Few dishes define American cuisine as aptly as a beautifully juicy steak: there’s just something about a pristine hunk of meat that appeals to the carnivore in all of us, whether we live in New York City or out on the Western plains. While on some nights we might crave the best burgers in America, the best pizza in America or the best Thai food in America, when the need for a rare rib-eye, porterhouse, T-bone or filet hits, we head to the best steakhouses in America. Read on for our red-blooded picks.
Best steakhouses in America
Beverly Hills is home to more than a few steakhouses, but since opening its doors inside the Beverly-Wilshire hotel in 2006, Wolfgang Puck’s shrine to beef has been the chicest in town. With a Michelin star and several "Best New Restaurant" awards in its pocket, Cut stands out from the rest with a stellar art collection, a bright dining room that skews more Brat Pack than Rat Pack and a globally-influenced menu. Here, diners not only choose the type of steak, but also where it came from: The selection features five different farms including dry-aged USDA Prime beef from Kansas, grass-fed Angus from outside of San Diego, and authentic wagyu beef from the Miyazaki prefecture in Japan.
The name says it all. Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich’s Italian-influenced steakhouse is about two things: crazy good beef and crazy good wine. The wine list leans heavily on Italy, and the menu offers handmade pastas and various crudos, all leading up to some serious meat. The beef is sourced from American farmers and dry-aged off-site until it meets the restaurant’s very high standards. This can take a while—up to 90 days for cuts like the bone-in rib eye or porterhouse and up to 240 days for a special, once-secret steak called the riserva.
Although a slew of Luger copycats have prospered in the last several years, none have captured the elusive charm of this stucco walled, beer-hall style eatery, with well-worn wooden floors and tables, and waiters in waist coats and bow ties. Excess is the thing, be it the reasonably health-conscious tomato salad (thick slices of tomato and onion with an odd addition of steak sauce), the famous porterhouse for two, 44 ounces of sliced prime beef, or the decent apple strudel, which comes with a bowl full of schlag. Go for it all—it’s a singular New York experience that’s worth having.
The ceiling and walls are hung with pipes, some from such long-ago Keens regulars as Babe Ruth, J.P. Morgan and Teddy Roosevelt. Even in these nonsmoking days, you can catch a whiff of the restaurant’s 120-plus years of history. Beveled-glass doors, two working fireplaces and a forest’s worth of dark wood suggest a time when “Diamond Jim” Brady piled his table with bushels of oysters, slabs of seared beef and troughs of ale. The menu still lists a three-inch-thick mutton chop (imagine a saddle of lamb but with more punch) and desserts such as key lime pie. Sirloin and porterhouse (for two or three) hold their own against any steak in the city.
After a massive renovation, Bunker Hill's upscale restaurant Nick & Stef's Steakhouse is back in action with a revamped menu and mid-century modern flair. Coral blues, caramel and brass hues decorate the space, but it's the onsite curation of quality meat that really speaks to the restaurant's focus. Executive chef Andreas Roller delivers beautiful cuts of beef, like a Tomahawk rib chop cut tableside (you can even choose your own steak knife!). Also served tableside: a classic Nick & Stef's Caesar salad, crafted to the diner's specifications (easy on the anchovies, please). Decadent sides include an orecchiette mac and cheese, creamed spinach with bacon, and roasted fall squash with maple syrup and pumpkin seeds. If there's any way you have room for dessert, a rum raisin chocolate cake will finish you off—and will most definitely have you rolling out of the restaurant.
The Brennan name is a gilded one in the Big Easy, with its family of restaurants in Metairie, Mid-City and the French Quarter serving up reliable, full-flavored Cajun and Creole fare for nearly 60 years. At Dickie Brennan’s, the group’s steakhouse, meats such as a 24-ounce rib-eye and a roasted prime rib get rubbed with Creole seasoning. Up the NOLA factor even further by adding three jumbo Gulf shrimps to any plate.
The $52 porterhouse here is impeccably seasoned and boasts warm layers of sumptuous fat running through the full-flavored meat. The only problem is that for $52, the thing is kind of small. But this price-size discrepancy is rare at Gibsons: Sweet-lobster cocktail easily satiates two, the juicy prime rib comes in a hefty portion typically reserved for the Flintstones, and desserts are so enormous that servers cut them in two, wrapping half in a take-away bag, no questions asked.
One of San Francisco's steakhouse veterans, Harris' offers classy old-style dining, with big steaks, big martinis and big bills at meal's end. Sink into your booth, start with a strong cocktail, then proceed with a textbook Caesar salad (put together at your table), a prime piece of carefully aged steak (from Harris' own ranch) and a baked potato with all the trimmings. Hefty desserts follow.
There are certain things you expect when dining out at a steakhouse: You want the service to be top-notch, the atmosphere pleasant but not fussy and the selection superior—including the wine, of course. All of the above is true of Red, the Steakhouse, a South of Fifth neighborhood staple that’s been known to lure its share of passersby to its tastefully modern, crimson dining room. Steakhouse standards rule the menu, like jumbo shrimp cocktail and a hearty 22-ounce bone-in rib-eye. Among the tasty alternatives drawing in diners bored with the usual red-meat fare is fresh, never frozen Alaskan king crabs (though off the menu, the seasonal items warrant a little sleuthing), veal chop and a variety of pastas.
The name of this Beacon Hill steakhouse is the first clue that the restaurant doesn’t take itself too seriously, boasting a playful style born out in the funky black-and-white cow art that adorns the dining room. Chef/owner Jamie Mammano couldn’t take his food any more seriously, though, turning out juicy, perfectly grilled and roasted sirloins, rib-eyes and filets. Classic steakhouse sides get modern spins, like crisp onion rings coated in panko and parmesan.