There are a lof of great dishes served at restaurants, opulent treats you rarely make at home. Capon, turbot, dover sole. But the ultimate restaurant food, the one you go out for, the one with which you mark a personal victory or seal a deal? There's only one thing for that: steak. What follows is a short list of the greatest steaks in America -- and not just in steakhouses.
Although world famous for his mastery of Italian seafood, Paul Bartolotta is still Milwaukee's pride, after all, and such a man could not fail to produce a great steakhouse once he put his mind to it.
August is the crown jewel of New Orleans superchef John Besh's restaurant group, a formal American fine dining restaurant with French inflections and the spirit of the best haute creole cooking. The technique is perfect, the ingredients impeccable, and the best dishes totally timeless.
Overdesigned, yes, and unmistakably high-concept, Barclay Prime is nonethless the purveyor of some truly superb steaks and chops, sourced and prepared on a level way beyond what traditional steakhouses are capable of.
Texas steakhouses are all too often overpriced put-ons, but Killen's is the real deal: magnificent meat, sourced from all over, and prepared by a real chef rather than nameless functionaries at the broiler. The true Texas meat mecca, and that's saying something!
It's a little-known fact that for many decades now, the most prestigious steakhouse in America could be found in Tampa, Florida, of all places. And yet Bern's, with its incredibly detailed steak program and its encyclopedic wine list, is for many the final word on the subject.
Carnevino is often mentioned as a Mario Batali / Joe Bastianich restaurant, and maybe it is, but meat genius Adam Perry Lang is the guiding spirit here. The meat is sourced from special animals, and masterfully butchered, aged, and cooked as perfectly as steak can be.
April Bloomfield broke out of The Spotted Pig's gastropub mold in this equally robust but more ambitious eatery.
The talented young chef Tim Byres has reversed field from his peers, embracing a primitivist aesthetic based on fire, wood, and smoke, the latter being so important that he named the restaurant after it. There's barbecue here, and it's great, but the best things are the big steaks and chops.
Talented, ballsy, and not afraid to experiment, the young eponymous chef is making as big a contribution to his generation's dining scene as his famous father did twenty years ago.
Just a magnificent steakhouse, the best in Chicago by far, and one of the best in the country. The steaks are beautifully sourced and butchered, aggressively browned but not over-charred, and served on a menu that is fluent in seafood cookery.
If there is a more sure-handed grilling restaurant anywhere, with a more masterful hand at both meat and vegetables, I'm sure I don't know about it. Bring your appetite, and don't miss out on the lamb. Chef Greg Denton is a true master.