High-rolling fuss has gone out of fashion in many restaurant circles, with one exception: the steakhouse. But now even that paradigm of excess is under attack. Chefs around the country are taking the model and revamping it with contemporary, approachable aplomb. Pass the creamed spinach.
Tasty 'N Alder, Portland, Oregon: Chef John Gorham grew up celebrating special occasions at a steakhouse with his grandfather. His new concept aims to channel that experience in a more casual, accessible atmosphere. By offering full and half portions, he's able to offer wagyu rib eye at an entry point of under $15.
St. Anselm, Brooklyn: This snug restaurant has slowly built a reputation for being the steak lover's anti-steakhouse. The butcher's cut, at $15, is a flavor-packed steal, and the skillet-cooked mashed potatoes are the only dish in town to which we give a hall pass on truffle oil.
PB Steak, Miami: The new jewel of South Beach is this meaty spot from the Pubbelly team. The ambience is casual, but those seeking a luxe steakhouse experience can order from the "Pimp It Up" section of the menu, which includes add-ons like foie gras mousse and roasted bone marrow.
Bavette's Bar & Boeuf, Chicago: For a touch of the old school, head to Bavette's, where the city's hottest restaurateurs (Au Cheval, Maude's Liquor Bar) have given the classic steakhouse vibe a face-lift to fit modern times. Dishes, though, are tried and true: Order the steak frites.
Béarnaise, Washington, D.C.: Cheftestant Spike Mendelsohn will be opening a classic steak frites joint this spring, his first move away from fast-casual concepts.