Steakhouse Golf Trail
New York City - Philadelphia - Orlando - Tampa - Chicago - Kansas City - Omaha - Tulsa - Oklahoma City - Dallas - Houston - Amarillo - Phoenix - Vegas - San Diego - Seattle
Esquire , 2008 www.esquire.com/features/steak/best-steaks-0908
Further research and compilation by Fat Guy
After 18 holes of golf, the only thing better than an ice cold beer and a basket of hot wings is a nice dry martini with a juicy steak alongside. While upscale steakhouses of this magnitude are generally off Fat Guy's value radar (I can grill one of the best steaks you'll ever have in your life at home on my Weber for under $15)... Well, you gotta splurge on that bachelor party, biz dinner, or major anniversary night once in a great while, so you may as well know where to go when the time finally comes. We'll hit the best steakhouse towns in America (including John Mariani's 2008 Esquire Top 20 Steaks list and Travel Channel's Steak Paradise series), paired with some beefy golf courses.
New York City
Let's start in the Grandaddy of Steakhouse Capitals, New York City . You could put together a whole steakhouse trail just in NYC alone (oh yeah, I did ), but the logistics to good golf only makes it worth a stop at a few of NYC's best meat houses. Says Esquire , "You will notice that the city of New York appears on the list far more than any other. This is due to the simple fact that most prime beef in this country -- and prime only accounts for about 2 percent of beef overall -- goes to New York steakhouses and restaurants."
Travel Channel's Steak Paradise named NYC stalwart Peter Luger Steakhouse , Brooklyn, to their list. "Peter Luger Steakhouse is known as the 'Vatican of meat' by its devoted patrons. For over 120 years, Peter Luger has been serving up its famous porterhouse steaks. In fact, their steaks are in such high demand that reservations need to be made weeks ahead of time. According to the restaurant's loyal customers, the steaks at Peter Luger Steakhouse are worth the wait." Esquire opines, "The place ain't much to look at, but man, there's a reason for the fame. It's the beef. Even Luger's competitors admit this institution (1887) serves the greatest of all porterhouses, each carcass handpicked by a Luger rep. Don't believe the ex-employees who've opened steakhouses and claim to get the same quality. And when Luger's can't get enough good steaks, it simply cuts back on reservations, which are already maddeningly difficult to get. Order the Porterhouse with German fried potatoes."
, New York City. "The Palm on Second Ave. and 45th St. is the restaurant's flagship location. The walls of The Palm are decorated with comics drawn by some of the most gifted hands in the business. The decorating began when the owner of the restaurant allowed struggling newspaper artists to paint caricatures in lieu of paying for their dinners. Now, patrons of this famed steakhouse can see their likeness adorn the wall -- if, over the years, they spend $15,000 at The Palm. All the beef at The Palm comes from one source, and they dry-age their meat between 28 and 35 days. Seasoned only with olive oil and kosher salt, the cuts are broiled to perfection and served. This magic recipe has expanded business and The Palm now has locations nationwide, with 4 restaurants in New York City alone."
adds, "After eighty years, the original Palm -- not so much its twenty-eight branches from San Juan to West Hollywood -- still serves the finest of all cuts: the New York strip, on the bone, seared, broiled in a 1600-degree oven, caked with a perfectly smoky char every time. The place hasn't lost its raffishness from the days when cartoonists paid for food by decorating the walls. Order the 16-ounce Prime New York Strip with cottage fries."
Or head for Minetta Tavern in Greenwich Village. The Minetta has been described as a "Parisian steakhouse meets a classic NYC tavern." Think former Hemmingway hangout, former speakeasy, re-retro-ized decor with gilded gold ceilings, and an invigorated classic menu from new owners in 2008. Their steaks are seared on a specially designed extra-hot flat grill and consistently drenched in melted butter during cooking to keep the seared edges soft. It's then rested to allow the juices and fat to coagulate. They were named the best steakhouse in NYC by no less than the New York Times . A new owner is "breathing fresh life into this late 1930's relic... it's high gloss nostaglia." Their dry aged Cote de Boeuf for two is often mentioned in the same sentence with sex, complete with brontosaurus-sized roasted marrow bones and sucrine lettuce salad, priced at a mere $104. The potatoes Anna, a crispy cross between scalloped and hash browns, are a Must Order.
. Order the Roumanian Tenderloin, and on the side, Potato pancakes. "Somehow a Michelin star has eluded Sammy's, but what's not to like? You sit in a basement listening to borscht-belt-style music, there's seltzer and schmaltz (chicken fat) on the table, and the tenderloin skirt steak with minced garlic is gargantuan. The waiters like to kibbitz, and they've heard it all."
They also like Macelleria . Get the T-Bone with Cannellini beans. "In Manhattan's obnoxiously fashionable Meatpacking District, the Bitici family quietly serves soulful takes on Italian tradition. But everything is an ornate sideshow next to a fabulous T-bone that comes as close as possible to the Florentine lombata, glossed with olive oil and served with lemon."
Another Esquire New York fave is Steak Frites . Order the namesake dish, with the grilled asparagus. "You name your restaurant Steak Frites, you better get this one right. They do. The steak: perfectly chewy, with the mineraly iron-and-calcium taste characteristic of the hanger cut. The frites: crispy outside, tasting of nothing but hot potato inside."
Another NYC stalwart is Smith & Wollensky . Go for the Filet Mignon and an order of creamed spinach. "Women love filet mignon for the same reason I don't: It's not laden with fat. But I have to admit S&W's is the best you'll ever taste. They serve it grilled or au poivre, with Gorgonzola, crabmeat, or Cajun spices. Or, if you want, blessedly plain." [ Esquire ]
For something different, it's One If by Land Two If by Sea's Beef Wellington. And grab some of their morels, asparagus, and baby leeks. "A new Aussie chef, Craig Hopson, has transformed this warhorse of a dish -- filet of beef in a bubble of airy puff pastry -- by adding a silky foie gras sabayon and keeping the crust golden crisp so the meat never gets steamy."
Head for the top of the steak food chain at Kobe Club for the Japanese Waygu Beef, and top it off with hash browns with lobster, chorizo, and crème fraîche. "People still speak of Kobe beef in tones of awe and trepidation -- "They massage the cows and feed them beer, you know" -- but this is the place where you pretend you're rich and just go for it. Order the Emperor's Flight of filet, sirloin, and rib eye ($395 for two, plus, oddly, $2 for extra sauce), which you'll enjoy sitting under the couple thousand samurai swords hanging from the ceiling." [ Esquire ]
This is the New York metro area, so expect to spend at least 90 minutes in a car and pay filet prices for beefy golf. Play a round or three at:
Pound Ridge Golf Club 7,171 yards, par 72 $175-$235 914-764-5771, www.poundridgegolf.com
Centennial Golf Club (Lakes/Fairways) 7,133 yards, par 72 $65-$135 845-225-5700, www.centennialgolf.com
The Golf Club at Mansion Ridge 6,889 yards, par 72 $69-$129 845-782-7888, www.mansionridge.com
After Philly legend Bookbinder's faded from seafood institution to tourist trap and then a 3-year hiatus, The City Of Brotherly Love morphed from a seafood town to a steakhouse town .
The haughty waitstaff at uber-masculine stalwart The Saloon assured it's reign as Philly's King of Beef for years before a bevvy of new steakhouses popped up since the early Otts.
Philadelphia Magazine gives 5 star ratings to Stephen Starr's Barclay Prime (sexy library-ish home to the $100 Kobe beef cheesesteak) and The Capital Grille (high powered hangout, polished service, pricey, order the dry-aged 24 oz. porterhouse), and 4 star ratings to Butcher & Singer (more Stephen Starr Midwestern kitsch, with hulking crisply seared steaks but un-bold sides, order the Indian Ridge Prime 28-day dry-aged porterhouse), Del Frisco's Double Eagle (grandiose and visually stimulating, soaring ceilings, wall of windows, waitresses in little black skirts, perfectly seasoned steaks, the local's favorite, order the 16-ounce bone-in filet with the potatoes gratin), Fleming's Prime (all the trappings of a traditional steakhouse without the intimidation factor, stiff drinks, massive portions, even bigger checks, sleek decor, a wine geek's dream list, updated apps, well-seasoned steaks, order the 22 oz. bone-in ribeye), Morton's (well-known standby, elegantly old school with a Rat Pack feel and a Sinatra soundtrack, finely marbled meats, order the 20 oz. New York strip), and Table 31 (atypical, lively bar scene, fave of local pro sports figures, skip the strip steak for the 8 oz. filet or the 14 oz. Delmonico with the by-request spice rub). Fat Guy's fave is the endless chirizo meat parade at uber-chain Fogo De Chao .
Esquire added Pat's Philly Cheesesteak to the list. Get cheese fries on the side. "Pat's added Cheez Wiz to the Philly cheesesteak -- that much we know. It's also the most credible of those claiming to have invented the sandwich itself. After sixty years it remains greasy beyond redemption and probably not so good for you. So eat only one. Get the second one to go."
It doesn't get any beefier than Glen Mills GC . Named to both Golf Digest and Golf Magazine's Best New Course lists in 2001, this brawny Bobby Weed design navigates wooded hills and rocky streams on the grounds of a school for troubled boys, who provide stellar service at the clubhouse. Weed left the rough edges of nature alongside manicured fairways, adding to a twisting, up-and-down adventure.
Orlando m ight be seco nd only to Vegas when it comes to steakhouses. Jeff Sluman recommends Del Frisco's (729 Lee Rd, 407-645-4443). OR, a strip of popular restaurants has sprung up on Sand Lake Dr, near I-4 and International Dr: Timpano Italian Chophouse (407-248-0429); Morton's (407-248-3485); and Ruth's Chris Steakhouse (407-226-3900) . T &L Golf digs Charley’s Steakhouse (407-363-0228). Expect generous, satisfying cuts of wood-fired, USDA Prime beef here.
Reunion Resort includes 18's designed by Watson and Palmer, with another from Nicklaus on the drawing board. Play Watson's Independence routing, with rolling terrain featuring elevation changes up to 45 feet .
Tampa is one of the country's most underrated adult playgrounds, with great nighlife, restaurants, and golf. Playboy named Bern's Steakhouse one of the country's 10 Best Steakhouses, calling it "easily the most over-the-top restaurant in the country. Strarted in 1956 by Bern and Gert Laxter as a hole-in-the-wall eatery, it's now a 320-seat tribute to American beef. Tiffany lamps, jukeboxes, TV monitors in the booths, a wine list thicker than the Tampa phone book, a fresh-fish tank, martinis with vermouth measured with an eyedropper, and even an organic farm are part of the mix. But it all starts with Bern's superlative beef- 6 different cuts exactly broiled to 8 degrees of doneness ."
Golf Digest likes Westin Innisbrook's Island Course , Palm Harbor, 727-942-2000, $110-$210. It's a worthy sister to the resort's PGA Tour stop Copperhead course, without requiring a room reservation. "Target golf at its best, the Island course provides the player with three distinct designs over six-hole stretches. The first six holes are reminiscent of South Carolina lowcountry, the next six look like the sand hills of North Carolina complete with elevation changes, and the incoming six are a traditional Midwestern style. Accuracy is tested most over the initial stretch of holes where water hazards and jungle await errant shots. The 565-yard seventh—a double dogleg—is the No. 1-handicap hole, with water in play off the tee and on the second shot."
Now we're entering the Midwestern "Beef Belt", which stretches from Chicago to Texas. Playboy named Chicago Chop House one of the 10 Best Steakhouses in America. The best beef restaurant in a city with plenty of contenders. Prime corn-fed Nebraska and Iowa beef fresh from Chicago suppliers, and one of the specialties is prime rib, slow roasted for 5 hours, then charbroiled to add flavor. The T-bone is the top cut, the broiled Lake Superior whitefish is a fine alternative, and the crowd often hob nobs with politicians and celebs. Playboy and Chicago native Jeff Sluman also like the beef at Club Gene and Georgetti (500 N Franklin). Forget the Italian food, be prepared for a wait, don't be insulted if they stick you upstairs, and don't expect any amusing banter from the waiters. Come here for the garbage salad, the shrimp de Jonghe, and the broiled T-bone. You'll leave happy. Travel Channel's Steak Paradise 2 touts Chicago's David Burke's Primehouse . "Located just 7 blocks east of Gene & Georgetti, one of the world's hottest chefs, David Burke, has fused classic and contemporary to create the one-of-a-kind steak experience found at The Primehouse. Unlike Gene & Georgetti's, The Primehouse dry-ages their meat -- a process they say defines their dishes. Their homegrown cuts are aged for different lengths of time, giving them each distinct flavors. Going one step further, Burke has lined the walls of the drying box with salt from the Himalayas that kills bacteria, aids in the aging process and seasons the meat. From the sizzling skewered steak appetizer to the Kobe beef sashimi, The Primehouse puts its own twist on this staple of the American diet." Tourist football fans like us will want to hit "Da Coach" Mike Ditka's (Tremont Hotel, 100 E Chestnut) for steak and fish .
I hate to go with the obvious, but Cog Hill's #4 Dubsdread course is easily in the top 5 longest and toughest courses Fat Guy has ever played. And it's always fun to play where the big boys play. Those guys are good. Bring your long game .
My buddy Pat used to do corporate-level sales for a major insurance company, and traveled the Midwest regularly. He says the best steak he's ever had during his widespread travels was at Kansas City's pricey Plaza III Steakhouse . Or, Pierpont's @ Union Station (816-221-5111) makes many "Best Steakhouses" lists. Local Tom Watson says, "Kansas City is also famous for strip steak. Jess & Jim's is an old favorite for aged steaks. The historic Savoy Grill has good steak and a lot of seafood as well. Try to sit in the Harry Truman Booth."
(6988, 141, $62-70, '95 Hurdzan, 4-1/2 stars, Leawood KS, 913-685-4653) is a fave of local and visiting pro athletes (Roger Clemmons is a regular), and the back 9 may be the best collection of public holes in K.C.. [
Johnny's Cafe ( www.johnnyscafe.com ) near the stockyards set the Omaha steakhouse standard back in 1922, and is still going strong (just make sure you go to the one at 4702 S. 27th... there's a different Johnny's steakhouse chain in the Omaha suburbs). Fat Guy ate here once back in the '90's and had one of the best steaks I've ever tasted. Other Omaha steak institutions include Anthony's ( www.anthonyssteakhouse.com ) since 1968, the old school mid-Century architecture at Gorat's ( www.goratsomaha.com ), and the more casual Drover ( www.droverrestaurant.com ), famous for their Whiskey Steak.
Head to Quarry Oaks Golf Club on the site of a former limestone quarry beside the Platte River. A rarity in the Great Plains, the course has lots of elevation change. The back nine is the finest stretch of public golf in eastern Nebraska, highlighted by the clifftop tee shot into a quarry at seventeen, where the only sound is the echo of a well-struck shot. [ T&L Golf ]
Guy Fieri of Diners Drive-Ins & Dives and Man vs. Food 's Adam Richman both swung by Oklahoma City's Cattleman's Steakhouse (www.cattlemansrestaurant.com ). Steak doesn't get much fresher than this, as Cattleman's is located right smack in the middle of Oklahoma City's Stockyard City, which has seen over a million cattle sold and processed since 1910. Order Cattleman's wet-aged Presidential T-Bone, so monikered when President George W. Bush dubbed it, "fit for a President." Or go for martinis and white table cloths at Boulevard Steakhouse in nearby Edmond. Pair your prime beef with minor league baseball and hardball memorabilia at Mickey Mantle's Steakhouse across the street from the OK City Redhawks' Bricktown Ballpark. Finally, "super premium" steak meets gourmet trimmings amongst modernist decor in the old school Buick Building at the trendy Red Steakhouse ( www.redprimesteak.com ).
Try Silverthorn ( ), a 1991 Randy Heckenkemper design through natural prarielands, with rolling elevation changes, winding creeks, and challenging approach shots.
The best steaks in Tulsa are at Spudder's (6536 E 50th St), complete with old school oil field decor. Quality meats well-spiced, full of flavor, and reasonably priced. If you're on the company dime, my old boss Kelly recommends the melt-in-your-mouth steaks and massive ala cart portions at Mahogany Prime Steak House (6823 S Yale Ave, www.mahoganyprime.com ). My friend Jenn likes the Celebrity Room (3109 S Yale Ave) for good salad and steaks. Or get your steak, golf, gambling, and nightlife all in one spot at the Cherokee Casino & Resort (I-44 & 93rd E. Ave), featuring classy local chain McGill's Steakhouse , and championship golf on-premises.
Play Forest Ridge in Broken Arrow ( www.forestridge.com ). Long, supertight, and just plain brutal. World class conditions. Narrow fairways slope off into woods and swamplands, every kick I got was deservedly horrible. Bring the A game, swing a stick you can hit straight, and don't be afraid to play a par 4 as a par 5. Water in play on 8 holes.
Everyone from oil barons to Dallas-based food-and-golf writer Michael Hiller agree that Dallas is a haven for steak fanatics. Many agree that the best place to indulge is Pappas Bros. Steakhouse (214-366-2000, www.pappasbros.com ) on Lombardy Lane, near Texas Stadium. Highlights include a 36,000-bottle wine cellar, two master sommeliers and steaks that are dry-aged in-house. [ Golf Magazine ] The local favorite is Bob's Steak & Chop with multiple locations in Dallas and Plano. At Bob's, expect crowds of beautiful people standing 4-deep at the bar for big drinks, big steaks, and a big bill to match. It may take your whole foursome to polish off an order of Bob's wicked onion rings, a fantastic bleu cheese salad, and a prime 20-ounce bone-in ribeye. Steak lovers also like III Forks (972-267-1776), which makes some Best Steakhouses in the U.S. lists.
Fort Worth, also known as Cowtown, holds more of the local beef heritage. Located within the Stockyards District, the Hunter Brothers’ H3 Ranch Live Hickory Wood Grill has been serving up some of the city’s best steaks since 1998. Named after William, Robert and David Hunter, three brothers who immigrated to the US from Scotland in 1844, and ran a livestock commission company at the current site of the Stockyard Hotel during the height of the Cowtown boom, this family business was founded on the rich and lively history of the historic Stockyards District. Known for one of the most popular drinks in the Stockyard, and named after William Hunter’s daughter, Anita, they make a one-of-a-kind “Anita-Rita” margarita with premium tequila, lime juice and secret ingredients like the extract from Jalapeño peppers. [ Drinking Made Easy ]
Tee it up at The Tribute At The Colony ( www.thetributegc.com ). Architect Tripp Davis' homage to some of the greatest holes in the British Isles, starting with a startlingly accurate depiction of the opening (and adjacent closing) hole at St. Andrews' Old Course. [ Golf Magazine ]
The Houston outpost of Pappas Bros. Steakhouse made Playboy's list of Top 10 Steakhouses in America. "Big and friendly like all of TX, with darkwood, roomy leather booths with phones, a chef's counter where you can watch the cooking, a cigar lounge, a huge wine cellar, and a great bar with an impressive array of single-malts and cognacs. Popular with the pro athelete set. Go for the delicious crab cakes, a fiery turtle gumbo, the crunchiest onion rings in TX, a 3" thick filet, and Moon Pie for dessert, followed by brandy and cigars ." [ T&L Golf ]
Head for Augusta Pines Golf Club . Its front nine a liberal interpretation of the storied back nine at Augusta National. The layout's back nine borrows from Oakland Hills, Pinehurst and others, though the holes are inspirations, not clones. Site of a Champions Tour event, Augusta Pines is derivative but likable.
Amarillo's Big Texan Steak Ranch & Motel ( www.bigtexan.com ) boasts probably the most famous free meal eating challenge in the country; eat their massive 72 oz. steak in an hour (plus a salad, baked potato, dinner roll, and shrimp cocktail), and it's free.
Assuming you can still walk after a 72-ounce steak, head for Ross Rogers MGC . 36 holes of classic Texas golf.
With all the upscale golf to be played here, there's bound to be a bevy of upscale steakhouses to go along with it. Playboy named the Grill at the Fairmount Scottsdale Princess as one of the 10 Best Steakhouses in America. Settle yourself into a grand dining room with mission furniture, burnished wood panels, and a black qranite fireplace overlooking the TPC Scottsdale Golf Club . Order the dry-aged (24 days) California sirloin or a steamed lobster, a bowl of 7-onion soup, and a banana-chocolate hexagon with chococate shavings and caramel and strawberry sauces. For other steakhouses, T&L Golf recommends Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar (480-596-8265) or Jilly's American Grill (480-368-8663). Rich Beem likes Morton's (480-951-4440) .
Well you can't sit through a steak at the Grill at the Faimont Scottsdale Princess being teased with the views of TPC Scottsdale without playing it. Tee it up on the Stadium Course and imagine theose rowdy college crowds are cheering (or booing) your every shot .
Screw the diet when you're in Sin City. Steak is the order of the day in the World Capital of Steakhouses, and forget those $4.95 prime rib buffets. Playboy named Prime Steakhouse @ Bellagio ( www.bellagio.com/pages/din_prime.asp ) in the Top 10 Steakhouses in America. The beef lives up to it's name. And the menu is way beyond formulaic: 6 kinds of mustard, potatoes served 11 ways, 5 sauces to grace your beef, and a high-roller's wine list. Playboy also likes the prime Iowa beef at Bradley Ogden at Caesars Palace ( ).
The on-site bar at the pricey Wynn Las Vegas golf course is called The Country Club: A New American Steakhouse and was named to Golf Digest's 2008 50 Best 19th Holes list. "Tucked down a long hallway the size of an airport terminal, the classic-looking steakhouse comes complete with mahogany walls, leather couches, tartan carpeting, and a bar made from honey onyx. The bar buffers the course from the hotel/casino and overlooks the 37-foot, middle-of-the-desert waterfall behind the 18th green."
To set the mood for those naughty Vegas nights with your golf widow, Travel Channel digs the sensual pin-up girl theme at Strip House (@ Planet Hollywood, www.striphouse.com ). Order the strip steak, perfectly seared and crusted, with the goose fat potatoes, the truffle creamed spinach, leave room for the 24-layer chocolate cake, and plan for a food coma nap afterwards. T&L Golf likes Morton's (702-893-0703, www.mortons.com/website/htmldocs/locations/las_vegas.html ), Old San Francisco , or Range (Harrah's, ). The boys from Golf Channel's Big Break II loved the filet at Buccaneer Bay (Treasure Island, www.treasureisland.com ), noting "you could cut it with a mid-iron." After a round at TPC Summerlin, T-Bones (@ Red Rock) will definitely cure that stomach growl.
For a better value steak, the Irreverant Guide to Vegas likes the 24-oz. ribeye at reasonably priced Austin's Steakhouse at Texas Station, rubbed in peppercorns and seared in garlic butter and cilantro. Some say it's the best steak you'll ever taste, but their filets make it a tough argument .
Local PGA Tour pro Charley Hoffman digs TPC Canyons ( www.tpc.com/canyons ) as has his favorite public course in Vegas. "They treat you like royalty, it's always in good shape, and it's generous off the tee."
Go for steak at Rainwater's on Kettner for low-lit ambiance, or Harbor House for the cajun shrimp app, a flavorful filet, and sweet cheesecake . Beating out the steakhouse chains, Donovan’s ( ) in well-heeled La Jolla offers a mahogany-laden men’s-club ambience that goes down well with marbled meat and martinis. You can pull up solo at the bar and have your way with a steer.
Get off the beaten path at The Crossings at Carlsbad , which tumbles up and down severe mountain terrain and features wide fairways, ocean views and plenty of trouble everywhere. The facilities are complete with a fantastic clubhouse brunch set high above the golf course and a large practice range . [ WorldGolf.com ]
Lawry's the Prime Rib
, English Cut Prime Rib. On the side: Baked potato. "They wheel over your English cut -- three long, thin slices of beef that melt on your tongue -- on a silver cart, because that's the way they've served it since 1938. Add a baked potato with butter, bacon, chives, and sour cream and you can't eat better in L.A."
PGA pro Rich Beem raves about Metropolitan Grill (206-624-3287). "One of the best steakhouses in the world. The ambiance is awesome, and the service and food are great, too. At the NEC Invitational, the week after I won the PGA, I hosted a birthday party for myself at the Metropolitan, with a couple dozen guests, and they took great care of us." According to buddy and biographer Alan Shipnuck, Beem showed up in a nice shirt, nice pants, and flip flops, then immediately hopped behind the bar and started mixing drinks. "If they hadn't dragged him out of there, he'd have been slinging Jack & Cokes all night." Or, Union Square Grill makes the same Best Of Seattle lists for steakhouses (206-224-4321).
Local Tour pro Ryan Moore says, "The Olympic course at Gold Mountain GC is my favorite. It hosted the 2006 U.S. Public Links. The fairways are wide, but the course makes up for it with wooded areas that can get you in trouble." [ Golf Digest ]