From lush, flavorful hanger steaks to juicy break-the-bank porterhouses, restaurants across the country are serving up mouthwatering slabs for every taste and budget. Whether you prefer a white tablecloth clubhouse or sleek modern bistro, these spots make the cut.
Atlanta: Kevin Rathbun
From the moment your waiter presents a basket of freshly made cheese-filled focaccia and savory olive bread, it's clear this isn't your grandfather's steakhouse. Located in a former Clorox factory, this industrial-chic hot spot from local restaurant mogul Kevin Rathbun offers up fresh Southern surprises in addition to classic steakhouse fare. Order up the killer Cowboy Ribeye, then round out the meal with tender Coca-Cola Baby Back Pork Ribs, Jalapeno Creamed Corn and dazzlingly good Eggplant Fries. Take heed: If you like your meat cooked through, you're on your own. The wide-ranging menu warns that well-done steak is "not recommended."
Atlantic City: American Cut
What's more natural than eating seafood at the beach? Not much. And Iron Chef Marc Forgione's popular outpost truly delivers. Atlantic City regulars head to the Art Deco-inspired dining room in The Revel to indulge in Chili Lobster with Texas Toast and an ultra-flavorful Hiramasa Tartare (a tower of avocado and yellowtail topped with a mouth-tingling Szechuan button). Big spenders who've hit the jackpot swear the 28-day dry-aged Tomahawk Ribeye Chop for two is worth the $135 splurge. Request a center table outfitted with plush leather club chairs and you'll truly feel like a winner.
Boston: Grill 23 & Bar
At this Back Bay institution, the toughest decision you'll have to make is whether to sit downstairs amid the ebullient (albeit loud) out-of-towners and business folks or upstairs, where locals roll up their sleeves and entertain on a quieter, more casual scale. Either way, you can't go wrong — and the same goes for the menu, which prides itself on exceptional seafood along with great meat. While you might be tempted to make a meal out of the crazily addictive tater tots with truffle oil (they're that good), it'd mean missing the melt-in-your-mouth-tender 100 Day Aged Ribeye.
Brooklyn: Peter Luger Steak House
First-timers to this 126-year-old icon may be taken aback by the crusty waiters, cash-only policy and weeks-long wait for reservations. Rest assured: One bite of the just-tender-enough marbled porterhouse will make you a convert. Dry-aged on the premises, the prime grade steak arrives pre-sliced in a river of delectable fatty juices. (If you want it cooked beyond medium rare, you can do the job yourself on the searing hot plate.) Obligatory sides include Sliced Tomatoes with Luger's Own Sauce, extra-thick Sizzling Bacon (which you order by the slice) and German Fried Potatoes. (If you want it cooked beyond medium rare, you can do the job yourself on the searing hot plate.)
Chicago: Chicago Cut Steakhouse
The star at this sleek power hub is the prime Bone-In Ribeye. Dry-aged 35 days and butchered onsite, the rich, slightly mineral-flavored cut arrives at your table with the perfect caramelized crust. Order it with a side of Truffle Scalloped Potatoes and Grilled Asparagus — then you'll understand the popularity of this newcomer in steak-crazy Chicago. (The sweeping river views help too.)
Dallas: Pappas Bros. Steakhouse
Leather banquets? Check. Miles-long wine list? Check. Decadent, fork-tender filet mignon? Check, check, check! Pappas Bros. has every hallmark of a fabulous steakhouse and then some, from the supremely courteous staff to belly-filling renditions of classic sides (e.g., mac and cheese with lump crab meat). And then there's those steaks. Gorgeously marbled and aged in-house, they have catapulted this mini empire to the top ranks of Dallas dining.
Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway pulled out the stops on the field, and his eponymous steakhouses do too. Alongside mouthwatering prime cuts you'll find Western-inspired creations like a BLT Salad with an over-easy duck egg, Spicy Steak Chili and a finger-licking Lamb Chop Fondue with a warm green chile cheese dipping sauce. Of course, in Colorado the prime rib must excel — and this pink, juicy slab delivers. The award-winning martini ain't bad either.
A bright spot in the Detroit revival, Roast is Iron Chef Michael Symon's homage to all things meat. The naturally raised steaks and chops earn praise not only for their preparation, but also for their budget-friendly prices, as most hover in the $30 range and even the Porterhouse for 2 tops out at $65. Another surprise? The non-beef dishes are just as seductive, starting with the Beast of the Day (often suckling pig or young goat), which is slow-roasted over a wood fire at the end of the open kitchen. Roasted Bone Marrow with capers and chiles and the Wild Boar Ragu with Cavatelli are steady favorites. The substantial beer list — featuring many local labels — keeps brew-loving patrons content.
In beef-crazed Houston, Chef Michael Cordua's South American-style charcoal-grilled cuts were a revelation when he opened his first Churrascos in 1988. Twenty-five years later, he is still turning heads with the restaurant's namesake steak, an adroitly seasoned wet-aged center-cut tenderloin that is bathed in a piquant chimichurri and served with yucca cake, pickled onions and béarnaise sauce. Available in four sizes, ranging from 8 to 16 ounces, it is the star of both lunch and dinner menus, though the endless basket of fried plantain chips with two dipping sauces garners plenty of praise. A dessert of Tres Leches Cake (a vanilla square saturated with three sweet creams) is practically mandatory.
Houston Area: Killen's Steakhouse
Though much of the steak at this modern roadhouse comes from the renowned Allen Brothers in Chicago, Killen's is a true Texas creation — right down to the Smoked Pork and Black-Eyed Pea Gumbo and Chicken Fried Sirloin Steak. The jumbo shrimp cocktail comes from the Gulf Coast and the grassfed Wagyu rib eye hails from Strube Ranch in Pittsburgh, Texas. Having a Lone Star-sized appetite will serve you well here too: The voluptuous Creme Brule Bread Pudding made with croissants is not to go untried.
Las Vegas: Carnevino Italian Steakhouse
Family-style dining is the way to go at Mario Batali's enormous Italian steakhouse at The Palazzo. Tell the waiter your group's per-person budget and prepare to be wowed by a parade of antipastos, pastas and succulent meats ranging from luscious lemon-zest-and-mint-rubbed Colorado lamb to the restaurant's legendary six- to eight-month-aged porterhouse. If beef cheek ravioli is on the menu, put in a special order. Be warned: The tab can easily escalate. Even among Sin City's high rollers, Carnevino's prices ($144 for Dry-Aged Bone-In Ribeye for Two) can make hearts flutter.
Los Angeles: Cut
There are so many varieties of beef on the menu at this sleek, art-filled hot spot that servers appear tableside with platters of raw cuts to help explain them all. In addition to the prime Illinois corn-fed steaks aged 28 days, diners can choose from Nebraska beef aged 35 days as well as Wagyu from both America and Japan. All are grilled over hardwood and charcoal, then finished under a 1,200 degree broiler, ensuring a perfectly charred crust. Chef Wolfgang Puck's magic touch with ingredients extends down to the California-inflected sides like Heirloom Tomatoes with Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese and Cured Spanish White Anchovies and Warm Veal Tongue with Baby Artichokes.
Los Angeles: Ushuaia Argentinean Steakhouse
Couples flock to this Santa Monica newcomer for the romantic atmosphere and attentive service, but it's the food that really inflames passions. The prime steaks are lush and flavorful, cooked with care over the wood-fired grill. Enticing appetizers, like Provoleta (melted provolone) with roasted red peppers and prosciutto cotto, offer a welcome spin on classic preparations. And the salads — hearts of palm with radicchio and goat cheese, organic baby spinach with portobello mushroom — are crisp and refreshing. Desserts range from artisan ice cream to dark chocolate mousse, though the dulce de leche crepes get the most customer love.
Miami: Bourbon Steak
It's rare that a steakhouse bar menu competes with the dining room for love. But at this outpost of Michael Mina's popular restaurant, the juicy dry-aged beef-and-Wagyu burger speared with crisp peppers has achieved near icon status. Venture to the dining room, however, and you'll be rewarded with a complimentary order of crisp duck fat french fries that arrives before every meal. (Make sure to ask for the potato focaccia too.) Michael prides himself on poaching proteins prior to cooking — beef gets a slow bath in clarified butter and lamb in olive oil. The results are uber-tender and flavorful enough to make the trip out to Turnberry Isle worth the drive.
Portions are generous at this Miami favorite, so come hungry or with a crowd. Known for its high-quality meats, the menu not only includes flavorful wet-aged tenderloin and bone-in rib eye, but also crave-worthy hand-cut flanken-style beef short ribs and a six-bone rack of lamb. Other standards include the rich risottos. (Get the mushroom if it's on offer.) The family-run company has four locations; old-timers claim the original on Bird Road is superior. After dinner, you can hit Graziano's Market next door for empanadas and spicy chimichurri to go.
Minneapolis: Burch Steakhouse and Pizza Bar
There's something for every budget at this hipster hangout, and we're not talking pizza, though artisan pies are served on a separate menu downstairs. Instead, the quartet behind this lively Lowry Hill restaurant has cleverly stocked its kitchen with three varieties of steak — grassfed, corn-finished prime, and domestic Wagyu — that can be ordered in small (6 to 7 ounce) and large (12 to 14 ounce) sizes. Opt for the rich, chewy grassfed hanger steak ($12) with a side of Endive Salad for a quick Monday supper; then pull out all the stops on date night with a sumptuous 14-ounce Prime New York Strip ($60) accompanied by Potato Pierogi. Flush or not, everyone adores the one-bite handmade chocolate truffles offered on the dessert menu at 25 cents a pop.
New York: Keens Steakhouse
There's as much to see as there is to eat at this landmark chophouse tucked away on an unassuming Midtown side street. In operation since 1885, the cozy wood-paneled rooms are chock-a-block with antique posters, brass light fixtures and an eye-popping ceiling display of long-stemmed Churchwarden pipes that belonged to a who's who of 20th century heroes — Teddy Roosevelt, Babe Ruth and Albert Einstein among them. The menu hasn't changed much in the intervening years, but why mess with perfection? The storied restaurant still features Oysters Rockefeller, Prime Rib and Dover Sole. However, the star of the show is the Legendary Mutton Chop, a huge bone-in hunk of juicy saddle of lamb that needs little adornment.
Philadelphia: Butcher and Singer
Dressing up for dinner is never more fun than at this sexy homage to a 1940s supper club. Here, the martinis are perfectly chilled, the booths are both plush and private, and the beautiful dry-aged porterhouse for two inspires raves. The menu is also a throwback, featuring the likes of Shrimp and Crab Louie (a creamy take on the West Coast crab salad), Green Beans Amandine and Baked Alaska, but the thoroughly 21st century Stuffed Hash Browns filled with potatoes tossed with luscious sour cream are worth the detour.
It's old school all the way at Durant's, where regulars play like Ray Liotta in Goodfellas and enter through the kitchen to get to the swanky '50s-era dining room, complete with leather banquettes and crushed red velvet wallpaper. The menu offers its own set of thrills, with 18-ounce rib eyes with just the right amount of smoky char, juicy slices of slow-roasted prime rib and satisfying New York strip steaks in two sizes. All entrees come with a soup or salad and a choice of side. Not to be missed: the signature bread, which arrives freshly baked and bathed in a sinfully good garlic and leek butter sauce.
Portland, Ore.: Ox Restaurant
What do you get when you marry the South American wood-fired grilling trend with the Pacific Northwest's obsession with local produce? Ox's mouthwatering menu, where vegetable and seafood dishes like Rainbow Chard and Roasted Beets with Orange Hollandaise and Fresh Clam Chowder crowned with Smoked Marrow Bone are as satisfying as the unusually tender Skirt Steak and succulent Maple-Brined Pork Loin Chop. Nose-to-tail dining is king here. To wit: The Asado Argentine for two features grilled short rib, housemade chorizo and morcilla sausages, skirt steak and sweetbreads. And for dessert? You could hardly do better than the Warm Hazelnut Brown Butter Torte. Reservations are accepted for parties of six or more only, so arrive early — or be prepared to brave an hours-long wait at the bar.
San Francisco: House of Prime Rib
The name says it all: At this San Francisco meat mecca, they do one thing and they do it very, very well. We're talking huge racks of 21 dry-aged prime beef roasted in rock salt and carved tableside from large rolling stainless steel serving carts. Opt for The English Cut if you like your dinner thinly sliced. Request The King Henry VIII Cut if you are up for a super-thick piece of beefy goodness trimmed with a succulent ribbon of fat. (A reasonably priced children's menu is also available.) Ample portions of light, fluffy Yorkshire Pudding are on hand to sop up all the delectable juices. A word to the wise: Unless you want to brave the two- to three-hour wait for a seat, reservations are a must.
Tampa: Bern's Steakhouse
Wine connoisseurs flock to this 1950s Florida icon for the 6,000-plus bottle list, but even novices will find plenty to keep them fat and happy. There are 20 American and imported caviar varieties available for appetizers, and the steak menu features dozens of options — from a modest 6-ounce filet mignon to an extravagant 2-inch-thick 36-ounce porterhouse. Though the sides are standard, there's nothing common about dessert, which can be taken upstairs in the not-to-be-missed Henry Waugh Dessert Room. Made up of 48 private booths crafted from redwood wine tanks, the dining suite features 50 after-dinner sweets (e.g., Bananas Foster and Macadamia Nut Sundae) as well as more than 1,000 dessert wines and spirits. Don't leave without a tour of the kitchen and wine cellar.
Washington, D.C.: Ray's the Steaks
Since it opened in 2008, this scrappy no-frills steakhouse has been giving the city's fat cat clubhouses a run for their money. And with good reason: The meat is handled with care and the prices can't be beat. Yes, there's a belly-filling Dry-Aged Delmonico for just under $43, but why play it safe when you can dig into a rich, chewy hanger cut for $20 that's loaded with beefy flavor? Mashed potatoes and creamed spinach are included with the price of an entree. You'll be well-served ponying up an additional $7.99 for the memorable sherry-tinged crab bisque. Finish with a slice of tangy Key lime pie and leave satisfied — and with your wallet intact.