Dim Memories

Here’s a list of steakhouses in the U.S., ranked in reverse order.  (Follow the link to get the music and lyrics, otherwise just skip to the list below.)  I should point out that other than one or two, I haven’t been to any of them in ages (hence the title of this post), so things might have changed since then.

  • Logan’s Roadhouse — never been there
  • Texas Roadhouse — ditto
  • LongHorn Steakhouse — no idea why this is so low on the list;  I’ve been to several, and they were all good
  • Hoss’s Family Steak & Sea — never been there;  “hoss” and “steak” do not belong together, except maybe in La Belle France
  • Outback Steakhouse — not bad, at least the steaks are decent;  and it’s not really Strylian, which is in its favor
  • Saltgrass Steak House — this should be higher on the list;  I’ve been to several all over Texas, and all were excellent
  • Sizzler — are you fucking kidding me?  If this POS is on the list (never mind being so highly ranked), can Waffle House be far behind?
  • Ruth’s Chris Steak House — not bad, but suffers from having the Most Unpronounceable Name Evah
  • Black Angus Steakhouse — never been there
  • Morton’s — never had a bad meal at Morton’s;  it was my go-to place for client lunches and dinners, and should be near the top
  • Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar — also excellent.  We celebrated Doc Russia’s bachelor party there, and even the hard-to-impress Mr. Free Market had a good time
  • Fogo de Chão — I can’t eat there because the prices are too high for my suppressed diet;  would love to try them though
  • The Capital Grille — too fucking spendy, even for client expense-account dining.

Add your thoughts to the list.  Mmmmmm… steak.

12 comments

  1. I’ve never been, but What I Hear from folks who have (including my baby sister the Senator) that Ruth’s Chris’s (just to make it hard to pronounce) prices are embarrassingly high. One mentionn of a bunch of politicians in a Western US capital whose government AmEx card was rejected for insufficient funds (or whatever it’s called when it’s a credit card, not a check).

  2. I agree Morton’s is tops in my book, too. Spendy, but the value is there, never disappoints. I’m surprised Sullivan’s is not on the list, I’ve always enjoyed them.

    However, my wife and I quit going to steak joints after I got a sous vide device. I thought it was a gimmick until I tried it, but it is literally impossible to screw up a thick steak with one. PRO TIP: get to Costco when it opens and look through the Choice ribeyes and you’ll often find one that looks almost Prime, but you have to get there early before they get picked over. Also find some that are late dated (red circle on the date), they’re usually marked down quite a bit.

    After the sous vide I experimented with the reverse sear, either on the grill or putting a 2” ribeye in a 225* oven until it hits about 125, then sear. I’m a believer in Weber’s with a sear burner, got my last grill last year and at my age it will likely last my lifetime. Easily.

    Now that I’ve learned to make the perfect steak, the wife doesn’t want to go to Steak Houses any more, she says mine are just as good. Find Luger’s creamed spinach recipe on the web and Chef John’s excellent Fondant Potatoes and you a Morton’s quality dinner at home. Splurge on a spendy bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape with the money you save. Splendid.

    If you don’t have a grill with a sear burner, pull the steak about 125* (for medium rare) and heat a cast iron skillet on HIGH on the gril and sear in that. Do it in the house and the fire alarm will go off.

    JC

  3. I’ve done Texas, Longhorn, Outback, and Sizzler, and liked all of them. But I haven’t been to any steak joint in over 10 years. Maybe 15. With a little practice I learned the art of doing the most perfect steak on my own grill.

    It starts with a quality, personally chosen steak that has been pre-prepared properly, then coaxed to perfection with fire. My personal favorite is a 22-24 oz Porterhouse. I will most likely never eat in a steak joint again as the price is just not justifiable.

    Once I broke out of the loop I learned how disgusting it is to sit in close confinement with perfect strangers, trying to enjoy my meal with every sort of distraction you can imagine.

    The worst was in an Outback while an old dood across the aisle violently tried to cough up a lung while everybody else at his table expressed over the top concern. I was expecting the EMT’s to show up. What a damper.

  4. Fogo de Chao and its competitors never disappoint. But I’ve confined myself to a single annual birthday visit, always preceded by a length beefsteak fast. ‘Cause I’m gonna do some serious catching up.

  5. Logan’s, Texas Roadhouse, and Longhorn are basically 3 peas in a pod as far as I can tell. Chains with similar themes and menus. Food is acceptable, prices are only reasonable compared to others. This day and age, eating out at a steak place is 2nd mortgage type of expensive.

    Outback has fallen IMO, but maybe it’s just the one in my area. Once other restaurants learned how to cook a blooming onion there was really no reason to ever go back.

    I agree with your assessment of Saltgrass, one of the best I’ve been to in the past decade.

    And I thought the last Sizzler closed down in the late 70’s? Damn. Maybe that was the Sizzlin Steakhouse I’m thinking of? Either way, haven’t been in forever.

    But as others have said, once you get halfway decent with either a grill or a cast iron skillet, there’s no reason to pay steakhouse prices when you can make the same at home. My son does the sous vide thing and swears by it, I think I do just as well with my Weber and a sear setting.

  6. Longhorn -always had a good meal there except I find there baked potatoes loaded with salt
    Texas Roadhouse -Haven’t been in ages
    Ruth’s Chris -have never been
    LOgan’s Roadhouse -been to one in Ohio. it was bad. steak like shoe leather. A bunch of ranchers PETA should have strung up the kitchen staff for being so cruel to a good steer.
    Outback haven’t been to in ages. I’m not missing anything from the fake Aussies.

    Most of the rest I haven’t been to and some I never heard of them.

    Some publication put out a list of best steakhouses in America and two are not far from me. One is J Gilbert’s which has about 4-6 locations. I’ve always had a great steak there. After ChiCom Flu their menu has been drastically reduced unfortunately. Another is Barberie’s Black Angus. Exceptionally well aged steak. David Burke, some celebrity chef I guess, has his restaurant Prime at one of the casinos but haven’t tried it. Gordon Ramsay has a Hell’s Kitchen nearby too but haven’t tried that either.

  7. I’ve been to most of them, but the only three I frequent would be Saltgrass (it’s decent enough), Morton’s and Ruth’s.

    But TBH, there are non chain restaurants here like Chamberlains, Three Forks, and others that are head and tails better than Ruth’s. I hit Chamberlains about twice a year. The owners pivoted to a moderate-high priced take out during the Great Coof Scare, keeping his people working. He’s had waiters that have been there for years.

    But like others in the thread here said, Steak is pretty easy to do yourself. You can go to Hirsche’s butcher here in Plano, get aged ribeyes, and feast for a fraction of the cost of the night out.

  8. Fogo de Chao – Quite good but very spendy (all you can eat steak probably should be). That said, I’m convinced they don’t make a profit on me. This is a once a year treat for myself and my bride.

    Flemmings – Really good. Went there for the first time a few months ago and was genuinely impressed. There was a bit of sticker shock on the menu, but I’m hard pressed to make the argument that it wasn’t worth every penny.

    Texas Roadhouse – Nice enough for when I don’t want to grill my own. Their bacon cheeseburger is pretty good. Not bad, but nothing to write home to mom about. My in-laws swear by their prime rib.

    Logan’s Roadhouse – Pretty much a carbon copy of Texas Roadhouse all the way down to the decor.

    Outback – About the same quality as Texas Roadhouse but the steaks tend to be a little overpriced. That said, their Bloomin’ Onion is hard to beat. Other than a flag in the corner and a couple stereotypical Australian sayings on the menu, I don’t feel like it is any more authentically Australian than Taco Bell is Mexican.

    Saltgrass – Meh. I think there is a reason our local one went out of business but if others stick up for the franchise, I’m happy to consider ours a one-off.

    Not on the list:

    Bonanza – Sorry, I just had to mention this. Maybe this is a midwest thing or just a Michigan thing, but good heavens what a dumpster fire. There was almost no difference in quality between the chopped steak (hamburger patty without the bun) and anything steak on the menu. The rest of your meal was all buffet style. I think it says a lot about your steaks when customers go up for seconds on salad.

    In the end, I normally prefer my own. A couple ribeyes for my wife and son and a couple New York strips for my daughter and I from our local grocery, some seasoning, a little heat and it is kinda easy to do as well as a restaurant. I will even do the occasional fillet.

  9. I’m a little surprised, (no, fuck that. A lot surprised) that Smith & Wollensky isn’t on that list.
    In my neck of the woods, there’s a local guy named Jeff Ruby who runs a couple of steak joints that are superb. He even kicked OJ out of one of his establishments, so he’s got that going for him … which is nice.

  10. I’ve only been to a few of those, but I would say that Texas Roadhouse has the best steak of any chain I have been to. However, since I hate loud music when dining, and I absolutely LOATHE country “music”, It really isn’t on my list of places to go. Also the less said about the staff dropping everything to line dance occasionally, the better.

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