With the holidays fast approaching, I’m getting questions from readers about steakhouses. To many people – myself included occasionally – a good steak dinner represents celebration at its best.
But let’s get our terms straight first. There is steak and there is Steak – and it’s the latter we’ll discuss in this column.
This Steak – as opposed to the tasty beef you can find in items like steak sandwiches – is cut at least an inch thick, is aged and is served rare (at least to my way of thinking).
The meat is accompanied by a good drink, a good potato (hash brown or baked), a good salad and, often, for some historic reason I am unable to determine, creamed spinach.
Some people might call this a “real testosterone meal,” which it probably is. But it tastes fine on a cold winter night. And …
It doesn’t come cheap.
But look at it this way. If you eat all of the above, you needn’t bother with dessert.
This kind of meal is considered by many to be the very basis of the American culinary experience, and most cities across the country have several restaurants devoted to it. (Did I say “devoted to it?” I might better have said “that worship it.”)
Buffalo has its very own, and here are some I suggest. These are places that center around Steak, though you can probably get a similar meal at many upscale restaurants.
So, sharpen your knife and let’s begin.
Buffalo Chophouse, 282 Franklin St. Busy, glitzy, luxurious. If you’re lucky, you can glom onto a coupon and save some bucks. The Chophouse offers at least five cuts of Steak, including a 24-ounce Chateaubriand for two for $75.
A tip: The lobster bisque is terrific, but if you order it, you won’t finish your meal.
E.B. Green’s Steakhouse at 2 Fountain Plaza in the Hyatt Regency Buffalo. A little more serene than the Chophouse, it’s actually a beautiful tiered room with great floral arrangements. It offers at least five different Steaks, including a kosher, bone-in rib eye.
A nice thing here, if you have a drink in the bar that overlooks the dining room and it’s the right night, is that you can hear Jackie Jocko play the piano. Sometimes, if it’s quiet, you can even hear him in the dining room. That’s almost as good as the steak.
We tend to think of steakhouses as urban institutions, but there is at least one in the near suburbs. Black and Blue, 5493 Sheridan Drive, Amherst, is big, handsome and maybe a little more casual than the places above. (That doesn’t stop the manager from suggesting a dress code on the website – but it’s nothing too onerous. Business casual – that includes khakis – is the thing.)
There’s a great-looking, glass-enclosed wine tower in the center of the main room that the servers climb to get selected bottles, so obviously wine is a special thing here. (You can’t see the tower from the side room where they put the overflow on busy evenings.)
And though I admit to a bias against chains, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Hyde Park Steakhouse at Walden Galleria, with a decidedly nonmall ambience.
There are many steaks here, many with sauces. There’s also a 34-ounce Long Bone Rib Eye on the online menu, but you can’t have it because it’s only offered in Pittsburgh, Columbus and Detroit. And so I have to ask:
“What are we in Western New York?
Send your questions and comments about dining out to Janice Okun at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will respond in this column, which appears every Wednesday in the Taste section of The Buffalo News.