Keens Steakhouse Mutton Chop

Yelp/ Sojin P.

The Most Famous Dish at This Historic Steakhouse Isn’t a Steak

It’s a must-order at one of New York’s most legendary steakhouses
Keens Steakhouse Mutton Chop

Yelp/ Sojin P.

Keens is one of the best steakhouses in New York City, going strong near Herald Square since 1885. It’s renowned for its perfectly dry-aged USDA prime steaks, its prime rib, and its old-fashioned prime rib hash, but there’s one item on the menu that’s up there with the most popular items, and is by far the most famous dish the restaurant serves, and it isn’t a steak at all — it’s a mutton chop.[related]

If the thought of going to a nice steakhouse and ordering a tough, gamey slab of mutton sounds unappealing to you, then you’ll be glad to hear that the “mutton” at Keens is actually Colorado lamb, albeit one that’s slightly older than usual (about 12 months); the folks at Keens let them go for a little longer than most lambs in order for the resulting chop to reach the ideal size: 26 ounces, and two inches thick. This slightly older age lends the chop a darker red color and better marbling than younger lambs.

The mutton chop at Keens is actually the saddle, cut from the whole loin across the back of the animal; think of it as two porterhouses side by side, with two strips and two fillets, with some side and belly meat hanging off both ends. It’s simply seasoned with salt and clarified butter, seared under a thousand-degree broiler, and finished in a 500-degree oven before being ladled with a flavorful jus and served with a side of sautéed escarole and house-made mint jelly.

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The mutton chop at Keens is unlike any other steakhouse offering you’re likely to encounter, and it can trace its roots back to the restaurant’s earliest days (although it was prepared slightly differently back then). If you’re in New York (and are able to spare the $52 expense), we seriously suggest you try it. But if you're not able to travel to New York for it, you can find out what the best steakhouse in your state is here