Steakhouses hold a special place in the hearts of American diners. They’re the special occasion restaurants where we celebrate birthdays, promotions and anniversaries. They’re where high-rollers with expense accounts go to close the deal. They’re a top choice whenever we’re looking to splurge. While there are wonderful independent steakhouses in every state, there are also lots of high-end chain steakhouses, and today we’re honoring the very best.
There are two main varieties of steakhouse chains. The first is casual steakhouse restaurants like Outback and Texas Roadhouse. The second category includes more expensive and refined options — restaurants that are right up there with the 50 best non-chain steakhouses in the country. These are the best high-end steakhouse chains in America.
Smith &Wollensky/ Yelp
In order to compile our ranking, we assembled a list of all the high-end steakhouses in America with five or more locations and assessed them according to the variety of steaks on the menu, the sourcing and quality of the meat (dry-aging is always a plus), and the quality and variety of side dishes and other menu items. We also considered the quality and variety of the wine list, the décor, special promotions and the overall dining experience.
Founded by former NFL head coach Don Shula in Miami Lakes, Florida, in 1989, Shula’s Steakhouse serves only Black Angus beef at its eight locations nationwide. The steaks include two sizes of filet mignon, 16- or 20-ounce strips, a 22-ounce cowboy rib-eye and a 24- or 48-ounce porterhouse. Other options include prime rib with Yorkshire pudding, bacon-wrapped barbecue shrimp, filet Oscar which features jumbo lump crab, asparagus and hollandaise, and double-cut lamb chops.
The Palm West Side/Yelp
Even though The Palm has 24 locations in cities ranging from Beverly Hills, California, to Orlando, Florida, each outpost still retains that clubby, chummy atmosphere that made its original Manhattan location, which closed in 2015 after nearly 90 years in business, a New York City institution. In exchange for their meals when the original Palm opened, artists were invited to decorate the walls of the restaurant with cartoons and caricatures, and that tradition continues to this day. Before each new location opens, the likenesses of notable locals are painted onto the walls, with more added regularly. As for the food, the steaks are USDA Prime and aged for a minimum of 35 days. Offerings include a 9- or 12-ounce filet, a 14- or 18-ounce New York strip (including one topped with sauteed onions and roasted peppers), a 26-ounce bone-in rib-eye and double-cut lamb chops. The rest of the menu is classic steakhouse all the way: clams casino, crab or shrimp cocktail, whole lobsters and a handful of classic Italian dishes like veal Marsala and chicken parmigiana.
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar has nearly 70 locations in 28 states and is the most upscale offering of parent company Bloomin’ Brands, which also owns Outback, Carrabba’s and Bonefish Grill. Fleming’s is constantly innovating, whether it’s by providing a full bio of every location’s head chef on its website. allowing those chefs to add their own specialty dishes to the menu, or via promotions like Tomahawk Tuesday, when there’s a three-course menu for two featuring tomahawk pork chops and rib-eyes. Beyond the specials, steaks include two sizes of filet mignon, bone-in or boneless rib-eyes and New York strips, as well as dry-aged rib-eyes. They can be topped with your choice of bearnaise, smoked chili butter or herbed horseradish butter and optional add-ons including truffle-poached lobster, spicy shrimp and Oscar-style. The rest of the menu blends the creative with the traditional and includes a seafood tower, seared pork belly with goat cheese grits, French onion soup, king crab legs and chipotle cheddar mac and cheese.
Morton's The Steakhouse/Yelp
Founded in Chicago in 1978 and now with more than 70 locations in the U.S. and abroad, Morton’s still buys its steaks from the same supplier as it did on day one. USDA Prime offerings include three rib-eye varieties (including one that’s Cajun-seasoned), a porterhouse, a New York strip, a filet, and pork, lamb and veal chops. Other menu items include mixed grills, braised short rib, two varieties of king crab legs, lobster tails, escargot, iceberg wedge and all the other classics that you’d expect from a great steakhouse. There are also special menus for gluten-free and soy-sensitive diners. Some locations also host “Celebrity Server” nights, when professional athletes don aprons to raise money for charity.
Ruth's Chris Steak House/Yelp
Ruth Fertel purchased the failing Chris Steakhouse in New Orleans in 1965 and converted it into an empire with more than 140 locations. Some might think that the restaurant’s trademark way of serving steaks — on 500-degree plates in a pool of sizzling butter — is a little bit of a gimmick, but we beg to differ. It’s a nod to the sense of excess that great steakhouses inspire and, most importantly, it’s delicious. In fact, using a little butter is one of those steakhouse secrets only the experts know. Filets in two sizes, rib-eyes both boneless and bone-in, T-bones, New York strips and porterhouses for two are USDA Prime. Other dishes include New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp, veal osso bucco ravioli and a killer white chocolate bread pudding for dessert. The wine list is expansive (with more than 200 bottles) and spans the world, and a stellar happy hour at the bar is one of the best chain restaurant happy hour deals around.
Mastro's Steakhouse/ Yelp
Mastro’s was founded in Scottsdale in 1999, and today there are 18 locations nationwide. Plush and opulent, Mastro’s prides itself on excellent service and also offers live music at its locations on most nights. The far-reaching menu includes more than a dozen steaks and chops, shellfish towers, king crab legs and claws, creative sushi rolls, caviar, foie gras, roasted bone marrow and stone crab when in season. The chain also offers more than 15 indulgent sides including king crab black truffle gnocchi, lobster mashed potatoes and gorgonzola mac and cheese. Its wine list was also given the Best of Award of Excellence by Wine Spectator for 2019. Each location of Mastro’s also happens to be insanely romantic.
Founded by Wolfgang Zwiener after he spent 40 years as head waiter at Brooklyn’s renowned Peter Luger Steakhouse, Wolfgang’s has 10 U.S. locations (including a Park Avenue flagship in New York) and 10 more in Asia. Its signature dish — the porterhouse — is a very faithful re-creation of the one served at its progenitor. USDA Prime, dry-aged in-house, and cooked under a ripping-hot broiler, it’s served thick-sliced, sizzling and perfectly cooked to order. Other steaks include New York strip, rib-eye and filet mignon. The menu is small and focused, with other dishes including lamb chops, grilled yellowfin tuna, sizzling Canadian bacon and whole lobsters. Luger’s influence is also clear through the classic tomato and onion salad, thick-sliced bacon and German potatoes. The California-heavy wine list is nicely varied.
Smith &Wollensky/ Yelp
A comparatively small chain with seven locations nationwide, one in London and one in Taipei, Taiwan, Smith & Wollensky was founded in 1977 by Alan Stillman, the founder of TGI Friday’s, and business partner Ben Benson. They famously named it using random surnames selected from the phone book. The silliness ends there, though — this chain takes its steaks very seriously. Behind its trademark green-and-white façade is a temple to meat, and it sources beef from renowned purveyors including Double R Ranch and Snake River Farms. USDA Prime and dry-aged for 28 days, the impressively wide variety of steaks include eight variations on the filet, a 28-ounce Cajun-marinated bone-in rib-eye, a 21-ounce bone-in New York strip and a 64-ounce Snake River Farms porterhouse. The menu is pleasingly small — it’s really all about the steak — but other offerings include spice-crusted lamb chops, shellfish towers, fried “angry” shrimp in a spicy lobster butter sauce and its split pea soup, which is among the most iconic restaurant dishes in America.
Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House/ Yelp
Lavish and opulent, Del Frisco’s, with 16 locations around the country, is one gorgeous place to eat a steak. The menu includes three sizes of filet, three New York strips, five rib-eyes, a 24-ounce porterhouse and a variety of wagyu options (including Japanese A5). The menu is ideal for those who are looking to splurge, with caviar and giant shellfish platters at the ready, and sides including king crab gnocchi, lobster mac and cheese and a tower of onion rings. There’s a wide-reaching wine list (most locations boast more than 1,200 bottles) and a sommelier ready to help you make your selection. For those in the know, lunch deals and weekend prix-fixes are usually great bargains, so you don’t need to wait for a special occasion to visit.
The Capital Grille, founded in Providence in 1990, has locations in 25 states and Washington, D.C. Steaks including the 32-ounce porterhouse, 14-ounce New York strip and steak au poivre are dry-aged for at least 18 days. Among the other steaks are a 22-ounce bone-in rib-eye, a 10-ounce filet, a coffee-rubbed sirloin and the signature porcini-rubbed Delmonico with 15-year-aged balsamic. Appetizers include a shellfish platter that boasts a whole 1-pound lobster, steak tartare, cast iron garlic shrimp and pan-fried calamari with hot cherry peppers. Other specialties include a veal tomahawk pork chop with gorgonzola butter, double-cut lamb chops with mint gremolata and a broiled lobster. The wine list, selected by sommelier Brian Philips, features more than 350 bottles, and the décor is always tasteful and refined. Seasonal promotions are icing on the cake. The annual Generous Pour, for example, allows diners to try seven different acclaimed wines for just $28. The Capital Grille is right up there with the very best restaurants in America.
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