speakeasy. To gain admittance patrons would knock on the unmarked door and say the password "Frankie" a small peephole was opened and if it was business as usual (no coppers) a reply of "Johnnie" would be heard and admittance would be granted, there was then a flight of stairs at the top of which the ritual was repeated. After prohibition was lifted it became a steakhouse and a favorite haunt of the stars of stage, screen and society.


Today the door is marked with the famous "Frankie and Johnnie's Steakhouse" logo and you don't need a password. You will climb the same set of stairs as they did during the prohibition; now adorned with autographed photos of the rich and famous that have enjoyed this establishment and arrive to the next set of doors leading you into the dining room. The dining room is small and sparsely decorated with the exception of the theatrical posters hanging on the walls. It is still frequented by the stars of stage and screen so don't be surprised if you find yourself sitting next to one of your favorite celebrities. The tables are close to each other and you can easily listen in on the other diner's conversations. I arrived for a late lunch and was given additional suggestions for the location of an errand I was running later that day, by a local patron in a table across the room. We struck up a conversation from our separate tables and I was informed that he was surprised that I as a tourist had heard of the steakhouse. That it is well known and loved by New Yorkers and considered one of the best steakhouses in the city. So there you go don't take my work for it when I tell you how succulent the steaks are at Frankie and Johnnies but listen to the locals who are truly in the know.

We began lunch with a Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail followed by a Sirloin Steak and Petite Filet Mignon each were cooked perfectly crisp on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside, both steaks were full of flavor and generously proportioned. They use the dry aged method of steak preparation and serve only USDA prime choice cuts of beef. We also ordered the Crisp Onions, which came in an overflowing pile on a separate plate, and Potato Pancakes, which were more, like a cake than a pancake light airy, crisp and delicious. We rounded the meal out with Cappuccinos served in a tall glass mug with wafting layers of cream, delicious coffee and frothy foam along with their famous Tiramisu.

The meal was altogether delicious, the staff attentive and friendly, and the ambiance exciting and laden with history. This is on my list of a definitely not to be missed experience when you are in NYC. If the location on 45th street isn't convenient for your travel plans there are other locations to choose form. The proprietors of Frankie and Johnnies have a goal of only selecting locations for their steakhouses, which are full of history and excitement. They have a new location in New York at 32 west 37th street, which is in a townhouse formerly owned by John Barrymore. There are also steakhouses in Rye, New York and Hoboken, New Jersey.

Frankie and Johnnies is located in the theatre district at 269 West 45th Street their phone number for reservations is (212)997-9494. Website at www.frankieandjohnnies.com

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