Dan Myers, the senior Eat and Dine editor for The Daily Meal, previews our list of the 50 Best Steakhouses in America for 2015.
From grand Las Vegas carnivore temples helmed by world-famous chefs to old-school Middle-American chophouses where a ribeye is preceded by a visit to the salad bar, from clubby Chicago dining rooms loaded with mahogany and brass to New York institutions with now-household names, America has no shortage of great steakhouses. These are the 50 best.
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. All types of steakhouses are included in our ranking of America’s best.
The best steakhouses in America are places of worship built to honor the deceptively complex art of a perfectly cooked steak. 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. From ripping-hot broilers to mesquite grills, these restaurants do it right.
To assemble our third annual ranking of the best steakhouses in America, we started by compiling a list of more than 200 of America’s leading examples, culled from pre-existing rankings by leading authorities both in print and online, and also based on suggestions from chefs and restaurateurs from across America. For the sake of fairness, we excluded chains with more than a few locations, like Capital Grille, Fleming's, and Smith & Wollensky. We also barred restaurants that don’t focus primarily on steaks, such as San Francisco’s House of Prime Rib (prime rib is technically a roast, not a steak). Ethnic steakhouses, like Brazilian churrascarias, were also left out since they form a category of their own. The best steakhouses in America are places of worship built to honor the deceptively complex art of a perfectly cooked steak.
We then judged them according to strict 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? Is it revered by locals and out-of-towners alike? We also considered the overall steakhouse experience. No matter the setting, 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 ate one heck of a steak.
Of the steakhouses that made it into our ranking this year, 12 are in the West, 12 are in the South, 10 are in the Midwest, nine are in the Southwest, and seven are in the Northeast. New York and Las Vegas share top honors with six steakhouses apiece; five are in Los Angeles; and Dallas, Chicago, and San Francisco each have three entries.
So journey with us to a fabled dining room on a ranch in a small Texas town (Perini Ranch), a Tampa legend with seven different cuts in 51 sizes and a 7,000-bottle wine list (Bern's), Las Vegas palaces run by the likes of Batali and Jean-Georges, a New York spot that’s famous for its steaks and infamous for a mob hit (Sparks), and everywhere in between on our quest to find the 50 best steakhouses in America.