El Guacho (Portland, OR)
About the steakhouse: Seattle’s original El Gaucho was part speak-easy and part Hunt’s breakfast club. That was 1953 and it was run by Jim Ward. By 1985 that era had come to end. Paul Mackay wasn’t satisfied with that so he reopened El Gaucho in 1996 with a simple truth: Guest first mentality, genuine, passionate, hospitable, caring, supportive and engaged. Mackay wanted it to be more romantic. The restaurant would go on to become a Seattle institution. (from site)
The recommended steak: Chateaubriand for two
The tasting: Holy Crap. My friend Glenn and I shared the chateaubriand, and although there's no way I could have finished it myself, I would have tried my best if I had the opportunity. As of right now, this is the best steak I've ever eaten, bar none. Then again, it's an unfair advantage. A chateaubriand is supposed to be that. I've just never tasted anything so effortless, juicy, buttery and just damn plain delicious. Poor Portland restaurants. If it's up to me, I'll never go anywhere else. Glenn almost near fainted with joy over this steak. If I weren't surrounded by clients, I would have done the same.
The sides: The twice baked potato was the second best twice baked potato I've ever eaten. The best belongs to my wife, and that's not nepotism talking. She cooks the hell out of it. But this potato is very close.
The wine: 2005 Methven Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley. This was recommended by the bartender, and I completely dug it. It has a very strong hint of caramel (which I'm a sucker for), and went down as easy as the steak. I bought two bottles of it at PDX to bring back to San Francisco with me. Yeah, it's that good.
The final verdict: 97 out of 100
Boboquivari's (San Francisco, CA)
About the steakhouse: In preparation for the owners' venture, they tasted every well-regarded steak from New York to California. They discovered that there were no restaurants on the West Coast that offered steak dry-aged for more than twenty-one days. Believing that the extra time and attention creates a steak that is truly superior, they formed a partnership with one of the few meat purveyors whose facilities and quality control offer a steak dry-aged four to six weeks. Today, "the steak" on Bobo’s menu is the only steak of its kind on the west coast. (from site)
The recommended steak: Filet Mignon Bone-In
The tasting: I'll never say that a steak is perfect, or that anything in life is perfect, but this steak comes damn close. As effortless to cut as it is to chew, and as buttery going down as it was on the first taste, this steak is everything you'd dream a piece of meat would be. If you live in San Francisco and haven't had this steak, shame on you.
The sides: My buddy Cecil ordered the mussels because he's a mussels guy, and he really dig them. For me, I liked them, but they're not my thing. The swiss chard was good but not great, and the zucchini fritti was nice. Honestly, you don't come here for the sides.
The wine: 2005 Flowers Pinot Noir from Monterey. Smooth and thick, fruity and clean. A perfect complement to a near perfect steak.
The final verdict: 93 out of 100
Roast (Detroit, MI)
About the steakhouse: "
The recommended steak: Chargrilled hangar steak
The tasting: This was a great steak. Juicy, meaty and creatively rich with every bite. Not the best steak I've ever had, but it's in contention. I never had a hangar steak before, and I will, especially the next time I'm in Detroit.
The sides: This was epic. At a table of six, we had much to choose from. The spinach and feta au grautin was the best I'd ever had, along with the soft polenta. I never had roasted bone marrow before either, and it was tremendous. And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the stunning Guinness ice cream for dessert.
The wine: I bet it was something good.
The final verdict: 92 out of 100
The Ringside (Portland, OR)
About the steakhouse: Since 1944, six and one half decades have passed with 65 years of same family ownership....The menu offers a variety of USDA prime beef choices that are aged a minimum of four weeks. Steaks are hand cut on the premises. Both RingSide Steakhouses have placed significant awards and honors on their walls. (from site)
The recommended steak: The Bone-In Filet Mignon
The tasting: Amazing. Truly absolutely amazing. Each bite was rich with butter, pepper and juices that completely mesmerized me. This steakhouse was unanimously recommended, and it lived up to my highest expectations.
The sides: An absolutely delicious garlic and brie combo that was just warm enough and just tame enough. Great. And the garlic mashed potatoes was smoooooth.
The wine: A 2007 Janus Pinot Noir from the Willamette was a perfect choice to a near perfect steak. It was extremely smooth with a raspberry flavor. Highly recommended.
The final verdict: 91 out of 100
Keens Steak House (New York, NY)
About the steakhouse: Keens Steakhouse owns the largest collection of churchwarden pipes in the world. The tradition of checking one’s pipe at the inn had its origins in 17th century Merrie Old England where travelers kept their clay at their favorite inn – the thin stemmed pipe being too fragile to be carried in purse or saddlebag. In 1885 Keens Chophouse opened independently under the ownership of Albert Keen, by then a noted figure in the Herald Square Theatre District. Keens soon became the lively and accepted rendezvous of the famous. Actors in full stage make-up hurried through the rear door to “fortify” themselves between acts at the neighboring Garrick Theatre. By the time Keens celebrated its 20th anniversary, you could glance into the Pipe Room and see the jovial congregations of producers, playwrights, publishers and newspaper men who frequented Keens. (from site)
The tasting: Damn good steak. It's dry-aged and prime, which makes it buttery and delicious. Each manly bite worked for me. Then again, maybe I'm just saying that becuase I'm surrounded by ancient pipes in a place that feels like it just allowed women to eat here just 10 years ago. Still, damn good.
The sides: Loved the oysters. Loved the crabcakes. Neither was the best ever, but I also can't complain at all.
The wine: I was headed to a Rangers game, so it was probably an iice cold beer.
The final verdict: 88 out of 100.
SW Steakhouse (Las Vegas, NV)
About the steakhouse: Star chef David Walzog redefines all of the steakhouse classics with a deft touch at SW Steakhouse. His innovative menu offers a wide variety of charred, prime-aged steaks and chops, as well as poultry and seafood specialties. An expansive wall of glass windows opens onto an outdoor dining patio overlooking the Lake of Dreams. This restaurant is found inside the Wynn Hotel. (from site)
The recommended steak: Filet Mignon
The tasting: Thick, rich and delicious. Each bite revealed a consistency of flavors. As a piece of meat, it was damn near perfect. Here's the only downside: it didn't really feel like I was sitting inside a steakhouse. The laserlight show on "The Lake of Dreams" was distracting. I just feel that steakhouses add a flavor just from the experience of eating there. This is a restaurant below a casino, so it's slightly different. This isn't the steak's fault. It's just perception.
The sides: The Chilled Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail was a tower of seafood goodness. With a large table, it was a knife fight to see who would get the extra shrimps, but it was a battle worth having. The creamed corn was excellent, as was the parmesan creamed spinach and the steamed green asparagus. A truly impeccable meal.
The wine: Don't remember. We had too many bottles going around to figure out what was what.
The final verdict: 87 out of 100
The Wilshire Restaurant (Santa Monica, CA)About the restaurant: At Wilshire, their menu is developed around local, organic, and seasonal ingredients, taking advantage of Los Angeles' uniquely rich and diverse farmers markets. Dishes are originated from a fusion of American and International influences and are presented in a simple and accessible style.
The recommended steak: The 16 ounce Bone-in Ribeye
The tasting: Man, oh man. To be honest, I really wanted to have the truffle half-chicken, but the waiter informed us that everyone in Los Angeles orders this steak, so how could I resist? I normally don't have the ribeye, but this was fantastic. Very rich and flavorful, soft to the bite and just a wonderful experience. I didn't leave anything on the bone. And I didn't regret my choice.
The sides: A really nice addition to the ribeye was the stir-fried mushrooms asian style. Again, huge bursts of flavor that were unexpected and wonderful, really. The fries were fantastic too.
The wine: The 2007 JL Bonaccorsi Syrah was a nice complement to the steak, but not exactly memorable.
The final verdict: 86 out of 100
House of Prime Rib (San Francisco, CA)
About the steakhouse: A San Francisco institution for more than 40 years, House of Prime Rib serves a consistently flavorful and juicy prime rib using an old English recipe that includes blanketing the carefully aged roast beef in rock salt and secret seasonings. Shortly after being roasted to order, the beef is sliced tableside into one of four cuts:the City Cut, for lighter appetites; the hearty House of Prime Rib Cut: The thin English slice; and the extra thick King Henry VIII Cut. (paraphrased from cityinsights.com)
The recommended steak: Roast Prime Rib
The tasting: I was given no choice. I had the prime rib. I love that they carved it in front of me, to my specifications, from a unique stainless steel serving carts. Each bite was rich, juicy and delicious. A seriously great meal.
The sides: None.
The wine: It was a bachelor party, and we just had beer.
The final verdict: 83 out of 100
John Howie Steakhouse (Bellevue, WA)
About the steakhouse: Chef/restaurateur John Howie has opened the definitive NW steak house, serving custom-aged USDA Prime steak, American Style Kobe and Japanese Waygu beef, as well as fresh seasonal fish, seafood and chops. John Howie Steak features mesquite coal and applewood grills to bring out the best flavors. The wine list features over 60 wines by the glass and more than 600 bottle selections. Enjoy classic and seasonal cocktails, or the world’s finest single-malt scotch and fine cognacs in the piano lounge. Two beautifully appointed private dining rooms are available for meetings or special occasions. (from thebravern.com)
The recommended steak: Australian Wagyu and the Bone-In Filet.
The tasting: Delicious. They had a deal where I was able to have a small sample of both the Wagyu and the Filet, and it left me wanting more - but in a good way. They bring out this tower of salt for you to add to your steaks. Usually, I'm a little leery of something like that, as if the steak isn't good enough, but it really elevated the meal with different accents.
The sides: Tempura Fried Kurobuta Bacon with maple sambal ponzu sauce. You read that right. And it's exactly how it tasted. Wow.
The wine: I wasn't drinking at this time, so I passed on the wine. The list was extensive, so I'm now regretting that decision.
The final verdict: 82 out of 100.
District Chophouse and Brewery (Washington, DC)
About the steakhouse: Once you’ve been here, you’ll agree that “D.C.” stands for District ChopHouse. An intimate classic American gathering place, The District ChopHouse & Brewery prides itself in serving some of the City's finest handcrafted beers and dining fare. Succulent steaks, mouthwatering chops, tasty seafood, oversized salads and brick-oven pizzas are enough to fill anyone’s order. (from site)
The recommended steak: Classic Surf and Turf (Filet Mignon accompanied by a 9-ounce Maine lobster tail)
The tasting: Damn good steak, especially when paired with the lobster. Rich yet full, effortless and delicious, it's a steak that I'd look forward to eating again if I ever were back in the nation's capitol. The best part about the dinner, however, was how one of my dinner compatriots ate the lobster tail using his bare hands. I'd never seen that before and it made me laugh my ass off.
The sides: We didn't have any mostly because there was a 50/50 chance that we were to meet someone afterwards for a quick bite. It wound up not happening, which is a bummer, considering how good the surf and turf was.
The wine: Five Rivers Pinot Noit from the Central Coast. We didn't really notice it, but truth be told, we were drinking heavily before we ate, so it could have been good. Or not.
The final verdict: 79 out of 100
Rathbun’s Restaurant (Atlanta, GA)
About the steakhouse: After thirty years in the restaurant business working and learning from others, in 2004, Kevin Rathbun opened his namesake restaurant, Rathbun's, then Krog Bar (2005), and then Kevin Rathbun Steak (2007). Kevin incorporated his take on Modern American Cuisine with a menu that expands to over fifty menu items along with specials every night. His insight to what his guests desire have turned most of the menu items into staples. His features of raw "crudo" plates were one of the first to be seen in Atlanta, and his listing of "small plates" expands to over fifteen items. (from site)
The recommended steak: Bone-In Cowboy Ribeye
The tasting: Eh. I don't think I'm gonna be ordering Cowboys anymore. It's always too chewy and I need to send it back. That being said, once I did, it tasted delicious. But I don't want that experience anymore.
The sides: The absolutely best caprese I'll ever eat in my life. In fact, my grade for this restaurant is lifted mostly from this dish. Our waiter told us that the tomatoes were grown locally. If so, look out peaches. You've got competition. Amazing.
The wine: I don't remember, which by definition, didn't make it memorable.
The final verdict: 79 out of 100.
Espetus Churrascaria Brazilian Steak House (San Francisco, CA)
About the steakhouse: The flavors of Brazil come alive at Espetus Churrascaria with Bay Area's very first Rodizio style restaurant - where several different cuts of succulent, premium-quality beef, lamb, chicken, pork and seafood are slowly roasted on open flame and served tableside by Brazilian Gaucho Chefs. Operating under a simple yet unique service concept of Rodizio (espeto corrido = continuous service), Espetus Churrascaria presents 14 signature cuts of meat on large skewers served straight from the fire on which they were cooked so that the flavor, temperature, and texture are perfect.
The recommended steak: They kept on bringing different cuts to me.
The tasting: Where do I begin? Well, after the salad buffet, the waiters kept bringing spits of meat to the table for us to eat using their knife and our tongs. Fun. Of course, I had one of everything, and these were the ones that truly were excellent: The filet, the pork loin, the bacon wrapped chicken breast and and the garlic sirloin steak. The rest were just okay, and the chicken hearts was weird.
The sides: The salad was okay. Buffets remind me of Sizzler.
The wine: I had a Malbec that was a nice complement to the endless steaks coming my way. It never stood out, and considering the endless different tastes in my mouth, I think not standing out is actually an admirable thing.
The final verdict: 77 out of 100
Moishe's Steakhouse (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)
About the steakhouse: Moishes Steakhouse is one of the oldest and most respected restaurants in Montreal. Founded in 1938 by Moishe Lighter, it was initially called "Romanian Paradise." Legend has it that Lighter, an immigrant from Romania to Canada, became the owner of the restaurant in a card game. The restaurant's name was changed to "Moishes" at the outset of World War II. The restaurant remains a fixture of Montreal and "The Main" neighborhood of Montreal today. The Main and its residents are prominent in Montreal literature and culture, as most famously represented in the writing of Montreal's Mordecai Richler. (Richler himself was a long-time Moishes client, and the restaurant features prominently in much of his work.) The restaurant has been in its location at 3961 Saint-Laurent Boulevard since its founding. Its menu was based on traditional Old World recipes, and it catered to the mainly Central European immigrant residents of The Main neighbourhood. The influence of Romanian cuisine has had a significant shaping influence on the culinary culture of Montreal, producing, among other staples, the bagels and smoked meat for which the city is known.
The recommended steak: Filet Mignon
The tasting: I ordered the filet mignon medium, mostly because I was told about how thick the steak is. It was very easy to eat, but wasn't all that flavorful. Don't get me wrong; it was good. But there just wasn't anything special about it. If I go back to Montreal and had to eat a steak, I'd return here with a smile if others wanted to go. But it didn't blow me away.
The sides: The double-stuffed mashed potato was really good. I was actually kinda bummed when I finished it. Really soft and with just the right amount of cheesiness to keep me wanting more. I didn't enjoy this more than my steak, but it was close.
The wine: The 2008 Chateau Lousteanuneuf from Medoc was beyond exceptional. Extremely smooth with an very silky aftertaste, it was easily the best item I consumed the entire night - and maybe this year. Big fan.
The final verdict: 74 out of 100.
Lark Creek Steak (San Francisco, CA)
About the steakhouse: LarkCreekSteak opened on September 28, 2006 ushering in an innovative, lighter and unique twist to the American steakhouse, unveiling itself as a boutique approach to presenting timeless steakhouse classics blended seamlessly with clean, modern design and fresh iterations of old favorites. The result is a dining experience in which artisanally-grown, farm-fresh fare shares center stage with the finest USDA prime beef guests expect at a premier steakhouse. (from site)
The recommended steak: 28 day dry-aged bone-in ribeye steak – 16oz
The tasting: I'm gonna cheat here. We went here because Esquire Magazine named this as one of the top 20 steaks in the country. Granted, most of these accolades are purchased, but still, it is Esquire. And the steak was just okay, nothing special, and not worth the high praise. However...
The sides: Someone at my table ordered the Perigord Black Truffle 8oz steakburger, and she shared it. And it was easily the best burger I have ever eaten in my life.
The wine: The 2007 Acacia Pinot Noir is a perfectly acceptable glass of wine.
The final verdict: 73 out of 100, as an underwhelming steak meets a world-class burger.
Epic Roasthouse (San Francisco, CA)
About the steakhouse: The newest addition to San Francisco's waterfront at 369 Embarcadero near Folsom. Epic Roasthouse is a restaurant "Beyond the Traditional Steak House", offering a unique combination of the traditional and the contemporary. Chef Jan Birnbaum has broadened the steak house experience to include a new level of culinary sophistication while maintaining the classic comfort and elegance of a traditional steak house meal. The food is deep, soulful, and resonant with exciting sparks of contrast. (from site)
The recommended steak: New York Strip 20oz
The tasting: It was a perfectly acceptable steak. I liked it. It wasn't otherworldly, and it didn't leave me wanting more, but compared to other steaks I've had, it was pretty good.
The sides: I never had roasted marrow bones before. Tonight, I did. And I liked it. I was told by the person who ordered it that it was fantastic. Also, one note: This restaurant is a hot ticket thanks to its location on the Embarcadero and its stunning view of the Bay Bridge. That didn't disappoint.
The wine: Don't remember.
The final verdict: 72 out of 100
The Daily Grill (San Francisco, CA)
About the steakhouse: The Grill on the Alley in Beverly Hills (later called The Daily Grill) was modeled after the great big city grills of yesteryear; the three founders sought to maintain the tradition of those fine, old establishments by offering first-rate fare, attentive service, and a familiar, clubby atmosphere.
The recommended steak: 16 ounce Prime Rib
The tasting: This was a very solid slice of meat - very juicy with just enough fat. For the Friday/Saturday special price ($29.99), it's a helluva deal. And their horseradish added a very nice bite to it. Overall, a truly nice meal that was rather unexpected, honestly.
The sides: The Classic Ceaser Salad was both classic and caesar.
The wine: I drank a 2009 glass of Mark West pinot noir. There's nothing to ever complain about that winery.
The final verdict: 71 out of 100.
Dan Tana's (West Hollywood, CA)
About the steakhouse: Celebrating its 40th anniversary in October 2004, Dan Tana’s deserves its longevity. Its superb food, every morsel prepared to order, and its super sized drinks are created and served with loving care by Tana’s longtime personnel. The bar and restaurant always are fully packed with customers rubbing elbows with Hollywood elite. Still every customer, celebrity or not, is equally important to Tana and his staff. No special preferences are shown, except to offer exceptional service and mouth watering culinary delights. (from site)
The recommended steak: 16 oz. New York Steak (aka "The Dabney Coleman"). Supposedly, the steak was named after the "9 to 5" star after he ate it three times a week for twenty years. The other odd thing about that is that, for ten of those years, he shared a table with Harry Dean Stanton and Evel Knievel. And they all ate the Dabney.
The tasting: I've had this steak before, and it's been much better. But on this tasting, it was rather tough and somewhat bland. And, to be honest, I forced myself to finish it rather than just enjoying it. But let's be honest here: It's still a great steak. My previous history holds it to higher standards.
The sides: The Calamari Fritti was nice, but to be honest, calamari fritti is usually just that. It takes an amazing calamari to be worth writing about. This calamari wasn't up to that standard.
The wine: It was a Malbec, that much I remember.
The final verdict: 70 out of 100, although I was tempted to knock this down to the 50s considering that Joe Francis and two sluts with low-self esteem were sitting near us. However, the unintentional comedy they provided knocked it right back up to 70.
Boa’s Steak House (Santa Monica, CA)
About the steakhouse: Boa is an upscale steakhouse located steps away from the Santa Monica Pier, 3rd Street Promenade and the beach. Their menu includes traditional cuts prepared with signature sauces, as well as an expanded selection of seafood and wines by the glass. Boa Steakhouse transforms the conventional steakhouse concept from a stodgy culinary antique to a dynamic expression of traditional and contemporary American cuisine. Unlike its original location in
The recommended steak: 40 Day Dry Aged New York Strip
The tasting: You know from your first bite that this steak should be special, but it wasn't. I mean, it did its job, it was fine, but this is Boa. I expected more. Maybe it was an off night. So, relatively speaking, the steak was as disappointingly mediocre as our waitress was stunningly gorgeous. Seriously. She brought it.
The sides: I had a Kobe Beef Corn Dog, and that rocked.
The wine: Pretty sure I had a Sierra Nevada.
The final verdict: 70 out of 100
Izzy’s Steaks and Chops (San Francisco, CA)
About the steakhouse: Over the years, a bar owned by a man named Izzy became a must stop in the San Francisco club-crawling circuit in North Beach. As is the case with many generous people, Izzy never really made much money, but he made thousands of friends. He was beloved by everyone and known far and wide as San Francisco’s most legendary saloonkeeper and in 1943, he was recognized by
The recommended steak: Filet Mignon Medallions Au Poivre
The tasting: Pretty good. I've never eaten here and been disappointed. But since I discovered Bobquivari's, I can't say I've been back here. It's a very good steak, especially au poivre.
The sides: The creamed spinach is always very solid. There's nothing special done to it, and that's okay. It's a dish that lives on its own for me.
The wine: The best wine I ever ate here was priced in the thousands. We had to fill up my boss' black AmEx card so he didn't lose it, and we went to town. It was fantastic. One day, I'll figure out what it was. I think it was $2500.
The final verdict: 69 out of 100.
Spencer's (Salt Lake City, UT)
About the steakhouse: Aged, hand cut and seared to perfection. Spencer's for Steaks and Chops of Salt Lake City is the ultimate steakhouse restaurant. Featuring USDA prime beef from Stockyards Beef of Chicago, Spencer’s restaurant offers sizzling hot porterhouses, juicy filet mignons and the bone-in ribeye for which Spencer’s is named. If you prefer the sea to the plains, try the fresh seafood such as seared rare Ahi Tuna, alder planked salmon, parmesan encrusted Alaskan Halibut or cold-water Australian lobster. (from site)
The recommended steak: 14 oz. Spencer Steak
The tasting: A well-made steak from beginning to end. It's not the best steak ever, but I left the restaurant completely satisfied with what just happened, and would recommend it to anyone who happened upon the bad luck of being in Salt Lake City. There's just nothing special about it - not that that's a bad thing. It's a well-made simple steak.
The sides: Easily the best hash browns I'd ever had, mostly because they were made au grautin. It's a seriously delicious side dish, and something I know that will be on my own cooking radar from here on out.
The wine: I think I had beer.
The final verdict: 68 out of 100
Outback Steakhouse (Brick, NJ)
About the steakhouse:
The recommended steak: The Outback Special
The tasting: This was the steak that made me fall in love with steaks. And, to be fair, it's always a solid steak. I know it's a chain, but does that make it terrible? No. Doesn;t make it great either.
The sides: The Bloomin' Onion is the second least healthiest side in any restaurant nationwide. What's #1? Aussie Cheese Fries. And I say so what? They're both frickin' delicious.
The wine: I usually drink a glass boot full of beer.
The final verdict: 65 out of 100.
Alfred’s Steak House (San Francisco, CA)
About the steakhouse: Alfredo Bacchini, a well-liked waiter in San Francisco, decided to open a storefront restaurant at 886 Broadway Street in 1928. Alfred's was soon serving the who's who of the city. During the bleak days of prohibition, the restaurant was closed down for a brief, very brief, time - politicians still wanted a good drink and a great steak. In 1973, Art Petri and his son, Al, purchased the restaurant. They worked diligently to bring the restaurant into the 21st century without compromising the traditional qualities that have made Alfred's such a respected restaurant. Originally, Alfred's steaks came from beef fattened on sugar beet pulp from Manteca and grain-fed beef from Idaho. In the 50s, Alfred's changed to golden corn-fed beef. Today, Alfred's uses exclusively corn-fed beef with just the right amount of marbling to insure good flavor and juiciness without a fatty aftertaste. The beef is brought in as primal cuts: short loins, ribs, tenderloins, and boneless New Yorks. These cuts are aged up to four weeks to guarantee tenderness. The final touch is cooking these wonderful steaks over Mexican mesquite charcoal, the iron wood of the West, to mouthwatering perfection. (from site)
The recommended steak: Alfred’s Steak Bone-in New York cut, aged 28 days, 20oz
The tasting: When you order a steak named after the place that serves it, you should expect something special. And maybe that steak was special when the place opened up in 1928. Today, for me, not so much.
The sides: The Monterey Calamari Fritti was truly fantastic. Absolutely delicious.
The wine: At an old steak house, we went with an old reliable wine choice - a 2007 La Crema Pinot Noir. And it performed as deliciously and complementary as expected.
The final verdict: 61 out of 100
Ruth’s Chris Steak House (Bellevue, WA)
About the steakhouse: The chain was founded by the late Ruth Fertel, a single mother of two, in 1965, after she bought the existing Chris Steak House in New Orleans. In buying the restaurant, Fertel had to agree that the restaurant keep the "Chris" name for a specified period of time...The restaurant's signature is serving USDA prime steaks that are seared at 1800°Fahrenheit (982.2 °C) and served on plates heated to 500° Fahrenheit (260 °C). Half an ounce of butter is added just before the plates leave the kitchen in order to cause the meat to sizzle. (from wikipedia)
The recommended steak: Bone-In Filet special
The tasting: The Bone-In Filet is my favorite steak, and I expect great things from the restaurants that serve it. This steak wasn't dry-aged, and it only had a buttery taste because it was slathered with butter. It wasn't worth the money they charged for it. I was disappointed by it.
The sides: The calamari was okay. And the bread was blah. The creamed spinach, however, was delivious.
The wine: I ordered a reliable Mark West Pinot Noir that was peppery with hints of raspberry. Nice.
The final verdict: 60 out of 100
Fleming's (Birmingham, AL)
The recommended steak: Petite Filet Mignon
The tasting: You ever eat a steak that was enjoyable when you chewed it but not memorable two minutes after you were done? That was this steak. Doesn't make it a bad steak. In fact, I dug it. It just didn't stick with me.
The sides: The Chipotle Macaroni and Cheese was recommended and I really liked the added spice to it. That was memorable.
The wine: You can never go wrong with a Mark West Pinot Noir.
The final verdict: 59 out of 100
Sullivan’s Steakhouse (Indianapolis, IN)
About the steakhouse: Sullivan's Steakhouse is a 1940's Chicago-style steakhouse offering the finest certified angus beef, select seafood, veal, pork, lamb and chicken entrees, appetizers, soups, salads and side dishes (including Sullivan's renowned horseradish mashed potatoes). Sullivan's House Specialty is the 20oz Bone-in
The recommended steak: Bone-In Kansas City Strip
The tasting: This was an okay steak. I know, this is a chain and chains suck, but still, their chain steaks aren't terrible. It was tasty, although quite chewy. I'm not the biggest fan of chewing. Perhaps I should have picked a different steak.
The sides: We ordered Florida Stone Crab Claws, which is weird, considering that we're in Indianapolis and you can't really have something that was caught in Florida be called fresh. And it was disappointing, but possibly becuase they billed it as fresh and we weren't thinking.
The wine: We ordered a Coppola Diamond Series, which is a soild Pinot Noir.
The final verdict: 58 out of 100
Elm Park Inn (Staten Island, NY)
About the steakhouse: I found nothing on the web that I can copy and paste. So here's what I remember about a local favorite: It's been around forever. The portions are generous. And I'd only been there a handful of times.
The recommended steak: Prime Rib
The tasting: It was okay. I know everyone back in my hometown swears by it, and I agree, it's good. But try different steaks around the world, and this one will find its proper place.
The sides: None.
The wine: Beer.
The final verdict: 56 out of 100.
St. Elmo's Steak House (Indianapolis, IN)
About the steakhouse: St. Elmo Steak House has been a landmark in downtown Indianapolis since 1902. It is the oldest Indianapolis steakhouse in its original location, and has earned a national reputation for its excellent steaks, seafood, chops and professional service. (from site)
The recommended steak: Bone-In Cowboy Ribeye
The tasting: I ordered the bone-in cowboy ribeye medium rare, which my server told me will be red in the middle, but the preferred way to cook it. My first couple of bites were extremely chewy - so much so that I couldn't swallow a piece. A couple of slices in, and the steak became even more rare. My friend Jimmy had the same problem with his bone-in KC strip. We had our steaks brought back to be recooked, and received two new steaks, now cooked rare (but were now really cooked medium-rare). The new steak was pretty good, but nothing really to remember. Which is why I'm keeping this blog.
The sides: The sauteed mushrooms were more mushrooms than sauteed. The mashed potatoes were very good with some remnants of the skin within the mix. However, the best item I ate were the creamed spinach, which had more than it's share of parmesan cheese in it that gave the dish an element that raised its ante.
The wine: 2005 DeLoatch Pinot Noir from the Russian River valley had a strong hint of pepper in it. Although I wouldn't drink this wine alone, it actually complemented my steak very well.
The final verdict: 52 out of 100.
Chez Jay's (Santa Monica, CA)
About the steakhouse: Chez Jay is known for many things, but probably the two most prominent features are its friendly atmosphere and service, and its good food. Anyone and everyone is made to feel welcome for dining or those just in for a cocktail or glass of wine. Classic seafood, steaks and chops are served with recipes that rekindle fond memories of just great food. And, don't forget the bar --- classic cocktails, an excellent wine list and your favorite beer on tap. And, the peanuts served are famous --- they will tell you, a Chez Jay peanut even made it to the moon, but for this story, you need to visit first hand. (from site)
The recommended steak: Eastern Cut Coulette Steak
The tasting: It was kinda chewy and, well, thoroughly unremarkable. I can't remember the other steaks I've eaten here, but I know I enjoyed them more. This one, not so much. In fact, I didn't finish it, and was glad I accidentally spilled my beer on the plate. It was a nice excuse out to save my manhood.
The sides: The Sautèed Mushroom Bottoms were really quite good. Nice and buttery, just how I like 'em.
The wine: Nope, I had beer.
The final verdict: 49 out of 100
Highland Tap (Atlanta, GA)
About the steakhouse: Located in the heart of Virginia-Highland, Highland Tap has been the only steakhouse in this historic neighborhood since 1989. What began as a popular gathering place for neighbors, the Tap has become a destination restaurant for travelers and local diners as well.The stone walls and below street level location give the bar a 1920's speakeasy ambiance, perfectly paired with martinis. Our smoke free dining room is cozy and romantic for couples or larger groups. Smoking is allowed in the bar area. (from site)
The recommended steak: Filet Mignon Bone-In
The tasting: When I lived here, this was a place I always wanted to eat but couldn't afford. Now that I can afford it on an expense account, I did. And I, honestly, was underwhelmed. Just not a great steak worthy of the anticipation.
The sides: Both the shrimp cocktail and the creamed spinach were okay, but at a steakhouse, okay should be the minimum.
The wine: 2007 La Crema Pinot Noir from Russian RIver. Always a solid wine.
The final verdict: 49 out of 100.
John’s Grill (San Francisco, CA)
About the steakhouse: John’s Grill opened in 1908. It was featured by detective author Dashiell Hammett in his famed 1930 novel “The Maltese Falcon,” after Hammett ate at the restaurant while writing the book, which was later made into a movie starring Humphrey Bogart. The restaurant is on Ellis Street between Powell and Stockton streets. (from sfexaminer.com)
The recommended steak: John's Steak, a thick, bone-in New York.
The tasting: This restaurant has been around since 1908, and is known for housing the Maltese Falcon. It smells, looks and feels like a classic steakhouse. John's Steak, which should represent all that, did not. It was just an average piece of meat.
The sides: The Main Lobster Ravioli was actually quite nice, but not spectacular.
The wine: We had a peppery 2007 Carneros Creek Pinot Noir that really nicely complemented the dinner.
The final verdict: 47 out of 100
Dylan Prime (New York, NY)
About the steakhouse: If you want to watch a video detailing the history of Dylan Prime, go ahead. I didn't.
The recommended steak: 11 oz. Filet Mignon
The tasting: Really disappointing. I ate here years ago, when my steak pallete was not as refined, and I dug the steak. Then again, it was really just competing against Outback Steakhouse, so I dug the steak on the font on the menu alone. Now that I'm more worldly in the meat arts, I can now say that this steak doesn't match its reputation as one of New York's finest. Nobody at my table thought it was any better than ordinary. That's all I really have to say about that.
The sides: The Caesar Salad was delicious. But then again, it's just a salad, and a salad does not turn a meal into one to remember.
The wine: Terrazas Malbec from Argentina was very nice. Went down smooth and was probably the highlight of the dinner. Although sometimes the wines are very strong, on a blog about steaks, that's a sign of danger.
The final verdict: 42 out of 100