I'll take a steak...
If I am in charge of picking a restaurant, 90% of the time I will opt for a location that is known for its creative dishes that defy easy categorization. I like general menus that have a little bit o’meat, a smattering of chicken, an option for pasta, and great fish. I think of it as “California cuisine” which, by my definition, means that it’s creative and healthy at the same time. That’s my default mode and it’s served me well. However, it’s also kept me experiencing only a narrow range of the food that this city has to offer. That’s been the fun of The List adventure; both Billy and I have gotten out of that rut and have learned about a wide variety of ethnic cuisine. The List has made both of us try new dishes, not just new restaurants. I can’t wait to tell you about the second half of our journey through the tour of fabulous food. However, before I get to that, I thought I’d take a quick detour to some of the Atlanta steakhouses.
First and foremost, I haven’t had a bad piece of meat at any of the locations below. If you’re opening a steakhouse in this city that has the likes of Bones and Chops competing for customers, you better know how to buy and prepare a great cut of meat. This means that the medium- rare steak isn’t overcooked, and the bone-in cuts are tender enough to melt in your mouth. Getting the meat right is, in golfing vernacular, “the green fees” for playing in the restaurant scene.
So in my mind, oddly enough, steakhouses aren’t distinguished by their meat. Nope. Not for me. I judge a steakhouse based on everything else I might like about the place. That usually means the vibe and the sides. For example, I love the mushrooms at Stoney River, but the vibe doesn’t feel right. The last time we ate there, the place was crawling with prom dates. Hmmm. The truffle butter mashed potatoes at Bones are incredible, but the vibe is so strictly “business” that I wouldn’t go there on a date night. I’m surprised they don’t pass out cigars in the place. The food is excellent, but you’ll only see me there for a work meal.
I could eat my weight in onion rings at Chops, but the vibe downstairs at The Lobster Bar is MUCH more fun. They also have the best au poivre sauce in town, so order that if you go! Kevin Rathbun Steak gives off a great vibe, but I don’t even recall the sides. BLT Steak is worth the visit just for these popovers.
However, these days I’m digging the newest entrant on the Steakhouse scene, STK in Midtown. It’s got both the vibe and the sides. The restaurant is located in the heart of Midtown and feels open, airy, and decidedly hip. I’m not exactly in the “hip” scene these days, but I LOVE getting a front row view of what the scene looks like! I also could consume enough of the bread to go into a carbohydrate coma. The rolls are covered in a melted bleu cheese – um – yum.
The simple pear & endive salad is so perfectly dressed and paired with candied pecans that I squealed a little when I ate it. And then there’s the tuna tartare. As odd as it sounds, I love it when a steakhouse knows how to serve raw fish. There is a slight hint of pineapple and shallots that brings out the delicate taste of the fish. I would have been happy to just order a double portion of tartare and call it a night.
Finally, if you go to STK for the sides be sure to order the creamy corn pudding. Just might send you over the edge!