How you order and eat your steak is more than a matter of preference. It’s also an indicator of taste and personal development. If you wanna argue about that, seek out someone who prefers well-done New York strip with a side of ketchup. On one hand, your meat, your rules. On the other, both the overcooking and the condiments mask the taste of some really fine aged beef, so it’s like buying $300 jeans and spray painting them. Why go to the expense in the first place?
There are all sorts of unspoken rules that pervade the steakhouse experience. Most people stick to medium-rare orders. But, savvy connoisseurs know tougher cuts ― like tri-tip, hangar, flank, skirt steak, and flap steak ― need time for their fibers to loosen up. Those need to be cooked past medium-rare. Knowing things like that, or that filet mignon is best not ordered on its own because it lacks flavor, mark you as an insider. And touching steak sauce is an affront, one that leaves jaded servers making meaningful eye contact with one another to signal yet another meat rube in the dining room.
Everything I know about steak, I learned on television under the tutelage of culinary personalities — watching people get dragged for their violations. I am not in a position to give you the definitive cut and temperature for the cultured carnivore. However, I do know a lot of really fine chefs, so I contacted them and asked about the best steaks they’ve ever ordered. Check out their answers, luxuriate in some beef porn, and hop into the comments to tell me that the best steak in the world is the one that you make. You know you want to.
Hawaii Volcano House (Hawaii National Park, HI)
Chef Erica Abell — Chef, Boneyard Bistro
I stayed in Hawaii a few years back, and almost every night for a week, I dined at the Volcano House and ordered the grilled New York steak, perfectly cooked and paired with a buttery lobster tail and locally grown mushrooms … amazing. It might have just been the island air and the fact that we were sitting, staring at a beautiful star-filled sky with an active volcano glowing in the distance, or it’s just one damn good steak!
Kevin Rathbun Steak (Atlanta, GA)
Chef Ian Winslade — Chef, Murphy’s and Morningside Kitchen
Kevin Rathbun has taken the classic steak house and interpreted those dishes with inventive twists while keeping the integrity of the menu solid. Along with the creative menu and the experience in the restaurant, the dry aged steak for two is a treat.
Tartine Manufactory (San Francisco, CA)
Chef David Baron — Executive Chef, Salt Wood Kitchen & Oysterette
In my opinion, the best steak out right now is the wood-roasted prime rib at Tartine Manufactory in San Francisco. They start with super high-quality meat and roast it over the wood fire to pure perfection. It comes with sides like potato gratin and vegetables and has a jus that is out-of-this-world. It seems that those guys are good at everything!
Les Halles (New York, NY)
Chef Navjot Arora — Executive Chef and Co-Owner, Old Monk
I think steak is best enjoyed with pommes frites, and Les Halles restaurant in NYC does a fantastic steak with fries. I like it cooked medium — ordering the steak tenderloin or filet mignon. Les Halles’ steak adds just the right amount of char. The restaurant’s atmosphere also adds to why I enjoy the steak so much: I was in Paris a few years back and it reminds me of enjoying steak frites there — it’s a very similar experience between the décor and ambiance.
Narcissa (New York, NY)
Chef Mike Pirolo — Chef and Owner, Macchialina
Best steak? This is a tough one, they’re so many great steakhouses across the U.S. that it’s hard to narrow it down to one. Ironically, the best steak I’ve had doesn’t even come from a steakhouse. Narcissa in New York City does a bone in ribeye that they slowly cook on a rotisserie for a few hours and then finish it on the grill. In cooking it that slow they allow for the outside of the steak to caramelize deeply while still keeping the meat very soft and juicy, it truly is delicious.
Peter Luger Steak House (New York, New York)
Chef Sarah Schafer — Owner and Executive Chef, Irving Street Kitchen
My one and only EVER pick is Peter Luger in Brooklyn NY. Nobody does it better. I even love the angry servers!
Smith and Wollensky ( Miami, FL)
Chef Santiago Gomez — Executive Chef, Cantina La Veinte
Smith and Wollensky never gets old. It’s a Miami classic! If you enjoy steak, the prime dry aged bone-in rib eye is the one — great quality and always perfectly seasoned. I recommend ordering it medium to medium rare. The water view makes enjoying it even better.
Peter Luger Steak House (New York, New York)
Chef Nina Compton — Chef and Co-owner, Compère Lapin
When it comes to steak, I’m a classic carnivore and nobody does it better than Peter Luger’s in Brooklyn. The porterhouse represents everything a good steak should be. It’s cut from short loin and has the perfect color, fat and marbling. The way they dry-age it really concentrates the flavor and creates such a tender melt-in-your-mouth texture. It’s simply prepared and broiled with salt — and that’s really all that’s needed. It’s the quintessential steak.
Laurelhurst Market (Portland, OR)
Chef Alan Maniscalco —Owner and Chef, Rally Pizza
If I’m eating steak, the chances are I cooked it myself. I’m good at it, and I know what I like. So, steak out is always part of a special evening, and I’m going all in on the meal. Laurelhurst Market is always my choice. They butcher all their own cuts in house, and their offerings are always changing. The menu, cocktails and wine list is stacked, top to bottom, with guaranteed winners. And, of course, they always cook the steak exactly how I want it.
Sir Winston at the Queen Mary (Long Beach, CA)
Chef Danny Allen — Executive Chef, Ways & Means Oyster House
The best steak in my book is the New York from Sir Winston’s, the restaurant on the top deck of the Queen Mary in Long Beach. The meat is served with grilled onions and marinated roasted tomatoes, complemented by fresh roasted vegetables and creamy gravy. I recommend it cooked medium rare.
Jean Georges Steakhouse (Las Vegas, NV)
Chef Craig Connole — Executive Chef, La Casa del Camino, K’ya Bistro Bar, The Rooftop Lounge
I have only been here twice, but they serve the best steaks my family and I have ever had anywhere — hands down! The prix fix menu allows you to sample a few different cuts, which is the way I like to dine. Their meat is at a whole different level of quality than mainstream steakhouses and restaurants. It’s almost like a different food altogether. Prior to my first time, I had never eaten steak like this. I’m not rich and didn’t want to spend the money, but it is truly worth every penny. Treat yourself at least once, or you’ll never know.
The Golden Steer (Las Vegas, NV)
Chef William Weisiger — Head Pitmaster, Ten50 BBQ
The Golden Steer serves up big steaks and classic starters like an Alaskan king crab cocktail. The décor and ambience is a trip back in time to vintage Vegas and lists a who’s who of past patrons — including Sinatra, Ali, Elvis and DiMaggio. I always get the 22 ounce bone-in rib eye, perfectly cooked to medium rare.
Knife (Dallas, TX)
Chef Tony Street — Chef and Owner, Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse
The 240 day dry aged 103 Niman Ranch rib eye at John Tesar’s restaurant, Knife, is unbeatable … and that is coming from a steakhouse owner!
The Capital Grille (National)
Chef Hiro Uchida — Chef and Kitchen Manager, The Blind Rabbit, The Alchemists, The Iron Press
I don’t usually go out to fine dining establishments, but if and when I’m craving a juicy piece of steak, I will most definitely make my way to South Coast Plaza and dine at The Capital Grille. They know their steaks there and know exactly how to prep and cook them up. They break down all their own meats and age them perfectly, so when they go from the grill to your plate, you are enjoying an extremely tender, juicy, and perfectly cooked piece of meat. I definitely suggest their aged NY strip or porterhouse, and both portions will leave you extremely satisfied with enough to take home and enjoy for a midnight snack!
Mr. John’s Steakhouse ( New Orleans, LA)
Chef Carl Schaubhut — Chef and Co-Owner, DTB (Down the Bayou)
Mr. John’s Steakhouse in New Orleans is an old school Italian steakhouse. It’s very dimly lit and all the servers have worked there for 30 plus years, and by the time you leave, you feel like you’re one of the family. They use all USDA prime and cut everything in-house. In fact, they opened a hamburger joint so they don’t waste all the trimmings. They sear the top and bottom in a 1500 degree broiler then add some butter on top, and you can hear it sizzling as it comes to your table. All you need is a fork and butter knife. I’m partial to the ribeye, but every cut is amazing. And it’s not a ‘break the bank’ type of steakhouse.