Food/Groups: Season 1 Recap
Since opening a few years ago, B&B has cemented itself at the top of Houston's steak hierarchy, which is no easy feat in cattle-crazed Texas. They expertly prepare a variety of beef types (A5 Kobe, Texas wagyu, USDA prime), all cut in their on-premises butcher shop, much of it dry-aged in their aging room -- if you're the curious sort, they're more than happy to let customers take a peek behind the metaphorical curtain at both. Of course, it's entirely reasonable that you'll have zero interest in separating yourself from your steak, especially if you try it carpetbagger style, which leaves it topped with a fried oyster and blue cheese.
If you're familiar at all with Boston geography, you'd know that there was a time not too long ago when Boston's premier steakhouse unveiling itself in Burlington would have been surprising. That's no longer the case, and since opening in 2014, The Bancroft has drawn Hub residents out to Burlington instead of traffic flowing in the other direction. Maybe it has something to do with starters like a clam chowder appointed with house-made crackers and house-smoked bacon. Even more enticing, however, is the well-curated steak lineup -- the prime au poivre preparation with bone marrow is particularly indulgent, enough to make one completely reevaluate all manner of real estate choices.
Sure, it's not exactly revolutionary to tout a Stephen Starr restaurant in Philadelphia as being outstanding, but Barclay has remained the quintessential Philly steak experience for nearly a decade now. Important note: that's not the same thing as the quintessential cheesesteak experience, although they do have one if you're feeling gimmicky and have $120. Of course, if you're not in sandwich mode, the carb-less steaks still shine -- as the bone-in, 40-day aged prime NY strip will emphatically reveal to you.
Trendy Miami steakhouses come and go, and meanwhile Bern's is just hanging out there in Tampa like it has been for 60-plus years, serving up flawless cut-and-trimmed to order chateaubriand, preparing its iconic Caesar salad tableside, and presiding over a positively legendary wine cellar. And yes, there's not always room for dessert after an indulgent steakhouse meal, but buck up and make your way to the Harry Waugh Dessert Room after you're done, where you can unwind from your meal and partake in an after-dinner drink and sweetness like banana cheese pie and baked Alaska.
This swank -- we’re talking fireside dining and leather seats that would also look great in a high-budget Agatha Christie chamber drama -- Seattle spot takes its beef very, very seriously, specializing in high-quality wagyu from Mishima Reserve, which gets smoked for takeaway in its butchery section (and in sandwich form!) and grilled to tender bliss in the restaurant. Whether it’s as a happy hour kebab, a shareable porterhouse, or a served as a flight of 4-ounce cuts, it’s undeniably one of the best and most tender steaks available. Also, don’t sleep on the fries here. They’re fried in -- yup -- fancy beef fat.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Look, your options for a high-end steak experience in Vegas are pretty limitless, and there's no harm it choosing from one of the dozens of places repping some fancy chef (who probably hasn't been there in a few months) and dropping an unconscionable sum on some A-5 wagyu that will admittedly be delicious. But there's something special about venturing off the strip and finding yourself in the same establishment where the likes of Elvis, DiMaggio, and Sinatra went for their red meat fix. You don't make it six decades in Vegas by accident. Finish your meal with some cherries jubilee or bananas Foster flamed tableside (they've been at it so long, they're still allowed to start a small conflagration in the dining room).
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Having served hungry cowboys and ranchers in one iteration or another since 1910, Cattlemen's history is as rich (maybe richer?) than the beefy steaks it serves up -- it once changed ownership in a dice game, because of course it did. Also, they serve an impressive lineup of steaks at breakfast, because of course they do. You can spend as much as you want trying to create the ideal steakhouse ambiance, but there's simply no replicating the feeling of dining at Cattlemen's. Now pass the lamb fries.
Where else but Idaho would you expect to find the perfect expression of meat and potatoes? Just try tearing into a cut of American wagyu from nearby Snake River farms, pairing it with a big baked Idaho potato (or some fennel-leek potatoes au gratin if you're fancy!) and try not to grin like a ludicrously happy carnivore. And yes, it's somewhat obligatory for out-of-towners to mention potatoes when writing about Idaho, but in all seriousness, Chandlers could hold its own in the steakhouse hierarchy of any city in America.
New York, New York
It's not uncommon for an ambitious steakhouse to open and make bold claims about "reinventing the steakhouse" and other variations on the sentiment, but truth be told it's rare to see something truly game-changing. That's what made Cote so exciting when it opened earlier this year, with Michelin-starred Simon Kim seamlessly blending Korean culinary traditions (yes, including Korean barbecue!) with classic steakhouse trappings to create something wholly unique. Just round up some friends, order the Butcher's Feast, and don't ask any questions: it's precisely what it sounds like.
New Orleans, Louisiana
You don't survive for 83 years in the restaurant business in a city like New Orleans without knowing what you're doing -- in the case of Crescent City Steaks, the "what" consists of sizzling beautiful USDA prime steaks in an only slightly alarming amount of butter at a refreshingly reasonable price point by current steakhouse standards. Of course, don't let the aforementioned dairy indulgence dissuade you from a slice of Creole cream cheesecake to round out your meal -- that would be a horrible mistake. -- ML
It takes a little something extra to get Chicago excited about a steakhouse. It turns out the combination of chef Chris Pandel (who previously drew rave reviews at Balena and The Bristol) and the omnipresent Boka Group putting their weight behind one was precisely that something. Consider splurging on the impressive beef Wellington for two, in which the meltingly tender hunk of filet is covered in duxelles, spinach, and foie gras before being wrapped in an impossibly flaky crust and served tableside. The crispy fingerlings with buttermilk ranch are so good that more steakhouses should consider ripping them off. The decadence of the deep dish cookie makes deep dish pizza look positively restrained.
Durant's opened in Phoenix nearly 70 years ago, and, unlike certain basketball players who share its moniker, never left. That's a good thing, too, because while no shortage of high-end steakhouses have opened in the area over the years, none of them quite have the gravitas that comes with counting the likes of John Wayne and Joe DiMaggio among your customers. If you can polish off the 48-ounce porterhouse you get your picture on the wall, and if you want to feel like Henry Hill in Goodfellas you can (and should!) enter via the back entrance via the kitchen.
Since 1946, the Five O'Clock has been delivering a combination of steakhouse elegance with the hospitality of a Midwest supper club. For the uninitiated, that means you order your meal from the bar as you enjoy your cocktail (a brandy Old Fashioned would be a wise move here), then settle into your table and graze on warm bread, salad, and a relish tray as you await the main attraction. Steaks are finished in a secret house marinade that renders them especially dark on the outside, providing a gorgeous contrast with the (hopefully, depending on how you ordered) bright red exterior. It's a steakhouse experience you won't find anywhere else.
The restaurant scene in Mile High was once a sea of steakhouses... and not much else. It earned its Cowtown nickname. Present-day Denver is host to a vibrant, diverse food scene -- and this is the modern steakhouse it deserves. The gleaming crown jewel of chef Troy Guard’s Colorado food empire, Guard and Grace is a sexy-as-hell, low-lit space that’s a celebration of steak. There’s a playful filet mignon flight (with 12 ounces of prime, Angus, and grass-fed meats), oak-fired prime rib, Colorado lamb T-bones, and dry-aged bone-in rib-eye and NY strip. No matter which you choose, all steaks are given a proprietary spice rub, oak fired, and finished with chive butter and a veal demi-glace. Save room for the enormous sides, with highlights like a decadent truffled gnocchi, foraged mushrooms, and crispy Brussels sprouts.
Charleston, South Carolina
Since opening in 2009, Halls has cemented itself as South Carolina's must-visit steakhouse with a lineup of USDA prime beef intermixed with Lowcountry favorites like fried green tomatoes and shrimp & grits topped with tasso ham gravy. Also, we'd be remiss not to mention the legendary gospel brunch here. Fear not, you can make your brunch consist of a bacon-wrapped filet with hash browns to make it feel brunch-y.
Far from the trendy restaurants of San Francisco and Los Angeles -- but right in the glorious cradle of wine country -- The Hitching Post has perfected its “live oak” barbecuing method or grilling technique in which rib-eye, T-bones, and New York steaks are slow-cooked over open fire. They say it imparts more flavor. They’re right. As a result, this rustic-looking spot that could easily be mistaken for a dive bar from outside might just make the finest steak in the Bear Republic. Nothing fancy here. Just one-of-a-kind meat served, de facto, with enough sides to feed a circus.
With its leather-bound books, rich woodwork, and tuxedoed waitstaff, Hy’s has spent 40 years developing its rich reputation as a luxury steakhouse that happens to anchor a dining scene more known for seafood. Oh, the surf’s here (get the oysters Rockefeller or ahi sashimi), but they’re just a warm-up to the best steaks on the islands. Score a classic pastry-wrapped beef Wellington if you’re feeling frisky, or a filet and seared foie combo, all of which are cooked over native kiwi wood (so are the racks of lamb, which you should get despite reading them in an article about steak). Don’t skip the Japanese-style Wafu sauce, and save room for table-side bananas Foster, set aflame by a server who is also one of the best-dressed people in the house. -- AK
If you find yourself thinking Kanye has somehow gotten into the Nashville steakhouse game, you need to work on your close reading skills. If you find yourself dining at Kayne prime, you need to start off with the house-made bacon topped with maple cotton candy, because are you really going to pass that up? If you move onto steaks, you won't be disappointed with the dry-aged, bone-in rib-eye sourced from Michael's Meats in Columbus, Ohio. If you think this is getting too indulgent, wait until you realize you have the option to top said steak with bone marrow butter. If you think you've found a better steakhouse in Nashville, we'd love to hear about it.
New York, New York
Yes, this list is hardly short on iconic steakhouses, but somehow with Keens labels like "icon" and "institution" STILL feel like an undersell for a place that's been turning out top-notch steaks since the year Doc and Marty traveled to for Back to the Future III. That's 1885. Come on, you knew that. The list of dignitaries who've dined here is long enough that it might be simpler to name the ones who haven't. Not simple, choosing between the reliably excellent lineup of steaks and the legendary mutton chop, as this is one of the few (possibly only?) restaurants in existence where you can utter the phrase "legendary mutton chop" unironically.
The former Iron Chef-testant and Atlanta dining titan remains perched at the top of the city's steakhouse hierarchy, with an eclectically influenced menu (classic French escargot, comfort food-channeling jack cheese 'n pecan fritters, Asian-influenced mushroom soy-glazed meatballs) that might prove too meandering in lesser hands. Here it's just a prelude to Georgia's finest steak experience. Order yours "blue" if you're feeling particularly bold and don't mind a cool center, though if you're splitting the dry-aged steak for two, make sure your dining companion is cool with it first.
Ronnie Killen has a way with meat -- he also has a much-loved barbecue joint bearing his name. Killen's burgers, meanwhile, set up shop in the original location of his namesake steakhouse, which migrated to a bigger location a couple of years back to accommodate its many steak-starved patrons. Killen's selection of domestic and Japanese wagyu is particularly renowned, and makes a fine starting point if you have money to burn and are looking to give these cats who racked up a $12,000 bill there a literal run for their money.
When celebrity super-chef John Tesar opened Knife, he wanted to reinvent the steakhouse, and not just by making it damn near impossible to Google efficiently. Steaks here are scored from local ranches before aging for up to 240 days en route to the place’s communal tables. The enormous bone-in rib-eye and gigantic short rib are all cooked over red oak fire, while more exotic cuts like a day-aged Creekstone rib-eye make up the fancier offerings. Charcuterie, too, is made in house, while steamed buns and pig haunches make up the apps. For dessert, you can even get a cigar. As an added bonus, it’s in the Highland Hotel, and they offer room service. You know, just in case you want to eat an expensive skirt steak while binging 90 Day Fiancé in a robe.
Portland’s home to many restaurants that make great steak, but Laurelhurst Market is the best straight-up steakhouse, one that wears many hats. It’s a full butcher shop, complete with a sandwich counter. It’s a badass cocktail bar. And at night, it’s one of the best true steakhouses in the Pacific Northwest. Everything’s local and cut in-house, from a dry-aged bone-in NY with patron peppers to the wagyu culotte covered with chanterelles. Non-steak-lovers have duck and confit pork shoulder to work with, while a cheap steak melt can be had at lunch. The only thing truly missing from the place is the feeling that you’re dining in an upscale steakhouse. That applies when the bill arrives, too.
Le Moo's name sounds perilously close to something that would suggest a too cute for its own good froyo joint or something. Thankfully, that is not the case. That's not to suggest that they're afraid of a little whimsy -- the croissant-wrapped wagyu hot dogs with blue cheese and bacon jam are proof of that. But they're serious about their steaks -- you don't get into the business of selling A-5 wagyu (a 10-ounce portion runs over $200) if you aren't. At the other end of of the cost spectrum, there's also daily brunch with $1 mimosas. So yeah, they're serious about fantastic steak -- but not too much else!
Maple & Ash most assuredly does not shy away from fun -- its version of having the chef take care of you and gradually send you out course after course is called the "I Don’t Give a F*@K." But clearly, and most importantly, it gives a f*@k, as evidenced by next-level seafood towers that are fire-roasted on the hearth, perfectly prepared dry-aged steaks with "arm candy" like blue cheese fondue, and an expertly appointed wine selection. For something particularly epic, try the Eisenhower, a 40+-ounce beast that represents a nod to the former president's love of charring huge steaks directly over the coals.
Murray’s has been making some of the Midwest’s best steaks since 1946, among them a monstrous porterhouse and a 24-ounce tenderloin that gets carved up before your eyes. But you’re not getting those things. You’re getting the legendary Butter Knife Steak, a massive 28-ounce, 30-day-aged sirloin trimmed up by legendary house butcher Boyd “Been Here For 40 Years” Freeman and cooked with such tender, delicate precision that it can literally be carved with a butter knife. Don’t worry. They’ll prove that tableside before you let every bite virtually melt in your mouth.
While it has managed to open satellite locations in Philly in DC in the subsequent years since its 1965 opening, The Prime Rib remains quintessentially Baltimore, with tuxedoed waiters and live piano in the background that have made it a Charm City must since back in the days when dinner conversation consisted of stuff like "boy howdy, that Brooks Robinson is a crackerjack fielder" (probably). Of course all the tuxedos in the world don't matter if you aren't bringing it with the beef. For proof of that, just ask your well-appointed waiter for the name of the restaurant. Think about it for a second. It'll make sense.
We’ve often waxed poetic about St. Elmo’s most iconic dish, perhaps the best shrimp cocktail in the universe. But Indiana’s most famous restaurant and best steakhouse (open since 1902!) isn’t about to let the surf outshine the turf. This is picture of an old-school steakhouse, an icon where business deals and anniversaries have gone down side-by-side under the shared love of broiled cowboy rib-eye and bone-in, 28-ounce prime ribs that become the gristle of memories for a lifetime. Oh, and you should probably get that shrimp cocktail on the side. And maybe a Rob Lowe or two.
San Diego, California
Look, we’re not usually on board for excess (editor’s note: bullshit!), but when the chef at San Diego’s elegantly extravagant, pricy Stake decided to sandwich a hunk of rare filet between a seared piece of foie gras and a brioche crouton, we were ready to just hand him our money sight unseen. It’s not all overindulgent -- though the wagyu rib-eye with king crab is also nice -- here, and you can certainly go lighter. Regardless, once you pick your cut, you get to choose your knife from a box presented by a server, which sounds a little like Hostel, but ends up being a lot more like the best meal you’ve had all year. Just... don’t do it too often.
Kansas City, Missouri
It takes something special to make Kansas City residents take notice of your steak game. Fortunately Stock Hill proved to be special almost immediately when it opened last year. Innovative appetizers like lobster gratin with BBQ-ranch pork rinds and pickled cherry peppers give way to a selection of steaks both wet- and dry-aged that offer some next-level customization options like wasabi chimichurri, porcini rub, and a house signature blend of blue cheese, bacon and walnuts. Whatever your style, it'll start on a wood-burning grill and finish in a 1,500-degree broiler and come to you (if you're wise) with a side of their Robuchon whipped potatoes.
Los Angeles, California
Taylor’s is an LA classic -- an Old Hollywood hang that you could literally drive by 1,000 times without ever stopping in. Once you do, though, you’ll feel like you stepped back in time: the booths are dark and red, the bar’s pours are heavy, and the steaks are perfectly cooked (and, added bonus, not super-expensive.) Go with the 10-ounce culotte with crispy onions and forever realize that the steak you’ve been craving has been hiding in plain sight amid the KBBQ mainstays all along.