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April/May 2009

Prime Time
Atlanta's Sizzling Steakhouses
by Deb North

Wildfire promises a true 1940s supper club atmosphere, complete with vintage jazz.

As the birthplace of Chick-fil-A, the second-largest fast-food chicken restaurant chain in the country, Atlanta is certainly well known for its poultry. However, the city also knows its beef. Atlanta is home to world-class restaurants that serve up some incredible steaks—tender, mouth-watering and full of flavor. But it’s not just about the prime beef. It’s also about the atmosphere. From a masculine, clubby eatery of which Al Pacino would approve, to a 1940s supper club warmed by soothing vintage jazz, here’s a sampling of some steakhouses that make Atlanta sizzle.


There’s no place like Bone’s, proudly serving Atlanta for 30 years. The Zagat Survey 2008 named Bone’s the highest-rated steakhouse in the U.S. for food and service. The look and feel of the restaurant interior is masculine and clubby, the kind of place you might expect to see Robert De Niro and Al Pacino conspiring at a table. Bone’s is known for its meaty portions of prime beef such as the 22-ounce bone-in ribeye or 16-ounce dry-aged NY strip or 14-ounce bone-in filet. Bone’s has the reputation as the goto place for business lunches and dinners. Bring your appetite: appetizers satisfy with the crab and lobster Napoleon with chardonnay cream, as well as a helping of hearty soups, salads, a nice seafood selection and large shareable a la carte side dishes. Bone’s also boasts an impressive 10,000-bottle wine gallery sure to satisfy even the connoisseur.

The Capital Grille

Comfortable elegance is one way to describe The Capital Grille, with its rich tapestry of African mahogany paneling, stuffed game heads and warm lighting emanating from its unique Art Deco chandeliers. Sizzling steaks and careful wine pairings are highlights on the menu. As a starting point, the lobster bisque is pure culinary genius: lumps of sweet lobster are sautéed to order and added to a velvety bisque, drizzled with Dry Sack sherry. A steak favorite is the Kona dry-aged sirloin, crusted with a combination of caramelized shallots, seasonings and coffee rub. Also classic is the porcini-rubbed Delmonico with 12-year-aged balsamic, and a new take on filet mignon—sliced with cippolini onions, wild mushrooms and au jus. Popular sides are the lobster mac-n-cheese, au gratin potatoes, and crisply tender garden-fresh asparagus with Hollandaise. If you can, save room for tempting desserts, as there is an assortment of daily handmade ice creams. The signature dessert is fresh strawberries Capital Grille with vanilla ice cream, ruby port and Grand Marnier sauce.

Maxim Prime

 Maxim Prime’s 32-ounce bone-in ribeye with watercress salad. Photo: Harold Daniels
Maxim Prime is an upscale, innovative dining experience newly brought to Atlanta by restaurant impresario Jeffrey Chodorow in partnership with Maxim magazine. The menu redefines the traditional steakhouse with its globally inspired cuisine and a focus on quality organic ingredients. The interior design is sleek and sophisticated with elements of whimsy that also play out on the dinner menu, with categories such as “legs and tails” and “threesomes.” Small plates can start off the taste experience, with truly original choices that range from seared foie gras “PB&J” to Moroccan spiced baby lamb chops to “millionaire deviled eggs” with white & black truffle and sturgeon caviar. Featured steaks are Brandt corn-fed, hormone-free dry-aged prime beef cuts such as filet, strip, skirt and flat-iron for individual servings, and bone-in filet, sirloin and ribeye that serve two. Classic surf-and-turf takes on new meaning at Maxim Prime with creative Japanese, Italian, Cuban and French imitations of steak and seafood.


Claudia and Doug McKendrick, along with seasoned restaurateur Rick Crowe, have over 25 years of fine dining experience and have brought this to 1940s-inspired McKendrick’s, open since 1995. The scene is clubby, with ample lush leather seating, solid oak walls and the sounds of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Tony Bennett. McKendrick’s boasts a “mean” martini for starters and a wine list with over 350 selections from around the globe, which has received awards from Wine Spectator magazine. The steakhouse serves aged centercut USDA prime beef along with succulent veal and lamb loin chops, fresh one-pound Australian coldwater lobster tail and meaty 10-ounce seafood “steaks.” A long list of appetizers and salads complements the dinner menu: favorites include seared sea scallops with spicy peanut sauce, tempura lobster with soy ginger; and traditionally tasty salads such as Caesar, wedge of iceberg with Maytag bleu cheese, and spinach with warm walnut and bacon vinaigrette.


Known for its focus on quality wood-fired steaks, chops and seafood, Wildfire is a true 1940s supper club with vintage jazz music and photos of entertainers warming up its bar and dining areas. Wildfire steaks are aged 21 to 28 days for maximum tenderness and taste, cooked to temperature, and they can be ordered with mushrooms, béarnaise sauce or one of their signature flavored crusts: horseradish, bleu cheese, parmesan and “double-baked” potato. The filet medallions Oscar is wildly popular, as are the roasted prime rib options. In addition to steaks, the Wildfire menu boasts great variety: starters such as wood-oven baked goat cheese with focaccia, numerous sandwiches, salads, barbecue ribs, rotisserie chicken and seafood dishes (cedar- planked salmon with brown sugar-soy glaze is a favorite).

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