The Daily Meal recently published our list of the Best Steakhouses in America for 2014, and in order to compile our ranking, we assembled a list of nearly 200 of the nation’s leading steakhouses, culled from pre-existing rankings by leading authorities both in print and online. To be as fair as possible, we excluded chains with more than a few locations, barred restaurants that don’t focus exclusively on steaks, and also did not consider ethnic steakhouses, like Brazilian churrascarias, were also left out since they form a category of their own. We then judged them according to strict criteria: Is the meat sourced reputably and USDA Choice or Prime? Is it as high-quality as can be, served at the proper temperature without fail and with just the right amount of ceremony? And, is it locally revered while simultaneously embodying a gastronomic destination for out-of-towners? We also took into consideration the overall steakhouse experience; the service must be top-notch, the attention to detail should be spot-on, and diners should feel compelled to sit back in their chair after their meal, pleasantly stuffed and content in the knowledge that they just enjoyed one of the best steaks they will ever have.
Chef Jeremiah Bacon, who’s spent time in the kitchens of New York’s Le Bernardin and Per Se, might have a porky last name, but beef is the star of the show at his Charleston steakhouse, Oak. The dry-aged certified Angus steaks come sizzling on a hot platter with local shrimp compound butter on top, and while the steak, including a Prime bone-in rib-eye and a New York strip, is certainly the menu’s centerpiece, Bacon brings a farm-to-table approach to the entire menu with standout dishes like housemade charcuterie, pan-seared sea scallops with smoked grapefruit purée, and a daily rotating seafood selection depending on what’s available at the market that morning. The restaurant snagged the #48 spot in our compilation, and without any local competition mentioned on the list, it is unequivocally the best steakhouse in Charleston.