Any Difference Between High-End Steak Houses?

In my area, we have Del Frisco’s, Mortons, Capital grill, Smith&Wollensky, etc. Assuming that they all serve super premium quality meant, how much difference can there be between them? Grilling a steak is not rocket science; do most of these restaurants rate about equal, according to the critics?

Consistency, service, sides - that’s where the big differences are, assuming competent kitchen staff and the same meats.

For me, it’s the side dishes. Cooking a steak perfectly is more science than art, but great sides are a bit trickier.

Wine selection is also a factor, though I’d rather have whiskey with my steak.

I agree that sides make a big difference and I would also say ambience is just as important, to me at least. One would hope that once you get into a certain price bracket service should be excellent regardless of the other factors.

I’ve been to a couple of the ones listed in the OP (plus Ruths Criss or however it’s spelled) and for me Del Frisco’s is always 100% perfect. Never had a steak cooked even slightly wrong, never had a bad side dish, waitstaff is always superb. The others that I’ve tried are all great, but I’ve never left Del Frisco’s without being totally satisfied.

This has not been a paid endorsement :wink: :smiley:

On a scale of 1-10 how white trash is it that the closest I have ever come to a high end steakhouse is eating at outback? Sorry to distract from the thread but now I’m depressed.

I wouldn’t call Outback white trash, but it doesn’t really qualify as a steakhouse. It’s a generic American restaurant that has steak on the menu.

Unless you have money to waste or are on someone else’s dime (like a company expense account), you have nothing to be ashamed of. The step up in price and pretentiousness from Outback/Roadhouse/Longhorn to Chris/Mortons/S&W is significant. Yes, the steaks are better, no doubt about it. But my sense of fairness and value just can’t handle paying $50 for a steak, and that comes with no salad or side dish. You have to pay another $25+ for a salad and side dish, plus $10-$15 for a single drink. No thank you, not with my own money.

Of course, I seldom eat steak out anywhere, as I cook my own at home for a fraction of even the lower-end steak houses.

As **Johnny **said, not white trash. And I would classify it as a steak house in the sense that that’s what they’re mainly known for (or used to be?), though obviously not in the same category as the others being mentioned here. Also, I’ve had some pretty damned good meals at Outback.

It was more of a joke than anything, ‘white people problems’ as Louis ck would call them.

I’ve eaten at a number of the “higher-end” places mentioned upthread, and others, and I don’t remember those meals nearly as much as I do one that I had at Outback several years ago. My wife and I were trying to cram in several Best-Picture-nominated movies at a cineplex, and we took a break for lunch between films. I wasn’t expecting much at Outback, but it was a quick walk from the theater. The steak I had at Outback was, as **WOOKINPANUB **states, pretty damned good, but the exceptional service (we ate at the bar, and the bartender seemed sincerely happy we – and everyone else – were there) really changed my mind about the franchise. If I’m in the mood for steak and don’t want to get too spendy, I’d definitely return to Outback.

And at a fraction of the quality.

Las Vegas has some of the best steakhouses in the country, and for my dime Delmonico at Venetian/Palazzo tops the list. We have never had less than stellar service there, and just reading the menu can make me drool. The steaks are excellent, but then so are the steaks at a dozen other places in town. It’s the ambiance, the way the staff pretends they remember us (computers make notes on returning customers easy), and sides that are a feast in their own right. THAT’S what makes a high-end steak house special.

They’re all pretty good. Mostly the main differences are in décor and ambiance. ie Del Friscos always feels like a place where bankers and lawyers take their clients. Ruths Chris feels like the high end steak restaurant in the upscale suburban mall. Smith & Wollensky goes for that look of the steak house that’s been there 100 years. Morton’s is the place where your rich grandfather goes with his friends.

The nice thing about New York is you also have all these one-off places like Peter Lugers, Strip House, Keens that are all really good.

I’ve eaten at Ruth’s Chris and a couple others, but the high-end steakhouse I enjoyed the most was Artist’s Point at Disney World’s Fort Wilderness resort. Best bison filet I’ve ever tasted and also the best Cedar Plank Salmon.

Yep… it’s ambiance, sides and booze (wine & mixed drinks). I’m somewhat familiar with the steakhouses here in Dallas, having visited Al Biernat’s, Dakota’s, Nick & Sam’s, Bob’s, III Forks, Ruth’s Chris, Morton’s and Chamberlain’s (the ones I can recall off the top of my head).

ALL of them produce an excellent steak. There are minor variations in the seasoning, but most of the difference between the places are in the ambiance, side-dishes and booze. For example, Al Biernat’s is (or was, when I went), one of the see & be seen places where you’d be likely to see various celebrities. III Forks was more of the high-end steakhouse for the hoi polloi. And Nick and Sam’s attempts to portray an image of a steakhouse where the Rat Pack would have eaten. Chamberlain’s was as much a high-end restaraunt as a strict steakhouse, having prime rib, fish and other non-steak entrees prominently featured on the menu.

Honestly, you can pretty much duplicate a steakhouse steak if you’re willing to go to a high end butcher shop and get a USDA Prime steak and cook it properly. You’re going to the restaurant for the other stuff.

Wow. That would make dinner for two with a couple cocktails, tax and tip somewhere in The $250 to $300 range. That’s a third of my monthly food budget.

I’m with you on the cook at home choice. I can grill up a couple of porterhouse or ribeye steaks,toss a couple coil wrapped potatoes in the coals and make a salad for less then $30. And cooking for a lady for a date never hurts either.

For me, ambiance is a negative. I don’t want it. If I want a steak, I want the steak. If I can purchase a high quality steak and make it myself (fwiw, I have cooked 1000s of meals for paying customers in a previous life) and enjoy it at home, that beats any sort of ambiance imaginable. I don’t want to be around white trash, upper class or anything in between while I enjoy my steak.

That’s about right. I don’t think we’ve ever left Delmonico without dropping at least $300.

It’s worth it.

Twice a year, Donald Trump pays for my steak dinner at Robert’s in Atlantic City**. It is always an exquisite experience, from the bar, to the service, to the food. The best dessert I ever had in my life was here.

Every once in a while you should splurge for such an experience. Sure, you can have more “fun” at Outback (and I love Outback), but taking a breath of the rarefied air give you a different perspective.

I’ve eaten at several other high-end steakhouses and without exception the food is always top notch. But the bar service and the attention sets Robert’s just a notch above.

**comp points at the Taj LOL

Nitpick: Artist Point is at the Wilderness Lodge at Walt Disney World, not Fort Wilderness. (Fort Wilderness is on the other side of Bay Lake.)

In any event, I agree that Artist Point is great. We’ve eaten there at least six times. Other high-end places to get a steak at Walt Disney World include the California Grill, Yachtsman Steakhouse, Le Cellier, and Jiko.

Technically, only the Yachtsman Steakhouse and Le Cellier are true steakhouses; the rest of these restaurants have a fantastic steak or filet mignon on the menu, but have a variety of other entrees as well.