The steakhouse is one of America’s most enduring and versatile culinary creations. Steakhouses range from leather-and-mahogany upscale to sawdust-and-Budweiser downscale, but they all exist for the same reason: to satisfy our insatiable craving for a perfectly cooked piece of meat. And sure enough, from coast to coast, from Alaska to Hawaii, there’s no shortage of truly great steakhouses out there. We’ve tracked down the best steakhouses in every state and the District of Columbia.
We’re lucky enough to live in a country that has more varieties of steakhouses (and restaurants in general) than previous generations could have ever imagined. There are the cavernous Wild West establishments where everyone seems to be wearing a Stetson and a pair of Lucchese boots; the power-broker-with-an-expense-account clubhouses; the joints that serve steak at the bar but don’t quite fall into the bar-and-grill category; and the modernist steakhouses that turn all these conventions upside down. But whether they're clad in red leather or plywood, décor is only one aspect of the overall steakhouse experience. When it comes down to it, it’s all about the steak. And from ripping-hot broilers to mesquite grills, these restaurants do it right.
In order to track down the best steakhouses in every state, we started by consulting our annual ranking of America’s 50 best steakhouses, which is compiled by judging more than 200 steakhouses on strict criteria. But that only took us so far; to fill out the map we then took a deep dive into each remaining state’s culinary scene, grading all the leading steakhouses by those same criteria: Is the meat sourced reputably and USDA Choice or Prime? Is it dry-aged, and if not, is it as high-quality as can be? Is it served at the proper doneness without fail and with a touch of ceremony? How are the side dishes and other supporting players? Is it revered by locals and out-of-towners alike? We also considered the overall steakhouse experience. Because the goal is to showcase homegrown favorites, we excluded chains with more than a handful of locations, like Capital Grille, Fleming's, and LongHorn.
In the end, our listing doesn’t just showcase great steakhouses, it paints a picture of the American culinary landscape. In the states with America’s major culinary capitals, like New York, California, and Illinois, the top steakhouses are refined fine dining institutions, confident in their legendary status. But in states that aren’t nearly as renowned for their wealth of culinary options, the steakhouses are far more casual and scrappy, but still serve steaks that are in many ways just as satisfying as their big-city brethren. Click here to learn about the best steakhouse in every state and the District of Columbia.