|Steaking The Claim
Atlanta's Sizzling Steakhouses
by Deb North
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 2009 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 go-to 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, though, 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.
Chops/Lobster Bar is pleased to have executive chef Daryl Gassmann master the art of its fine American cuisine after a long career under famed Atlanta restaurateur Pano Karatassos. The atmosphere at Chops is warm and jazzy with dark woods defining the dining space. The first floor Lobster Bar (dinner only) is a seafood lover’s paradise featuring its signature flash-fried lobster tail and jumbo lump crab cocktail, among other delicacies. Chops features the best USDA prime-aged beef cooked to your liking, such as prime NY strip au poivre with brandy pepper sauce (12-ounce) and bone-in porterhouse (filet and sirloin), either 24-ounce or a whopping 40-ounce to feed two. You can also get genuine Wagyu (Japanese) Kobe beef in a 12-ounce NY strip. Side dishes serve two or more, and specialties include lyonnaise potatoes, crisped hash browns, fresh corn mash and creamed spinach, among others.
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 400 selections from around the globe, which has received awards from Wine Spectator magazine. The steakhouse serves aged center-cut 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 accommodates the dinner menu: favorites include 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).