In 1868, President Andrew Johnson came here to celebrate his narrow escape from impeachment. More recently, Chelsea Clinton dined here with her famous family. This landmark with the big cow, “Annabelle,” stationed over the front door like a Broadway marquee, is in the heart of the Meatpacking District, where sides of beef once arrived to be sorted for distribution. Today, few meatpackers remain, but The High Line, Chelsea Market, new hotels and the future Whitney Museum make this the hippest neighborhood in Manhattan. Originally a bar with five tables where, in 1868, a steak dinner cost 8 cents, Old Homestead today seats 300 guests on three levels and steak is a tad more expensive. The charming front room with a tin ceiling, mirror-paneled walls and strings of tiny lights, create a modern ambiance with old world charm.
Old Homestead has been owned by the Sherry family since 1951 when Harry, hired as a dishwasher in the mid-1940s, raised money to help the owner stay in business and became the owner himself. In the 1980s, grandsons Greg and Marc Sherry introduced true Japanese Wagyu, known as Kobe beef, to the United States. It has a $350 price tag for a 12-ounce steak, but you can get other tender, well-marbled steaks for less, such as the porterhouse or filet mignon. The menu is a steak lover’s dream! Portions are generous but Old Homestead originated the “doggie bag,” and you can take home whatever you cannot finish.
Appetizers include Maryland Crab wrapped in a panko crust with a hint of Old Bay and chile. Delicious! The garlic mashed potatoes (combined with roasted garlic) are a creamy ambrosia. Lunch Monday to Friday, noon to 4pm; dinner daily from 4pm; from 1pm on weekends. -- Marian Betancourt