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50 States of Steakhouses

Though the decor and menus vary from coast to coast, from Western-style steakhouses to old-school Midwest supper clubs to big-city temples of haute beef, these are the best places to sate your carnivore cravings and enjoy a side of local flair.

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Idaho: Chandlers

With blue lighting in the bar and a saxophone riff floating over the raised high-back leather booths, Chandlers looks and feels like the kind of place that would have live jazz nightly and serve a killer martini. It's also earned a reputation in Boise (and at its Sun Valley outpost) for its steaks and seafood, offering 13 different cuts of meat, many sourced from local purveyor Snake River Farms. Idaho's most-famous export gets top billing too, with sides such as leek and fennel au gratin potatoes and pommes frites misted with truffle oil. Oh, and about that martini — it's called the 10-minute martini and was created by locally famous bartender Pat Carden, who, quite by accident, developed a method of slow-stirring the martini, yielding an exceptionally smooth cocktail. (Ask your server to tell you the story while you wait.) If wine is more your thing, Chandlers boasts a Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator (and the highest ranking in Idaho), with a list of more than 750 labels, a team of certified sommeliers and an excellent selection of wines by the glass.

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Mississippi: Marshall Steakhouse

When you step into Marshall Steakhouse, it feels more like a hunting lodge than a steakhouse, with white oak tables, taxidermy on the walls and cozy fireplaces come winter. But the menu is all steakhouse, with prime Angus steaks front and center, cooked on the largest charcoal grill in the state. And Mississippians can't get enough, some driving more than 100 miles for a weekend dinner. Locals know to start the night with Marshall's sausage and cheese plate, served with spicy fried pickles, and the fan-favorite crabmeat and crawfish bisque. The rib eye and filet are the top choices for steaks, but there's also a signature shrimp and grits made with local stone-ground grits, and Red Wattle hog pork chops, which come from the Swaney family farm. During the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season, snag one of the coveted seats near the fireplace and sip a mug of Swaney's Famous Homemade Eggnog, crafted from a centuries-old family recipe.

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Photo: Paul Strabbing

Illinois: Lawry's The Prime Rib

Since Lawry's The Prime Rib opened in 1974, it has earned a reputation as one of Chicago's great steakhouses. It's also housed in one of the city's greatest landmarks — before it was a restaurant, the stately four-story Italian Renaissance building first served as the McCormick Mansion (society maven Constance McCormick is said to haunt the building), then as 1940s fine-dining restaurant The Kungsholm, and finally as the Kungsholm Puppet Theater (if you're lucky enough to snag a tour of the rarely seen second level, you'll see original puppets and a miniature opera workshop). On the main floor, under glittering chandeliers and arched ceilings, Master Carvers wearing towering hats steal the show. As the name implies, Lawry's The Prime Rib is the place in Chicago for prime rib. Each standing rib roast is carefully selected, aged for 25 days and roasted on a bed of rock salt till supremely tender. Master Carvers — who undergo six months of training and wear a medallion to signify their status — slice the locally famous prime rib tableside from massive, gleaming silver carts, which also include accompaniments such as gravy, au jus, mashed potatoes, creamed corn and creamed spinach (be sure to order a Yorkshire pudding to sop up the steak juices). Keep the show going with Lawry's signature Meat & Potato martini, crafted with Chopin potato vodka, shaken and poured tableside, and garnished with olives stuffed with horseradish and prime rib.

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Oregon: Urban Farmer

With a restored-farmhouse aesthetic, an eclectic mix of artwork lining the walls and with pantry shelves filled with housemade preserves and pickles on display, Urban Farmer is the definition of rural chic. Executive Chef Matt Christianson embodies the restaurant's name: He sources produce, herbs and honey from its own rooftop garden, hydroponic and aquaponic gardens, and apiary; works with local farms, ranches and fisheries; and, in true Portland style, forages shiitake and maitake mushrooms from the custom mushroom cabinet in the dining room, which was built by local woodworker Buck Ferro. The mushrooms find their way into a side dish, supplemented with roasted seasonal wild mushrooms such as chanterelles and matsutakes in the fall, black trumpets in the winter and morels in the spring. Beef is just as carefully sourced, with many cuts coming from Oregon farms, such as grass-fed rib eye and tenderloin from Carman Ranch. For a regional twist, opt to finish your steak with Oregon-coast-grown wasabi and a dollop of creme fraiche.

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