Carnivore's Guide: Best Steakhouses in Seattle

The mouthwatering promise of really good meat at a steakhouse
Allison Austin Scheff  |   November 2010   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION

here is nothing quite like dinner at a steakhouse. The sense of occasion, the mouthwatering promise of really good meat, tip-top service and splurging on that excellent bottle of red—it all adds up to a special night out. Lucky us, we went to them all so you can better decide which fits your style.

The Metropolitan Grill
The Vibe: Old-school bankers and expense-accounters with loosened ties rub elbows with recent fraternity house members and dads celebrating birthdays—all getting the royal treatment at Seattle’s signature steakhouse.
The beef: Wagyu and corn-fed, dry-aged USDA Prime steaks cooked over mesquite
Notable sides: Notable sides: Sautéed mushrooms ($9), asparagus with béarnaise sauce ($10), creamed spinach ($9)
Price of porterhouse: $63 for 25 ounces

Daniel’s Broiler
The Vibe: A less macho, more neighborly steakhouse (the Leschi location is especially approachable). There’s still plenty of burnished mahogany, but it’s the kind of place that doesn’t scream steakhouse. The crowd reflects this: Couples on casual dates and groups of coworkers feel equally at home.
The beef: Corn-fed, Prime steaks broiled at 1,800 degrees
Notable sides: Lobster mashed potatoes with bacon ($11), truffle fries ($8), creamed spinach with bacon ($9)
Price of porterhouse: $58 for 24 ounces

Jak’s Grill
The Vibe: Yes, there are tall booths and the lighting is dim, but Jak’s is less a steakhouse in feel than all the others on our list. We love that it seems like a second home, and that the locals treat it as such, stopping in for dinner or lunch in casual dress.
The beef: Corn-fed, dry- and wet-aged (depending on the cut) Nebraska beef
Notable sides: Garlic mashed potatoes ($4), sautéed mushrooms ($7), potato pancakes ($4)
Price of porterhouse: $43.95 for 21 ounces

The Capital Grille
The vibe: Suited women (and their male counterparts, naturally) stop in after work for martinis and appetizers, and families celebrating special occasions settle into the plush dining room for big-ticket steak dinners at this high-end national chain.
The beef: In-house, dry-aged steaks
Notable sides: Lobster mac and cheese ($14), Vidalia onion rings ($9), creamed spinach ($9)
Price of porterhouse: $46 for 24 ounces

Morton’s the Steakhouse
The Vibe: This is the macho steak lover’s paradise, filled with diners in search of a classic steakhouse experience, with tuxedoed servers, perfect martinis and expense-accounters who look as if they wish they could light up a stogie.
The beef: Mostly wet-aged Prime beef
Notable sides: Lyonnaise potatoes ($10), sautéed spinach and mushrooms ($9), steak fries ($10)
Price of porterhouse: $54 for 24 ounces

El Gaucho
The vibe: Big spenders are here for a show. The dim lighting, flaming skewers of beef,  intimate booths and the occasional sighting of a big-time sports celebrity all add up to major drama.
The beef: Custom 28-day dry-aged Prime and certified Angus beef
Notable sides: Gaucho mac and cheese ($12), wild mushroom risotto ($8), the Full Gaucho potato with New York sharp cheddar cheese sauce ($6)
Price of porterhouse: $75 for 24 ounces
 
Sullivan’s Steakhouse
The vibe: Out-of-town corporate execs venturing out for post-meeting cocktails and dinner in a familiar environment. The jazz-inspired décor, sprawling marquee and showman-like bartenders give it a slightly Vegas sheen.
The beef: 30-day-aged Certified Angus beef
Notable sides: Creamed spinach ($8), hand-cut tempura onion rings ($7), white cheddar au gratin potatoes ($8)
Price of porterhouse: $43 for 24 ounces
 
Ruth’s Chris Steak House
The vibe: A large, open kitchen, white linen tablecloths and lights that bathe patrons in a lovely golden glow are the cornerstones to the look of this traditional chain. Its popular happy hour packs in downtown office workers looking to unwind with a cocktail and some prime rib sliders, as well as tourists craving a conventional big-city steakhouse experience.
The beef: Aged USDA Prime; all steaks come topped with melted butter
Notable sides: Sweet potato casserole with pecans ($8.50), potatoes Lyonnaise ($8.50), asparagus with hollandaise ($9.50)
Price of porterhouse: $86 for 48 ounces (for two people)

John Howie Steak
The vibe: A dimly lit walkway flanked by cozy booths lets seated diners have a close-up look at the sartorial standards of the well-heeled Bellevue set strolling by. Both Microsofties entertaining big-wig clients and flaxen-haired Bravern shoppers can be found in this sprawling restaurant from the chef behind Seastar.
The beef: 28-day-aged USDA Prime beef
Notable sides: Maine lobster mashed potatoes ($16), creamed spinach with Kurobuta bacon and fried egg ($10)
Price of porterhouse: $60 for 24 ounces

Canlis
(Locally Raised Steak)
The vibe: Pure class. This is, after all, Seattle’s big splurge restaurant, where Chanel and YSL are de rigueur among the ladies, and a jacket and tie for men are the norm. The piano tinkling in the background and the formal service add extra polish.
The beef: 28-day grass-fed Black Angus from Gleason Ranch in Brady, Washington (making Canlis one of the few places serving local beef as well as Wagyu).
Notable sides: Truffle fries ($8), wild mushrooms with garlic and thyme ($8)
Price of porterhouse: $68 for 7 ounces

More articles from our Meat issue
Carnivore's Guide: Bacon!
Carnivore's Guide: A Burger for every budget
Carnivore's Guide: Charcuterie
Carnivore's Guide: Chicken
Carnivore's Guide: Duck, Turkey, and Goose
Carnivore's Guide: Game: Venison, Elk, Wild Boar
Carnivore's Guide: Lamb
Carnivore's Guide: The Meatless Meats
Carnivore's Guide: Offal
Carnivore's Guide: Pork
Carnivore's Guide: Sausages
Carnivore's Guide: The Steakhouses
Carnivore's Guide: The Art of Butchering
Carnivore's Guide: Butcher Shops and Meat Markets
Carnivore's Guide: The Seattle Meat Directory

 

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