72 West 36th Street
New York, NY
Monday-Friday: 11:45 a.m.-10:30 p.m.
Saturday: 5-10:30 p.m.
Sunday: 5-9 p.m.
Closed only at Christmas
By Jane Feehan
Once a meeting place for the famous and the only survivor of the Herald Square Theater District, Keens is one of those New York restaurants that people flock to for its fin de siècle ambiance and traditional menu of quality steaks.
Theater district figure Albert Keen took ownership of the restaurant in 1885 and turned the spot into a gathering place for actors, playwrights, publishers and newspaper types. There’s lots of history here, including some Abe Lincoln memorabilia and a large collection of churchwarden pipes – those pipes that smokers would leave at a favorite restaurant for their return visit because they were too fragile to haul around.
Keens took reservations for 800 this Thanksgiving; it’s a popular place. Steaks reign but fish entrées win accolades. Their bar draws lots of locals, including New York Times reporters with bylines - an interesting bunch. Keens’ pub menu offers less pretentious fare than the main dining rooms, including sandwiches, burgers and salads. Friendly bartenders make the solitary diner feel comfortable. Garage parking is directly across the street.
Tags: New York steak house, New York City restaurants, New York City dining, New York history, film research