United Steaks of America
It's a fact: Americans love their steak. And with more than 30 million beef cattle roaming our amber waves of grain, it only makes sense that the land of the free is also home to some of the world's top steakhouses. Whether you're in the market for a wet-aged Wagyu filet or a chuck steak from a country chophouse, every state in the union has something to satisfy your carnivorous cravings.
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From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters, these 51 remarkable rib eye peddlers represent the country's most beloved steakhouses. We even got our hands on a custom burnt onion steak sauce to tide you over while you map out your plan of attack (see the recipe). My fellow Americans, it's time to dig in.
Alabama: George's Steak Pit
The secret to this timeless Southern gem's 60+ years of success has to be the eponymous pit itself, a gaping, hickory log-fueled hearth where steak pros tend to juicy filets and 12-ounce portions of rib eye butt (served rare to medium only) with the utmost care. And that's not all: Center-cut pork chops and farm-raised salmon also find their way into the fire, complemented by a full spread of Greek-influenced appetizers and an American-focused wine list fit for a chophouse of this caliber.
Alaska: Club Paris
One of the 49th state's oldest chophouses, Club Paris dubs itself "an Alaskan dining tradition," and that it certainly is. The luminous Rat Pack-era neon marquee—featuring what else but a shiny silver Eiffel Tower—and iconic wood-paneled exterior set the tone, while inside, diners lounge around a gorgeous circular bar, feasting on hulking four-inch-thick filets and local king crab, plucked fresh from the sea then doused in lemon and drawn butter. The club, which originally opened as a funeral parlor back in the 20s, was one of few Downtown Anchorage structures to survive the great earthquake of 1964, and with any luck, it'll keep on keepin' on for another hundred years.
Arizona: Steak 44
The menu at this upscale Southwestern steakhouse—12-ounce Wagyu filets, wet-aged rib eyes, Alaskan king crab-spiked mac and cheese, a hefty wine list—obviously aims to impress. But it's this sleek, design-forward spot's good looks that really make it shine. In the dining room, giant modern portraits meet rows of meat cleavers hung artfully from a wall fashioned out of reclaimed wood and a long, floor-to-ceiling wine cabinet handcrafted from an old-fashioned icebox. The elevated bar, square and smooth, glows underneath a halo of glittering lights. And near the kitchen, couples canoodle in leather booths, semi-obscured by paned glass sheathed in stunning mahogany. This is date night done right.
Arkansas: Arthur's Prime Steakhouse
If you've ever dreamed of sipping an aged Cab over a dry-aged Chateaubriand for two, jumbo freshwater prawns covered in a light citrus-Riesling glaze or a beautifully charred Australian Wagyu tomahawk in a medieval castle, then you better get on down to Little Rock. Hidden inside an inconspicuous storefront, Arthur's cathedral-like dark wood walls, hanging chandeliers, black wrought iron doors and gray stone accents will feed your inner Tyrion Lannister, while the extensive menu will take care of the rest. When we say this place is old school, you better believe we mean it.
California: Chi SPACCA
Italian for "he who cleaves," chi SPACCA is Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich and Nancy Silverton's carnivorous Melrose Avenue outpost where it's bistecca or bust. A nicely curated array of charcuterie and antipasti precedes an impressive main course lineup, which includes a succulent beef and bone marrow pie, a tomahawk pork chop dusted with fennel pollen, and the pièce de résistance: a 50-ounce, dry-aged Black Angus porterhouse that'll set you back a cool $220. SPACCA's digs may be fairly low key—daily specials scrawled on a chalkboard, industrial-style windows, an understated open kitchen—but the cuisine is anything but.
Colorado: The Buckhorn Exchange
The Buckhorn Exchange is not just one of the country's best steakhouses, it's also one of the oldest. The taxidermy-lined institution has been serving up 24-ounce T-bones, High Plains buffalo prime rib and farm-raised elk medallions to the Wild West's wildest—including, ahem, Buffalo Bill himself—since way back in 1893. The stand-alone brick building sits just minutes from bustling Downtown Denver, but spend a few minutes inside this red-hued saloon and you'll swear you just spotted a tumbleweed blowing down Osage Street. Rolling deep? Order the The Big Steak dinner for two, three, four or five, and get your prime, sizzling-hot New York strip carved tableside for all to admire.
Photo: Courtesy of Buckhorn Exchange
Connecticut: Joseph's Steakhouse
Prime cut meats, à la carte seafood, seasonal vegetable selections and a bow tie-wearing staff all make Joseph’s Steakhouse the epitome of the old school, quintessential steakhouse. We think it might have something to do with the fact that the owner, Joseph Kustra, worked at Peter Luger Steak House for 15 years before opening what has now become a Connecticut steakhouse landmark. A favorite among true fans: the restaurant's inch-thick slab of bacon grilled to order.
Delaware: Domaine Hudson
A visit to Delaware usually means seafood by the pound washed down by pints of locally brewed Dogfish Head. But those in the know opt for this refined bistro for beefy eats and, well, more Dogfish Head (or one of Domaine's 450 vinos). The modern classic is teeming with charming touches like starry chandeliers fashioned from wineglasses, plush purple banquets and a long marble bar for post-beach imbibing. Though it's more fine dining than strictly steak, chef Dwain Kalup has your carnivorous needs covered, beginning with a rich duck liver mousse, topped with house-made pickles and a port reduction, or a grilled Wagyu coulotte resting atop a pillow of sunchoke-cheddar purée and oxtail marmalade. You can always go for blue crabs tomorrow.
Florida: Bern's Steak House
This 61-year-old establishment positions itself as an experience rather than just a meal, and the restaurant's dress code (jackets and ties encouraged) only further cements its special-occasion status. Steaks are brushed with butter and simply seasoned before meeting a scorching-hot grill greased with beef fat. Bern's attention to detail doesn't stop there either. It also sources produce from its private farm and boasts a James Beard Award-winning wine program. Before your "experience" comes to a close, make sure to snuggle into a booth in the upstairs dessert room and dig into a bowl of creamy homemade macadamia nut ice cream.
When it comes to Southern food, meat is a must. And if you're sniffing around for quality cuts in the ATL, look no further than this 38-year-old Buckhead treasure. Scribbled cartoon characters and shadowy historical photographs line arching exposed-brick walls, complemented by glass-encased wine racks and red leather barrel chairs for a vintage, trustworthy feel. What you're eating: brioche toast slathered in foie gras, along with Brie and a sweet, earthy mango-vanilla sauce, followed by succulent veal rib chops, served with lemon and sautéed mushrooms. Or if you're up for it, there's always the 20-ounce dry-aged bone-in rib eye. And for a taste of down-home Georgia with an upscale twist, load up on standby sides like grit fritters and warm, creamy corn pudding.
Hawaii: Hy's Steak House
Surfing, Spam and . . . sirloin? At Hy's, sandy kālua pork roasts are eschewed for luscious 14-ounce USDA Prime Delmonico steaks, aged on the premises and broiled to smoky perfection atop native Hawaiian kiawe wood. Pacific-caught seafood, like meaty Alaskan king crab, is also popular, as well as a surprising array of festive flambéed desserts (bananas Foster, anyone?). This sophisticated chophouse and bar, with its dashing mahogany walls, high-backed leather chairs and dignified oil portraits, stands a world apart from the beachfront tiki bars and karaoke lounges that permeate the island. Just don't forget to ditch the flip-flops and board shorts for your Sunday best (and we don't mean Tommy Bahama).
Idaho: The Pioneer Saloon
While the steakhouse has been around only since 1972, the building it occupies has been rocking and rolling this scenic Western town for nearly 80 years. The flat-faced, white-brick structure sits just down the hill from Sun Valley (aka celebrity ski getaway central), so it's not unusual to spot John Travolta or Tom Hanks cutting into a hearty 20-ounce prime rib or splitting a Jim Spud (bursting with Teriyaki prime rib, cheese and other toppings, it's said to be the world's biggest baked potato) with their families. But the real attraction isn't the movie stars. Longtime Sun Valley resident Ernest Hemingway was a Pioneer regular, and the walls are littered with his mementos, as well as local treasures like arrowheads, taxidermy and antique bullet boards. Got a sweet tooth? Don't pass up the chance to sample co-owner Sheila TK last name's famous mud pie: soft mocha ice cream ladled into a crushed Oreo crust, topped with rich fudge, chocolate flakes, almonds and whipped cream.
Illinois: Maple & Ash
Since its early days of stockyards and meatpacking, the City of Big Shoulders has always been a beef town. Thankfully, present-day Chicago's dining scene, with its masterful cocktails, swanky decor and melt-in-your-mouth cuts, is a far cry from Sinclair's Jungle. That's where Maple & Ash comes in—a clear standout smack-dab in the center of the T-Bone zone, otherwise known as the Gold Coast. Cozy yet posh, M&A's whimsical menu (a large seafood tower is called a Baller; sauces and accoutrements are Arm Candy), wood-fired Slagel 60-day dry-aged rib eyes and outstanding wine list really seal the deal. And if the Windy City has you feeling loose, opt for the aptly named I DON'T GIVE A F*@K tasting menu, where $145 gets you a full night of chef-driven surprises.
Indiana: St. Elmo Steak House
Rife with star athletes, corporate tycoons and high-class Hoosiers, this Midwestern treasure has been rubbing elbows and sipping martinis with the best of them since 1902. The exterior might look like your standard-issue corner pub, but that's half the fun. Inside, it's all white tablecloths, tuxedoed waiters and 28-ounce bone-in porterhouses. Daredevils gravitate toward the "world-famous" shrimp cocktail, a chilly cup bursting with jumbo shrimp doused in St. Elmo's super-spicy (and super-tasty) house sauce. Think you can take the heat? Make sure to grab a refreshing Elmo Cola (glass-bottled Coke mixed with an infusion of Maker's Mark, Luxardo Maraschino cherries and vanilla beans) before digging in.
Iowa: Archie's Waeside
When Russian transplant and former packinghouse worker Archie Jackson turned a roadhouse bar into a humble steakhouse back in 1949, he never could have imagined that 68 years later, his grandson (and current proprietor) would be accepting one of James Beard's prestigious America's Classics awards. And the win was well deserved. Spacious leather booths and worn wood-paneled walls set a familiar tone, broken up by exposed brick and endless tchotchkes. Start with the Mexican cheese balls, a molten, deep-fried cross between cheese curds and jalapeño poppers, then get down to business with the regionally sourced extra-thick sirloin (emphasis on the extra), paired with one of Archie's top-tier American reds. A few extra bucks turns your solo steak into a dinner platter, which includes a tossed salad, rolls and a relish tray (pickles, fresh veggies, cheese)—and, yes, it's worth it.
Kansas: Siena Tuscan Steakhouse
Set inside Wichita's lavish Ambassador Hotel, this elegant chophouse specializes in classed-up Italian standards, like chestnut arancini with crisp Fuji apples and celery root, and rabbit saltimbocca atop cavatelli, plus 12-ounce cuts of prime KC strip and eight-ounce center-cut filets. Unlike much of its brethren, Siena is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, while overnighters take advantage of round-the-clock room service. There's wine aplenty, of course, and a seasonal cocktail program to rival any city-slicking mixology den. And between the debonaire dining room—wingback chairs, temperature-controlled wine displays, dark-wood everything—and the inviting patio seating (not to mention the cozy rooms upstairs), you're in for a long night.
Kentucky: Tony's of Lexington
In 2015, Ohio steakhouse guru Tony Ricci traveled across the river to establish the Lexington branch of his beloved Cincinnati outpost. And though this handsome chophouse had some big shoes to fill, Tony's of Lexington quickly became one of Kentucky's finest. The glossy, post-industrial ambiance feels at once edgy and stately, and the Italian-focused menu features a perfectly curated array of originals like Rig-a-Tony (house-ground prime rib, San Marzano tomatoes, pecorino), Guinness-braised short ribs topped with smoked tobacco onions and a 12-ounce barrel-cut filet mignon. And, as you might expect, Tony's stocks enough award-winning bourbon to kill a horse (you know, figuratively).
Louisiana: Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse
From a legendary New Orleans restaurant family comes this French Quarter institution, serving classic New York strip steaks, barbecue rib eyes and béarnaise-topped filets with Gulf oysters, all delivered with a thick Creole accent. The swish bar serves Sazeracs alongside the entire dinner menu, and the clubby, subterranean space includes six private dining rooms. If you've got an ascot, trust us, you'll want to break it out for this joint.
As cutting-edge restaurants and noteworthy craft breweries continue to set up shop all over town, Vacationland's largest city is quickly blossoming into a veritable foodie destination. And Timber is yet another product of this culinary coming of age. Seasoned restaurateur Noah Talmatch, whose credits include NYC's Ice Bar, Lucky Burger and two other Portland restos, opened his warmly lit, modern-meets-rustic establishment in 2014. He's been satisfying patrons with farm-to-table fare and a bourbon selection on par with Kentucky's best ever since. Kick things off with an order of braised short rib sliders, topped with a cognac-infused fig jam and stuffed into a buttery sweet potato biscuit. Mains? Only a fool would pass up the surf and turf, local lobster tail, poached in butter and paired with a juicy eight-ounce petit filet.
Photo: Courtesy of Timber Steakhouse
Maryland: The Prime Rib
The Prime Rib, located in Baltimore, is the epitome of the classic steakhouse, featuring live piano music, tuxedoed staff and a pronounced supper club-style vibe. The menu features several cuts of steak, seafood, crab cakes (it is Maryland, after all) and a wide range of sides and desserts. Make sure to try the signature dish, which is, unsurprisingly, the prime rib. But save some room for dessert. The crème brûlée is a must.
If the name doesn't imply steakhouse, then the 22-ounce bone-in Painted Hills rib eye certainly will. Located in historic Beacon Hill just steps away from the State House, this under-the-radar Beantown haunt goes above and beyond when it comes to the meat of the matter: the steak, of course. Just be warned: You'll be tempted to fill up on the hot and fluffy dinner rolls, dusted with sea salt and dropped on the table before the meal even begins. They're justifiably irresistible, but leave room for that filet mignon.
When he's not busy cohosting ABC's The Chew, multi-award-winning chef Michael Symon heads up the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit Hotel's mammoth on-site steakhouse. Smart, contemporary furnishings (neutral tones, recessed ceilings, looming glass wine cases) complement Roast's innovative menu of updated standards like chile-spiked roast bone marrow, pillowy beef cheek pierogi and a beautiful dry-aged rib eye lightly dressed with preserved lemon, Grana Padano and a hint of smoked garlic. Start the evening with a chilly Benchmark cocktail (bourbon, Campari, applewood-smoked maple syrup, orange bitters), proclaimed the world's finest Manhattan at the 2016 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Experience competition.
Occupying one of Downtown Minneapolis's oldest buildings, this third-generation family-run steakhouse has served as a refuge for winter-stricken Minnesotans since 1946. The iconic storefront, with its teal tiles, yellow neon marquee and giant steak illustration, screams midcentury grandeur, while inside, the recently renovated dining room is lit by round, halo-like chandeliers, all smooth brass and warm glow. Save your pennies and splurge on a bottle of Reserve Cab and the house speciality: a 28-ounce Silver Butter Knife Steak for two, carved tableside and, as the name suggests, tender enough to leave the steak knife behind.
Mississippi: Doe's Eat Place
Don't be deterred by the string of modern-day Doe's spread across the South—this is no generic strip mall chain. And as the first in a handful of award-winning franchises, the OG Greenville location is undoubtedly the real deal. Day in and day out, crowds file into the historic, white clapboard and cinder block house, gorging themselves on three-pound porterhouses worthy of Fred Flintstone, iceberg lettuce salads and crispy fried shrimp. It's all prepared in a homey open kitchen and served family style. And while the 10-item menu errs on the side of prime cuts, only a fool would skip out on an order of Doe's famous hot tamales, a mouthwatering mix of ground beef and spices the long revered resto describes as "a true taste of the Mississippi Delta."
Missouri: Jess & Jim's Steakhouse
As far as steak-obsessed cities go, KC is undoubtedly one of country's heaviest hitters, so any local chophouse worth its salt has to bring its A game to the plate. And with more than 75 years in the business, a plethora of national nods and a menu of locally raised, prime-aged beef, Jess & Jim's is batting 1000. Don't let the Playboy Strip's name put you off—there's nothing smutty about the 25-ounce sirloin, a dish that pays tribute to the magazine whose 1972 review put this old-school brick resto on the map (and, 29 years later, named it one of America's best). Who are we to argue?
Montana: Lolo Creek Steak House
To say things are "locally sourced" at Montana's celebrated Lolo Creek would be quite the understatement. Everything from the taxidermied game and antler-clad chandeliers to the larch wood burning inside the grills and the timber used to construct the cabin-like structure itself, Lolo Creek is Big Sky Country born and bred. That hometown pride also extends to the menu, with grass-fed tenderloins and monster 24-ounce sirloins sizzling atop the open fire. And there's no shortage of Montana-brewed drafts from Bayern Brewing and Big Sky Brewing on hand, the perfect end to a long day of fly-fishing.
Nebraska: The Drover
In a state famous for Styrofoam-encased frozen steaks, The Drover manages to set itself apart in both form and function with one-of-a-kind eats and digs straight out of a Western flick: all wagon wheels, worn saddles and whiskey pints. And rightly so—known far and wide for its whiskey-soaked steaks, The Drover has been marinading its Certified Angus filets, sirloins, strips and prime ribs in every cowboy's favorite booze for more than 40 years now. Rumor is the tangy, earthy sauce works to tenderize the beef without squashing all that good meaty flavor, and judging from all the happy campers crowding the narrow dining room, the trick seems to be working. Giddyup, pardner.
Nevada: Heritage Steak at The Mirage
Is a fancy casino restaurant the most original best-of choice? Probably not, but between Heritage's refreshingly understated, sleek-meets-rustic motif (brown leather; decorative log piles; a canopy of smooth, dark wooden planks) and Japanese Wagyu A5 strip loin, there's no denying this spot's steak-y supremacy. In addition to his charcoal grill and wood-burning oven, superstar chef Tom Colicchio's real secret is the Grillworks Infierno, a top-of-the-line, steampunk-inspired grill that doubles as a hearth, broiler and smoker. So whether you're into 10-ounce filets or 12-ounce racks of lamb, just about every morsel has been well kissed by an open flame.
Photo: Courtesy of MGM Resorts International
New Hampshire: Hanover Street Chophouse
This 12-year-old steak spot might be the fanciest in town, but that doesn't mean it's stuffy. On the contrary, Manchester's fine dining go-to is at once chic and welcoming—as long as you've remembered your coat and tie, that is. Steaks, seafood and a stellar wine list take center stage, set to a smooth mahogany backdrop and the soothing sounds of soft jazz coming from the bar's baby grand. Do it up with a multitiered seafood tower from the raw bar before indulging in a pristine 16-ounce boneless USDA Prime Delmonico rib eye or one of six filet mignon options. Blue cheese fondue or bacon maple jam, anyone? You know what they say: Live beef or die.
New Jersey: Knife & Fork Inn
First opened in 1912 as a gentlemen's club frequented by AC's most powerful movers and shakers, iconic doesn't even begin to describe this famed steak emporium. The landmark restaurant is as beloved for its playful 1920s ambiance and bright-white, Dutch-inspired exterior as it is for the excellent food and drinks waiting inside. Make like Prohibition-era political boss Enoch "Nucky" Thompson (aka Boardwalk Empire's Steve Buscemi) and bet the house on a bowl of soul-warming corn and crab chowder, followed by an Italian-style veal chop, stuffed with mozzarella, prosciutto, spinach and mushrooms. And what's a meal without some bubbly? With more than 15 different sparkling bottles on hand, you'll never be far from your next glass.
New Mexico: The Bull Ring
If you're eating steak in Santa Fe, you're more than likely pulling up a chair at The Bull Ring. This institution, with its olive-green booths and old-school flair, has been beloved by locals and visitors alike since opening its doors in 1971. The restaurant moved from its former adobe compound next to the State Capitol to a building off the town's main plaza in 1995, but the food stayed just as strong. Every steak, whether it's a filet mignon or porterhouse for two, comes on a sizzling platter with hot, melted butter. Can't argue with that.
New York: Peter Luger Steak House
How do you get Manhattanites to go to Brooklyn? Take them to Peter Luger for steak. You won't find any Wagyu BS or fancy foie gras, just dry-aged cuts of beef worth leaving your borough for. Shortly after the eponymous Luger died in 1941, neighborhood businessman and dedicated Luger patron Sol Forman stepped in to keep the iconic restaurant alive. It was even a family affair: His wife, Marsha, spent years learning the beef inside and out and eventually took over the purchasing. Go for the excellent steaks; stay for the schlag—a towering bowlful of homemade whipped cream.
North Carolina: Beef 'n Bottle
Part roadhouse bar, part dinner meeting mainstay, this revered Charlotte institution serves highbrow cuts, like 16-ounce NY strips and 10-ounce center-cut filets, in a refreshingly lowbrow setting. But while Beef 'n Bottle's steak game is undoubtedly strong, it's the toppings that really draw the crowds: Optional blue cheese crumbles, horseradish or mushroom gravy are on the house, and for an extra 10 smackers, you can top any steak with a lump of king crab meat and a drizzle of white wine butter sauce. The rest of the dinner menu runs the gamut from perfectly crusted French onion soup and crispy frog's legs to fried Biloxi shrimp and butterflied NC Mountain trout. We'll have one of everything, please.
North Dakota: Peacock Alley
In operation since 1933, Peacock Alley isn't just North Dakota's oldest saloon, it's also the purveyor of the Roughrider State's finest hand-cut, USDA Certified Angus beef, aged for a minimum of 21 days then seasoned with the pub's signature spice blend. And though it stocks enough sirloins, rib eyes and spoon-tender filet mignons to feed a small army, the cozy, blue-walled tavern, unlike some of the tawnier establishments on this list, suggests diners set their sights on the often-underrated hanger steak. "There is only ONE hanger steak per animal making it a very limited special steak," the menu reads. However, those who prefer their meat grilled to a firm crisp, take note: The Peacock strictly serves this cut cooked to a rosy medium rare for optimal texture and taste. Pair that with any one of the 17 martinis on offer, and you're looking at one happy meal.
Photo: Courtesy of Peacock Alley
Ohio: The Pine Club
Serving the best steaks in town since 1947, The Pine Club in Dayton, Ohio, has remained virtually unchanged in its 70 years of business, and that's why we love it. Two Jacksons and change will get you a 20-ounce bone-in rib eye seasoned and cooked to perfection, served with the restaurant's signature stewed tomatoes. That leaves plenty of cash to spend at the bar where ordering anything but an old-fashioned just feels wrong. Didn't bring your wallet? Open a house account, and they'll mail you your bill, payable by check. Talk about a throwback.
Oklahoma: Cattlemen's Steakhouse
If you're looking for the best steak deep in the heart of America's cattle country, make a beeline over to Cattlemen's, located in OKC's deeply historic Stockyards City. The ambiance is exactly what you'd expect of the state's longest continuously running restaurant: Inside, a long diner-style bar accompanies red leather booths sandwiched between dark wood walls, while outside, two antique neon signs cast a bright-red light on the traditional cinder block facade. There's a lot to choose from on the meat-heavy menu, but you can't go wrong with the Blue Ribbon Special, a thick slab of USDA Prime sure to satisfy the hungriest of cowboys. Some cuts aren't always available, so make sure to talk strips and sirloins with your (extremely nice and knowledgable) server before you forgo the chicken-fried wonder you've been eyeing.
Oregon: Laurelhurst Market
This is not your average steakhouse. With a wide open concept, the kitchen, dinning room and attached butcher shop all coexist under one roof, working together seamlessly throughout service. Be sure to dine here at least once in the spring and summer months when the restaurant opens its garage-style windows by the bar. When it comes to the food, the menu doesn't fall short, taking advantage of the abundance of seasonal fruits and veggies the Pacific Northwest has to offer.
Pennsylvania: Butcher and Singer
The dramatic, tall ceilings and marble columns at this contemporary steakhouse nod to the building's former tenant, a brokerage firm by the same name that didn't fare as well as this Philadelphia favorite. With Stephen Starr, the city's most successful restaurateur, behind the wheel, you can expect well-trained and gracious staff, as well as excellent steaks, which start at eight ounces and work their way up to a 50-ounce tomahawk rib eye that's big enough to feed a table. And while you're here for the steak, don't miss the mural: a bar scene with dogs instead of chaps dressed up in tuxedos and overcoats.
Photo: Courtesy of STARR Restaurants
Rhode Island: 22 Bowen's Wine Bar & Grille
Grass-fed rib eyes, prime porterhouses and 45-day dry-aged sirloins are the tip of the cleaver at this classy stop on Newport's downtown waterfront. The place also offers raw bar picks, buttery lobster tails and a 650-bottle wine list. A clubby interior makes its way to a wraparound deck on the second floor, and even though it's a summertime favorite among locals and visitors alike, the bar is lively all year long.
South Carolina: Oak Steakhouse
When the Oak team took over a former bank building in 2003, they immediately made clear their commitment to restore the historic French Quarter institution to its 19th-century splendor. And the three-story Southern charmer kept its promise, converting the original vault into a "wine locker" (home to 200+ handpicked bottles), shining up the pine floors and giving the ionic columns out front a good scrubbing. Charleston native and Per Se alum chef Jeremiah Bacon heads up the culinary program, showcasing his highbrow twist on Lowcountry staples with a menu full of sustainably harvested, locally sourced ingredients. Appetizers and farm-fresh salads are all top tier, as are the house-made pastas, regional oysters and Caper's Clams. And the meat? You'll find a full selection of Certified Angus and prime numbers with add-ons like lump crab cake and scallop Oscar.
South Dakota: Carnaval Brazilian Grill
Beef is big business in the Mount Rushmore State, which is home to more than 15,000 beef producers and innumerable bolo ties. South Dakota's only Brazilian-style churrascaria offers grass-fed rib eyes and tenderloins, house-made linguiça sausage and, of course, slow-roasted meats carved tableside. Gild the lily with a coconut-fried banana, available by request, and you'll already start planning your return trip.
Tennessee: Kayne Prime
When Music City's most fashionable need a break from hot chicken, they throw on their best business casual and pop over to this sexy boutique steakhouse, located in Nashville's hipper-than-hip Gulch neighborhood. Treated planks and concrete welcome diners into the industrial-chic space, lined with raw wood accents and retractable, garage-style windows, everything set aglow by Music Row's vibrant skyline. The steaks, each roasted over a scorching 1,200-degree fire and listed with their place of origin, range from a dainty six-ounce Missouri Wagyu filet to the house's "Progression of NY Strip," three-ounce portions of sous-vide-cooked USDA Prime, American Wagyu and Australian Wagyu beef. The wine flows steadily, but it's the cocktails that really give this spot life. Try the maple old-fashioned, a soothing blend of Straight Edge small-batch whiskey, calvados, maple syrup and bitters.
Chef John Tesar might have once been labeled "the most hated chef in Dallas," but that rep sure doesn't keep the crowds away from his well-stocked and beautifully appointed steakhouse. The menu is a meat lover's dream, split into seven carnivorous sections, including Raw (oysters, bacon-crusted bone marrow with caviar), Slabs (crispy pig’s head served with tortillas and salsa) and Exotic (chef Tesar's special Niman Ranch rib eye, dry-aged for 240 days in-house). The sprawling, upscale resto is stashed inside the Hilton's recently retrofitted Highland Curio Collection hotel, which makes for a particularly convenient location, especially after a few too many barrel-aged Negronis. So grab a cigar from the restaurant's private humidor, stake out a spot in front of the patio's elegant fireplace and settle in.
Photo: Courtesy of Knife
Utah: Grub Steak Restaurant
Rugged and barnlike, with Western memorabilia tacked to the soaring walls blanketed in gray wood plank siding, this 41-year-old stalwart represents the old guard in what's lately become a highfalutin celebrity ski town. The vibe inside is more Sundance Kid than Sundance, though, and the menu follows suit, focusing on cowboy-approved standbys like cheesy, bacon-topped potato skins; slow-roasted prime rib; 16-ounce Kansas City Strips, dry-aged for 30 days and seasoned with Utah salt; and elk steaks served with lingonberry preserves. Every meal includes a trip to the restaurant's well-stocked salad bar, so don't be shy. Just grab your bowl and saddle up.
Vermont: EB Strong's
Every college town needs at least one spot that explicitly caters to visiting parents, and for UVM's approximately 12,000 aspiring scholars, EB Strong's is just that. It's about as upscale as Green Mountain dining gets (i.e., blazers generally outnumber Carhartt denim), the sunlit dining room dominated by long, family style tables and tasteful exposed brick. And despite the state's crunchy rep, it's not all tofu and bean sprouts here. With an array of USDA Prime beef, including NY strips, boneless rib eyes and a special chef's choice option, EB Strong's works to set the record straight.
Virginia: Local Chop & Grill House
Housed in a fully restored, 55,000-square-foot former produce exchange building, Local Chop & Grill House honors its historical home by centering its artfully composed menu around seasonal ingredients sourced from dozens of Shenandoah Valley farms. Lovingly seared 12-ounce rib eyes and eight-ounce filet mignons showcase the simply outfitted steakhouse's commitment to refined, thoughtful American cuisine, while the beverage program, headed up by Napa native and level one sommelier Marti Cassinerio, adds a splash of fun to the mix. Change up your cocktail hour routine with one of 18 craft beers on draft, or, for something strong, try the Southern Soiree, a life-giving, Dixie-tinged blend of house-infused cucumber gin, black peppercorns, Key lime bitters, tonic and lime.
Washington: Melrose Grill
Handpicked and dry-aged for 28 days, this 116-year-old Washington institution's selection of prime top sirloins, NY strips and filets is certifiably top notch, as is the bright pink, pan-seared Northwest salmon. The rest of the joint, however, is much less rococo, befitted with quaint wooden booths, a mirrored bar and nicely restored tile floors throughout the narrow dining room. The wine list is more than adequate, but we suggest making like the barrel-smuggling, Prohibition-era patrons of yore and ordering yourself a stiff single malt (neat, of course). Fun fact: In 1972, celebrity boxer Boone Kirkman bought the saloon and converted the back bar into an honest to goodness boxing ring. That's one way to work off that porterhouse.
West Virginia: The Wonder Bar Steakhouse
Lacquered wood beams, natural stone walls and antique furnishings give this family-run West Virginia outpost a warm, cabin-like feel, like a sturdy refuge for the Mountain State's hungriest travelers. And the menu, full of comforting Italian favorites, like meatballs finished with a dollop of creamy ricotta, fresh-cut veal chops and nine-ounce center-cut filet mignons, only add to the lovely appeal. But even if the food wasn't so delicious, even if the atmosphere wasn't quite as inviting, folks would still be lining up for a table, if only to glimpse the patio's breathtaking views of the state's rolling green hills.
Photo: Courtesy of Wonder Bar Steakhouse
Wisconsin: Five O'Clock Steakhouse
This festive supper club has been serving midcentury steakhouse classics, like shrimp scampi, USDA Choice bacon-wrapped filets and 16-ounce slow-roasted prime rib, with Midwestern gusto since 1946. Loyal customers crowd around an elongated open fireplace, sipping Harvey Wallbangers, Sloe Gin Fizzes and boozy Sidecars against a backdrop of red brick walls, twinkling light fixtures and a diverse roster of live musical acts. After you have your fill, duck into the Alley Cat Lounge, the restaurant's upstairs piano bar, to take in a show and yet another throwback cocktail.
Wyoming: Miners and Stockmen's
With a population that taps out at around 63, Hartville, Wyoming, doesn't exactly seem like the epicenter of culinary innovation. But what its town lacks in size, Miners and Stockmen's, the state's oldest bar and the, er, beating heart of Hartville, makes up for in devastatingly good looks—that is, if you're as wooed by gunslinging Wild West aesthetics as we are. We're talking a bona fide saloon, straight out of central casting with a tall red brick and natural wood facade, pressed tin ceiling, a lineup of 35 different whiskeys and enough Wyoming-raised, brilliantly marbled Certified Angus rib eyes, filets and NY strips to feed the entire town for weeks—literally. If there was ever a reason to trek out to the Cowboy State, this is it (OK, Yellowstone is all right, too).
Washington, D.C.: Medium Rare
There's no shortage of high-end steakhouses in D.C., but what makes Medium Rare so great is that it's exactly the opposite. It's a relaxed, low-key neighborhood steakhouse in Cleveland Park that's beloved by locals. For dinner, Medium Rare offers only one menu option: steak and fries, topped with its secret sauce, and served with bread and salad on the side—all for a fixed price of $20.95. It's also famous for including a second serving of steak with each dinner order, so meat freaks will leave full and happy.
Additional research and written contributions were provided by the Tasting Table Edit Team.
Correction: Charlotte's Beef 'N Bottle was established in 1978, not 1958, and is only open for dinner service.
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