A Carnivore's Guide to the Best Steakhouses in Louisville
Maybe it's hard to believe, but there are still true carnivores amid those looking for gluten-free quinoa salads and decorative celery salt foams... people who sing the praises of pancetta and prosciutto, who order their steak rare, and who love meat with the fervor of a stoned T-Rex. True carnivores are willing to brave headache and heart attack for an artfully marbled slab of cow flesh cooked with precision, and seasoned just enough to complement a meaty texture. In Louisville, we consider the American steakhouse to be a carnivore’s church -- a temple of pure celebration and sirloin. So if you’re ready to embrace your inner predator, hit up these hallowed halls of meat and magnificence.
Z’s Oyster Bar & Steakhouse is a consistent, safe bet for a first date, an interview, or even a business lunch. Whether you're hitting up the East End or Downtown spot, you’re guaranteed to be impressed with the menu of aged beef and fresh seafood. If surf & turf is what you’re looking for, this place is hands down the best choice in town. Z's prides itself on the selection of extra-fresh seafood that pairs flawlessly with quality, Prime, Midwestern, aged beef. Plus, the service is never lacking, and it's always packed with class... and people.
There are a couple of things to love about this Brazilian steakhouse: 1) it has an all-you-can-eat meat extravaganza, and 2) it's the best salad bar around, stocked with fresh mozzarella, chunks of manchego, and slivers of salami. (Hey, if it’s on the salad bar, it counts as a serving of vegetables, right?) There's no limit to the amount of meat offered at Brazeiros. As long as your coaster card is turned to the green side, the gaucho chefs will keep coming to your table with giant skewers of meat and give you slices of filet, short rib, sirloin, and the house specialty, picanha: a prime part of the sirloin served with sea salt and rimmed with a lovely crust of fat.
This Louisville favorite is modeled after a successful Cincinnati steakhouse, but has grown into a local hotspot for the hobnobbing post-work crowd. Ruby’s has a bougie steakhouse feel, but never feels stuffy, and is a great setting for after-dinner drinks (and a mean bone-in filet mignon). If you can't make it, at least check out it out on Twitter. There's always something to enjoy, whether it's a photo of the celebrity clientele, a hilarious tweet, or just some updates about the restaurant.
This place boasts the “most eclectic” steak menu in Louisville, with more than 15 cuts of steak available in CAB, Choice, Prime, dry-aged, and wagyu. What's really great about it -- other than those steak "flights" that let you sample the variety of meats on the menu -- is that it has a booth made of vintage Louis Vuitton leather that (comfortably!) seats four to five diners. But of course, it must be reserved ahead of time. While the prices all vary, there's one standout: that $235 10oz Japanese wagyu. So if you're feeling ballsy, please, give it a go.
If you're on a budget and looking for a great steak that won't break the bank, you've found your spot. Head over to Cast Iron Steakhouse (either the Louisville or the Jeffersonville, IN location) and order up some of the cast iron-cooked meats aged 21 to 28 days. Our recommendation: the filet wrapped in applewood smoked bacon. It's easily the most tender cut of beef in town for the price of $20.99 (6oz) or $24.99 (8oz).
Pat’s Steakhouse is an old-school classic in the best way possible, specifically because of the white-glove service and the great group of regulars. The current farm-to-table trend hasn’t quite touched this place yet, but that hasn’t stopped it from chugging right along and serving up some delicious steaks, especially the New York strip or the porterhouse T-bone. It’s a favorite that hasn’t changed much over the years, but that’s just how the regulars like it... though it did finally get a credit card machine last year, which was quite the kick into the 21st century.
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Elizabeth Myers is a writer based in Louisville, and a hardcore carnivore. She likes her steak and her bourbon rare. Follow her for more anti-vegetable savagery at @louisvillenoms.