Living High on the Steer

Our expanded online guide to the area’s best steakhouses.

Pietro’s Prime’s cowboy ribeye with shrimp scampi garnish (Photo by Steve Legato)Go ahead, knock red meat all you want. But when it comes to good eating—at least for us carnivores—very little comes close to a well-cut hunk of USDA Prime beef cooked to a luscious medium-rare and sheathed in a smoky-sweet, caramelized exterior. Throw in sautéed mushrooms, a dollop of Gorgonzola cheese, and a sip of robust red wine, and you’ve got a mouthful worth drooling over.

If your favorite steakhouse has left you asking, “Where’s the beef?”—don’t despair. The local competition has only gotten fiercer, as this cheat sheet straight from the steakhouses proves.

Barclay Prime

237 S. 18th St., Philadelphia; (215) 732-7560,
Wet- or dry-aged: Dry.
Broiled or grilled: The broiler gets a major workout every day.
Seasoning secrets: Salt and black pepper.
Most popular cuts: Ribeye, filet and NY strip.
Prime: Yes, porterhouse and ribeye.
Kobe: Yes, from the Australian company Tajima.
Prepackaged or in-house cuts: The only product not cut in-house is the porterhouse.
Old-school or modern appeal: A luxury boutique steakhouse with a very modern feel from the menu to the décor.
Top sides: Creamed spinach, truffle whipped potatoes, and Tater Tots.
Signature cocktail: The “Ginger.”  
Wine philosophy: Diversity, compatibility and value.
Must-order dish: The hand-cut, 36-ounce Tajima porterhouse.
For the non-carnivore: Customized dishes for vegetarian guests, plus seafood entrées like pacific wild salmon, halibut, Dover sole, and butter-poached lobster.
Signature dessert: Toasted Peanut Butter S’mores, made in-house by pastry chef Frank Urso and his team.
How rare is rare: Too rare is mooing. But Barclay Prime typically defines “rare” as having a cool, red center.
Average number of covers on Saturday: 275-310.

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Brandywine Prime

Routes 1 and 100, Chadds Ford; (610) 388-8088,
Wet- or dry-aged: Dry-aged offered as a special, and typically a ribeye.
Broiled or grilled: Seared on a griddle, then finished to temperature under a steakhouse broiler.
Seasoning: Kosher salt, fresh-cracked black pepper, and a dollop of maitre d’hôtel (herbed) butter.
Must-order dishes: Ribeye (dry-aged), barrel-cut ribeye “filet” (only the eye of the steak), N.Y. strip, filet, bone-in filet.
Old-school or modern appeal: Straightforward seasoning of well-marbled meats; trends toward the younger diner.
Best deals: Bistro steak and half-price burger on Fridays.
Top sides: Lobster mashed potatoes, Kennett Square mushrooms, heirloom tomatoes (in-season).
Wine philosophy: Small, quality-minded artisanal producers.
For the non-carnivore: Pan-seared tuna with basmati rice and a light cucumber froth.
Signature dessert: Decadent ice creams made in-house.
Best lunchtime steak creation: Chadds Ford cheese steak—grilled, sliced hanger with blue cheese and Kennett Square mushrooms—served next door at sister restaurant Bistro on the Brandywine.
Cost of dinner for two: Around $100.

Shane Cash, great-nephew of Johnny Cash, runs the kitchen at Stephen Starr’s Butcher and Singer (Photo by Steve Legato)

Butcher and Singer

1500 Walnut St., Philadelpha; (215) 732-4444,
 Wet- or dry-aged: Dry-aged porterhouse and wet-aged prime beef from a local farm.
Broiled or grilled: Broiled.
Seasoning: Signature house spice with 18 ingredients.
Most popular cuts: Delmonico, filet mignon, dry-aged porterhouse.
Prepackaged or in-house cuts: In-house.
Old-school or modern appeal: Clubhouse feel reminiscent of the Brown Derby in Los Angeles and the 21 Club in New York; nostalgic, classic dishes.
Best deals: Single- and double-cut dry-aged porterhouse steaks.
Top sides: Hash-brown pie, green beans amandine, mushrooms.
Signature cocktails: The Manhattan, Pink Lady, Sidecar, Gimlet and other vintage drinks.
Private-party perks: The coveted back table for 16, removed from the main dining room but with a bird’s-eye view of all that’s going on.
For the non-carnivore: Lobster Thermidor.
Signature dessert: Baked Alaska made in-house.
Best lunchtime steak creations: Ribeye sandwich served with watercress, onions and horseradish; the warm steak salad.
Average Saturday crowd: 300.
Cost of dinner for two: Around $160.

The Capital Grille

1338 Chestnut St., Philadelphia; (215) 545-9588,
Wet- or dry-aged: Dry-aged is the specialty.
Broiled or grilled: Broiled.
Seasoning: It’s a secret—but try the Kona-crusted dry-aged sirloin, with its coating of special seasonings and coffee.
Most popular cuts: Filet mignon, dry-aged sirloin, dry-aged porterhouse, prime ribeye.
Prime: Dry-aged certified Angus and prime beef.
Kobe: Wagyu beef carpaccio served as an appetizer.
Prepackaged or in-house cuts: In-house.
Best deal: 30 wines for $30 or less per bottle.
Top sides: Fresh creamed spinach, lobster mac ’n’ cheese.
Signature cocktail: The Stoli Doli martini with pineapple-infused Stolichnaya vodka, chilled and served straightup.
Wine philosophy: Old World meets New.
Must-order dish: Porcini-rubbed Delmonico with 12-year-aged balsamic vinegar.
Best lunchtime steak creation: Boneless prime ribeye steak sandwich with caramelized onions and Havarti cheese on a grilled French loaf.
Cost of dinner for two: $150-$175.

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Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

555 E. Lancaster Ave., Radnor; (610) 688-9463,
Wet- or dry-aged: Wet.
Broiled or grilled: Broiled.
Seasoning: Salt, pepper and butter.
Most popular cut: Bone-in rib steak.
Pre-packaged or in-house cuts: In-house.
Best deal: $33.95 Sunday prime rib (three courses).
Top sides: Fleming’s potatoes, onion rings, sautéed corn.
Wine philosophy: 100 wines by the glass, and a bottle for every budget.
Must-order dish: Lobster tempura.
Signature dessert: Lava cake.
Average Saturday crowd: 325-400.
Cost of dinner for two: Around $150 (wine included).

Mile High Steak and Seafood

Cross Roads Shopping Center, Glen Mills; (610) 361-0855,
Wet- or dry-aged: Both.
Broiled, grilled or other: All three.
Seasoning secrets: Now, that’s a secret.
Most popular cuts: Cowboy, petite filet and bison ribeye.
Prime: Yes.
Kobe: Some.
Prepackaged or in-house cuts: Both.
Old-school or modern appeal: A deft balance of both.
Top sides: Lobster macaroni and cheese, roasted exotic mushrooms, asparagus topped with hollandaise sauce.
Must-order dish: Pan-roasted veal sirloin, or sautéed salmon with exotic mushrooms and crab risotto.
For the non-carnivore: Seafood selections.
Signature dessert: Warm house-made mini donut holes with three dessert sauces, tossed with cinnamon sugar and served with spiced chocolate tequila sauce, strawberry vanilla sauce and orange caramel sauce.
How rare is rare: A cold center.

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Morton’s the Steakhouse

640 W. Dekalb Pike, Suite 1250, King of Prussia; (610) 491-1900,
Wet- or dry-aged: Wet-aged three-four weeks; aging allows the natural enzymes to break down the meat tissues, making it more tender and flavorful.
Broiled or grilled: Broiled.
Seasoning secrets: A special seasoned salt for the steaks, but Morton’s operates under a less-is-more philosophy.
Most popular cuts: Ribeye, N.Y. strip, porterhouse.            
Prime: Midwestern, grain-fed USDA prime beef.
Kobe: No.
Prepackaged or in-house cuts: Cut to Morton’s specifications and packed in Cryovac from Allen Bros. and Stockyards.
Old-school or modern appeal: Classic, timeless Midwestern steakhouse feel.
Top sides: Creamed spinach, Lyonnaise potatoes, grilled jumbo asparagus served with a balsamic glaze.
Signature cocktails: Heavenly Mortinis with Morton’s signature foam, including the Heavenly Pear Mortini, Thyme Lemon Drop and Caipirinha.
Wine philosophy: Buy American.
Private-party perks: Two private dining boardrooms, available with no extra room charge; high-definition, theater-style broadcasting system for anything from presentations to watching your favorite sporting events.
Must-order dish: Morton’s signature porterhouse.
How rare is rare: Black and blue, charred on a flat top, with a cold, red center.
For the non-carnivore: Broiled salmon fillet, sesame-encrusted yellowfin tuna, jumbo lump crab cakes, whole baked Maine lobster, lobster tail, Alaskan king crab legs.
Signature dessert: Hot chocolate cake, served with vanilla ice cream and raspberries.

Newtown Grill

191 S. Newtown Street Road, Newtown Square; (610) 356-9701,
Wet- or dry-aged: Dry-aged.
Broiled or grilled: Broiled.
Most popular cut: Aged N.Y. strip.
Prime: Choice to prime.
Kobe: Burger and slider.
Prepackaged or in-house cuts: In-house.
Best deals: Sliders and Tagliata: sliced N.Y. strip, caramelized onions and sharp Provolone sauce.
Top sides: French fries, mashed potatoes, penne vodka.
Signature cocktail: Solé Martini—Trump vodka, champagne, a splash of cranberry and an orange slice.
Must-order dish: Delmonico ribeye with smoked sea salt.
Signature dessert: Amaretto cherry cheesecake made in-house.
Best lunchtime steak creation: Tuscan cheese steak with Gorgonzola and roasted peppers.
Cost of dinner for two: Around $65.

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The Palm at the Bellevue

200 S. Broad St., Philadelphia; (215) 546-7256,
Wet- or dry-aged: Wet-aged.
Broiled, grilled or other: Primarily broiled, but also pan-seared and sautéed.
Seasoning secrets: Olive oil and kosher salt.
Most popular cuts: Filet mignon, N.Y. strip, ribeye.
Prime: 100-percent USDA prime.
Kobe: No.
Prepackaged or in-house cuts: Some of both.
Old-school or modern appeal: Old-school.
Best deals: Lunch specials like twin tenderloin filets with mashed potatoes for $15.50, fresh-cut seafood, traditional Italian specialty dishes.
Top sides: Creamed or sautéed spinach, three-cheese potatoes, hash browns.
Signature cocktails: Classic martinis and Manhattans.
Wine philosophy: Fabulous selection with a price range for everyone’s taste.
Must-order dish: Chicken Parmigiana.
For the non-carnivore: Seafood selection and/or Italian specialty dishes.
Signature dessert: Big fat chocolate or carrot cakes.
Best lunchtime steak creation: Philly cheese steak from shaved prime sirloin.
How rare is rare: A cool, red center.
Average Saturday crowd: 375 in the main dining room, plus another 100 in private rooms.
Cost of dinner for two: $150 (with a $60 bottle of wine).

Pietro’s Prime’s cowboy ribeye with shrimp scampi garnish (Photo by Steve Legato)

Pietro’s Prime

125 W. Market St., West Chester; (484) 760-6100,
Wet- or dry-aged: Both.
Broiled or grilled: Grilled.
Most popular cuts: Filet, cowboy ribeye, dry-aged T-bone.
Kobe: Burger at lunch.
Prepackaged or in-house cuts: Both.
Top sides: Creamed corn, beer-battered onion rings, smashed potatoes.
Signature cocktails: The martinis; try the classic dry with blue-cheese-stuffed olives.
Wine philosophy: Choices, choices, choices. Traditional favorites, along with smaller-production wines from around the globe.
Must-order dish: The surf-and-turf special—melt-in-your-mouth filet and lobster tail.
For the non-carnivore: Creative seafood entrées and a few vegetarian options.
Best lunchtime steak creation: Slow-roasted prime-rib sandwich with Provolone cheese and horseradish cream sauce.
Cost of dinner for two: $80-$100.

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Ruth’s Chris Steak House

220 N. Gulph Road, King of Prussia; (610) 992-1818,
Wet- or dry-aged: Wet-aged.
Broiled or grilled: Broiled and served on a plate heated to 500 degrees.
Seasoning: Salt, pepper and butter.
Most popular cuts: Petite filet, filet, ribeye.
Prepackaged or in-house cuts: Prepackaged and Cryovac sealed.
Top sides: Garlic mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, sautéed mushrooms.
Signature cocktail: Knockout wine list.
Wine philosophy: The finest steaks deserve the finest wines in the world.
Must-order dish: Cowboy ribeye.
Signature desserts: Crème brûlée, chocolate mousse cheesecake and caramelized banana crème pie—all made in-house.
Cost of dinner for two: Around $210.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House

260 S. Broad St., Philadelphia; (215) 790-1515,
Wet- or dry-aged: Wet-aged.
Broiled or grilled: Broiled in a 1,500-degree broiler.
Seasoning secrets: Salt and pepper.
Most popular cuts: Filet, cowboy ribeye, strip.
Prime: Yes.
Kobe: No.
Prepackaged or in-house cuts: Pre-cut.
Old-school or modern appeal: Both.
Top sides: Sweet potato casserole, creamed spinach, mashed potatoes.
Signature cocktails: Chocolate Decadence martini and the Redheaded Knockout.
Wine philosophy: 300 bottles for all budgets.
Private-party perks: $100 gift card for booking agent.
Must-order dish: Barbecued shrimp.
For the non-carnivore: Live lobster, lobster tails, fresh fish, shrimp, vegetarian dishes.
Signature dessert: In-house crème brûlée.
How rare is rare: A red, cool center.
Average Saturday crowd: 350.
Cost of dinner for two: $120.

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Smith and Wollensky

Rittenhouse Hotel, 210 W. Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia; (215) 545-1700,
Wet- or dry-aged: Dry-aged.
Broiled or grilled: Charbroiled.
Seasoning secrets: Kosher salt.
Most popular cuts: Filet mignon, sirloin, rib steak.
Prime: Prime.
Kobe: No.
Prepackaged or in-house cuts: Butchered in-house.
Old-school or modern appeal: A little of both.
Best deals: Pre-theater prix-fixe dinner.
Top sides: Creamed spinach, macaroni and cheese, hashed browns.
Signature cocktail: The “classic” martini.
Wine philosophy: Over 300 bottles, with many hard-to-find wines highlighting the list.
Private-party perks: Seating for up to 90 people.
Must-order dish: USDA prime charbroiled bone-in ribeye.
For the non-carnivore: A wide selection of “simply grilled” fish—including salmon, tuna, swordfish and sea bass—plus lots of shellfish offerings.
Signature dessert: The “gigantic” chocolate cake; all desserts made in-house.
Best lunchtime steak creation: Steak Wollensky.

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