The Story Behind Picholine Steak House

After 22 years of service, chef Terrance Brennan is closing Picholine, his sleek restaurant on West 64th street near Lincoln Center. Brennan was not ready for the move.

In the spring of 2020, Brennan and his wife, Lisa, had a daughter and needed to find a babysitter to help them care for the baby while Brennan and his team were away. Their search came up empty. They spent much of their free time looking for the right person. Finally they found the perfect person in an acquaintance who happened to have an apartment in New York City.

On October 5, Lisa and Terrance Brennan went to see Picholine in the West Village. They sat at the bar and watched the staff prepare their steaks. Brennan knew that they were serving steak, but the waitress didn’t know how to place them on the table and when she did, her voice came out of a high-pitched little girl.

“I don’t know,” she said to the diner. The diner told her he had to bring her some steak because her co-worker had broken a finger. When he arrived with the steak, the waitress asked if he wanted it grilled or raw. Brennan was impressed by the knowledge of the woman. She didn’t have the same attitude about raw steak at his restaurant. Brennan asked her what she did to cook the steak.

She told him to get her a raw steak, and then he got back in his car and drove off. When he got home, Brennan told Lisa about his experience. Lisa knew that Brennan loved raw steak. When Brennan mentioned to her that he was going to start a business in New York, Lisa said she was thrilled because that meant a lot of money. Brennan’s eyes started to light up.

“All I need to do is show you some raw steak,” Brennan told Lisa. Lisa was impressed by his suggestion, but not convinced by his enthusiasm.

“How about Picholine?” Brennan asked. Lisa and Terrance Brennan drove down to Picholine’s, and when they arrived, Picholine greeted them with a hug.

“This is my favorite place,” Picholine said. Lisa and Terrance Brennan were surprising to learn that Picholine didn’t own a restaurant. But Brennan’s enthusiasm for Picholine seemed genuine, so he decided to try the steak on their own.

When Brennan put the steak on the grill, Lisa noticed the way Picholine smelled. It was a musty old smell.