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.
Sure, Stephen Starr’s steakhouse, Barclay Prime, on Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia might boast a selection of as many as seven different steak knives and a $100 Wagyu rib-eye and foie gras cheesesteak that comes with a half-bottle of Perrier-Jouët, but that doesn’t mean it’s gimmicky. Described as a "luxury boutique steakhouse" on its website, the restaurant replaces the expected steakhouse décor of red leather with green and yellow suede, a clubby soundtrack, and slightly incongruous crystal chandeliers. While the setting is undoubtedly twenty-first-century, the menu serves the anticipated classics: steaks are dry-aged for 28 days, and their rib-eye, from Gachot & Gachot, is arguably the best steak in the city, with world-class service to boot. Don’t forget to order the shrimp cocktail – these monsters come four to a pound.
Barclay Prime snagged the prestigious #4 spot in our compilation, and without any local competition mentioned on the list, it is unequivocally the best steakhouse in Philadelphia, and one of the preeminent restaurants of its kind in the country.