BEEF IT UP
While most of the nation's best steakhouses will put a sizable dent in your wallet — easily $100 per plate, with apps, sides, and beverages — the service, food, and ambience at an iconic eatery can help justify the splurge for diners. Whether you have a special occasion to celebrate or just want to savor a top-notch tenderloin, here are 25 steakhouses across the U.S. that should leave you satisfied.
ST. ELMO | INDIANAPOLIS
Open since 1902, the wood-paneled St. Elmo has more than history on its side — it's also a James Beard American Classics award winner. While reviewers give the steaks high praise, they also say you can't go wrong with another St. Elmo mainstay: the shrimp cocktail.
KEENS | NEW YORK
Whether you're looking to spend on the enormous, flavorful mutton chops ($60) or second-to-none scotch selection, Keens is ready to accommodate. Opened in 1885, this steakhouse has history in spades and claims Teddy Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, Will Rogers, and Albert Einstein among its past patrons.
SW | LAS VEGAS
In a city crowded with good steakhouses, SW is a standout for food and atmosphere. Reviewers recommend black truffle creamed corn as a side. Diners get to enjoy a show on the neighboring Lake of Dreams, complete with choreographed lights, holographs, and even puppetry.
CUT | BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA
Wolfgang Puck's CUT is a splurge even for the well-heeled ($140 for a tasting of New York sirloin), but reviewers say it puts a modern spin on steakhouses that makes it more than worth the money. Forbes notes that you'll have a diverse menu to choose from, including Australian, American, and Japanese beef. The sleek atmosphere is a marked change from the booths and paneling in most steakhouses.
CATTLEMEN'S | OKLAHOMA CITY
An unassuming landmark in OKC's historic Stockyard City, Cattlemen's has been around since 1910, and it won't require fancy dress — just come as you are (Western wear is especially welcome). Reviewers are nearly unanimous when they say the steak is good, but you have to get some lamb fries, too.
BERN'S | TAMPA, FLORIDA
The massive menu at Bern's includes 20 types of caviar, and the steakhouse even devotes an entire room to dessert — there, you'll be able to pick from 50 menu choices and 1,000 after-dinner drinks. The steak choices are plentiful, too: There are seven cuts and a dizzying array of thicknesses, preparations, and sauces.
PAPPAS BROS. | HOUSTON
The Food Network has declared the 32-ounce New York strip at Pappas Bros., served bone-in and carved tableside, one of the nation's five best steaks. But reviewers say it's hard to miss with any of this restaurant's cuts, which are dry aged in house for at least 28 days.
GIBSON'S BAR & STEAKHOUSE | CHICAGO
In the crowded Chicago steakhouse scene, Food & Wine singles out Gibson's for its locally sourced cuts, aged for 40 days. The restaurant says it's also the first group in the country with its very own USDA Prime certification. Diners also recommend the double-baked potato.
MANNY'S | MINNEAPOLIS
Zagat calls Manny's "a steak man's steakhouse," and indeed it has snagged a spot on Men's Journal's list of the world's 10 best steakhouses. Try the 50-ounce "Bludgeon of Beef" ($110) for a real exercise in gastrointestinal endurance. You also don't want to miss the hash browns here — reviewers say they are anything but humble.
HOUSE OF PRIME RIB | SAN FRANCISCO
Anthony Bourdain calls it "a temple of old-school meat" and "everything that's unfashionable," but that's precisely what's right about the House of Prime Rib, reviewers say. Dinner comes with a show — think spinning salads, and the eponymous prime rib carved table side — and seconds are on the house.
METROPOLITAN GRILL | SEATTLE
Metropolitan Grill earns raves for its pitch-perfect service and mouth-watering dry-aged beef. Zagat also compliments the "retro steakhouse atmosphere" complete with comfy booths, wood and brass. Reviewers recommend trying the American Wagyu beef, noted for its extreme tenderness.
MOOO | BOSTON
If you can get past the irreverent name, you'll find a decidedly fine-dining experience waiting at Mooo in Boston's XV Beacon hotel. Though pricey in typical steakhouse fashion ($57 for a 12-ounce filet mignon), Fodor's Travel Guide notes that "portions are as exaggerated as the prices." Reviewers recommend the Wagyu dumplings to start, beef wellington for an entrée, and bananas foster to cap a decadent meal.
THE DROVER | OMAHA, NEBRASKA
Tasting Table says the casual Drover is "straight out of a Western flick: all wagon wheels, worn saddles and whiskey pints." Speaking of whiskey, reviewers say you just can't pass up the joint's famed whiskey steak, which has received the seal of approval from Adam Richman of the Travel Channel's "Man vs. Food."
HALL'S CHOPHOUSE | CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA
Few restaurants inspire the devotion that Hall's does from diners — it averages a perfect five stars in more than 5,000 reviews on TripAdvisor. Melt-in-your-mouth steaks win near-universal praise, but so do the creamed corn, caramel cake, and attentive service. The restaurant's Sunday gospel brunch is also popular.
DICKIE BRENNAN'S | NEW ORLEANS
This subterranean French Quarter mainstay has attracted accolades from Travel + Leisure as one of the nation's best. Dickie Brennan's puts a Creole spin on traditional steakhouse favorites, offering jumbo Gulf shrimp, Creole seasoning, and béarnaise as enhancements. Zagat calls the ambince "clubby" and "masculine," and reviewers recommend following the prime rib with coconut cake.
ROAST | DETROIT
In 2008, celebrity chef Michael Symon opened this elegant spot, which Thrillist has called "the cornerstone of the Downtown Detroit food scene." Since then, Roast has been serving up steakhouse favorites with contemporary flair. Reviewers recommend the roast of the day for adventurous types, and many say the low-key happy-hour menu is a great value.
THE PALM | WASHINGTON, D.C.
The food is superb, reviewers say, but so is the ambience. Diners at The Palm are surrounded by framed caricatures of local celebrities, and the restaurant attracts a well-heeled clientele — in fact, Forbes named it a "best power lunch." If you're not in the mood for steak, lobster is another big draw.
KAYNE PRIME | NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE
A departure from the clubby vibe of a classic steakhouse, Kayne Prime occupies a contemporary space and has an equally stylish, unconventional menu. Reviewers recommend the house-made bacon with maple cotton candy — yes, cotton candy — and popcorn buttered lobster to start. For steak, they recommend splurging on the Wagyu filet (a 10-ounce cut is $59) or strip ($65).
PERINI RANCH | BUFFALO GAP, TEXAS
It doesn't get more Lone Star than this — steaks grilled over mesquite coals served up on a ranch in a tiny West Texas town. Perini Ranch is more than ambience, though, and was named a James Beard American Classic in 2014. Reviewers recommend starting with the green chile hominy and finishing with the bread pudding.
PETER LUGER | NEW YORK
Travel back in time at Peter Luger, opened in 1887 in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood. Zagat warns that diners can experience "cantankerous" service from the old-school waiters, but that's part of the experience. The house-aged porterhouse draws raves, as do the creamed spinach and apple strudel.
BUTCHER AND SINGER | PHILADELPHIA
One of Zagat's "must-visit classic steakhouses," Butcher and Singer is a self-proclaimed "homage to old Hollywood" where diners will be transported to a swanky, mid-century watering hole. Reviewers rave about the tender filet and hash browns, and recommend following that up with the showy baked Alaska.
AL BIERNAT'S | DALLAS
According to Travel + Leisure, Al Biernat's offers "proof that proper customer service is not dead," and Zagat notes that Al himself may indeed stop by your table at this upscale Dallas fixture. Reviewers rave about the tender steak, but the coconut cream pie inspires equal devotion.
KEVIN RATHBUN STEAK | ATLANTA
One of those rare restaurants that offer a special-occasion atmosphere without the pretense, Kevin Rathbun offers a can't-miss steakhouse experience, reviewers say. Diners say must-try selections include the grilled thick-cut bacon and lobster fritters for starters.
HY'S | HONOLULU
The dark wood and elegant décor at Hy's are the stuff of a classic steakhouse, but given the restaurant's Hawaiian location, expect Pacific influences. One example: The broiled steaks are cooked over Hawaiian Kiawe wood to impart more flavor. Reviewers say it's wise to save room for bananas foster or cherries jubilee, prepared tableside.
CRAFTSTEAK | LAS VEGAS
One of the best-reviewed steakhouses among Las Vegas' many top-notch options, Tom Colicchio's Craftsteak at the MGM Grand is unabashedly sleek and contemporary. Reviewers say a cut of Wagyu beef is worth the splurge ($108 for a domestic ribeye), while Gayot recommends the lobster bisque to start.