Nothing says timeless like the smooth leather booths, dark woods and hint of mystery of a steakhouse. (Can’t you hear Frank Sinatra crooning as the rib-eye sizzles on the grill?) Today, many of these classics are adding innovative culinary and decorative twists, whether it’s local beef, elaborate garden seating or the best mac ’n cheese you’ll ever eat. Much like your 2014 Chevrolet Impala—a stunning reinterpretation of engineering—these restaurants are taking style and refinement to the next level.
The Local Chicago, Chicago, IL
Step into the beautiful garden setting, surrounded by 3,000 plants—including an array of red, white and blue flowers—and prepare for the freshest of feasts. Choose a traditional steakhouse meal, like filet mignon or roast prime rib, or sample something more unusual, like Dr. Pepper BBQ baby back ribs, lobster quesadillas, mac and cheese carbonara with crab or a Kobe beef hot dog. Top it all off with the classic of classic desserts—apple brown Betty—and you’ll be singing “Fly Me to the Moon” all the way out the door.
SW Steakhouse, Las Vegas, NV
Dine beside the romantic Lake of Dreams at this Wynn Las Vegas hot spot. Not only can you savor a remarkable chile-rubbed double rib-eye or pepper-crusted chateaubriand, but the menu also includes an impressive vegan selection (considering it’s a steakhouse), with items such as root vegetable quinoa cakes and asparagus and chanterelle risotto.
Urban Farmer, Portland, OR
Pull up a chair at this restored farmhouse’s 20-foot-long communal table and enjoy a farm-to-table meal filled with sustainable ingredients from around the Northwest. Go light with the scallop ceviche, King salmon and local greens, or opt for a hearty feast, with caramelized onion soup, a 24-ounce porterhouse and a decadent mud pie.
Oak Steakhouse Restaurant, Charleston, SC
Creativity is king at this South Carolina steakhouse, located in a 150-year-old bank. One glance at the menu is enough to jumpstart your hunger: whole fried lobster; steak that’s Low Country-style with local shrimp compound; bone-in South Carolina pork chop; truffled pommes frites, and the list goes on. The ingredients come from Low Country farmers and fisherman, keeping the food fresh and local as can be.
Churrascos, Houston, TX
Add some spice to your steak dinner at this Latin-style steakhouse, where, in addition to the Churrasco (a charcoal-grilled center-cut beef tenderloin steak basted in chimichurri), you can enjoy flaky empanadas, corn-smoked crab fingers, bacon-wrapped shrimp taquitos, chorizo Caribbean rice and more. Save room for the tres leches cake.
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Kate Silver blogs at Kate Silver’s Very Important Blog and Parents.com, and writes regularly for Spirit Magazine, the Chicago Tribune and Midwest Living.
Oak Steakhouse Beef Carpaccio photo by Andrew Stephen Cebulka