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Dallas Steakhouses Review

Ok..this message board has been EXTREMELY helpful to me, so I want to contribute my own PERSONAL opinion of a series of steakhouses I have recently visited around Dallas (over the past few months). Basically, I tend to order the same thing--either a porterhouse or a bone-in ribeye cooked 'medium-rare'.

III Forks - Horribly OVERRATED. Everytime I go I am dissappointed, so I will actually not EVER go anymore on my own--only if someone else invites me. The steaks are overcooked and the service is SLOW. I do like the touch of bringing the 'tomato and onions' tray--but it is too overpriced for what you get.

Chamberlains - Currently the TOP CHOICE on my list. Perfectly cooked steaks, great service, and nice ambiance.

Pappas Bros. - EXTREMELY good steak; perfectly cooked. Service is attentive, but a bit too 'formal'. I like the ambiance at Chamberlains better.

Capital Grill - Good steak, good ambiance. I can't find any fault with it, but I never seem to leave saying 'wow...that was AWESOME...'

Ruth's Chris - Shouldn't even be on the list. The absolute worst--both in terms of service and the food. They never seem to know how to really 'cook' a steak. In fact, I would rather go to Saltgrass than go here.

Saltgrass - EXTREMELY good for what I expected. I must say this place is just AWESOME. It is not a 'fancy' steakhouse by any means, but for the way they cook their steaks (a grill instead of a double broiler) and the flavor of the meat, it was WAY ABOVE what I expected.

Del Frisco's - not bad, but not GREAT either. It was just ok. Service was very good and steak was just 'alright.'

Smith & Wollesky - Not very impressed. Steak was ok, but again, nothing special. Service was slow.

Bob's (on Lemmon) - OUTSTANDING. Super steak and excellent service. I like the 'big carrot'. My wife doesn't like the place because she says it's 'too dark', but I would rate it right next to Chamberlain's.

Next on my list to visit: Al Bernait's and Y.O. Steakhouse.

I will post updates. I welcome any comments on what I said and any suggestions for any good steakhouses that I should visit.

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  1. I've always maintained that Chamberlain's was overlooked by the "big boys" (III Forks, Pappas Bros, Del Frisco's), so I'm glad you liked it.

    I do like Bob's as well, but Chamberlain's has better side dishes.

    Al Biernat's is quite possibly the LOUDEST restaurant in Dallas, but it's a good choice also. Let us know what you think of it.


    1 Reply
    1. re: TexasToast

      How would you rate the steaks themselves at your recommended locations, Texas Toast?

    2. Thanks for the informative report.

      1. Definitely agree with III Forks being overrated. Besides III Forks, I've only been to Chamberlains, Big Buck (and I'd like to point out that when I search, nothing comes up, which I find surprising), and Saltgrass, and since what you order is similar to what I like, I'll definitely keep this report in mind for future steakhouse visits. Thanks for the post!

        1. I would suggest you try Kirby's not in line with the top end guys, somewhat nicer than a Saltgrass.

          I would say that III forks is okay, if I am not the one doing the paying. If I am, then Kirby's, Chamberlains or Sullivans works quite nicely with an honorable mention for the less expensive Saltgrass.

          1. I've always overlooked III Forks, but I am always impressed when leaving the place. The best steak I've ever had came from Smith and Wollensky--their cajun ribeye. Bobs is Bobs and Al Biernats always impresses me w/ their service and consistent food. Nick and Sam's should also be mentioned for one of the top steak houses in Dallas. The "wow factor" hands down goes to Canary Cafe in Addsion. Chef Gorji won the best steak cookoff in Hico, TX back to back. I think that should say it all. The belt buckle he won is reason enough to go check out the place. The buckle is very impressive. Go check out Canary and hopefully you guys will be equally impressed as I was. I think everyone that had dinner there w/ me all said, "wow" after tasting their first bite. Canary Cafe is my opinion is the best hidden jewel in the metroplex.


            3 Replies
            1. re: adkim

              The Canary Cafe looks like a diner by day . . . and by night come to think of it. What's to "WOW" about?


                1. re: adkim

                  Yep, but was not impressed with any of it.


            2. oh...and as far as Sullivans goes; I rarely leave a restaurant angry...but the two times I went I left in a horrible mood feeling completely ripped off. Sullivans is the worst excuse for a steak house.

              1. Totally agree with the III forks assessment. When it first opened, it was my favorite steakhouse, but now the steak is overcooked, oversalty and the service is horrible.

                I recently discovered that Perry's has excellent steak, although it is also a more formal restaurant.

                Of course I love Bob's, Al Biernat's, and Pappa's bros.

                Speaking of less expensive steaks, is anyone else sad that Old SanFrancisco Steak House is closed now?

                1 Reply
                1. re: missmaggie

                  Too bad to see this about III Forks. It's been several years, but we were totally blown away with dinner for my uncle's 70th. My filet was perfectly cooked, and still one of my very favorites. Service was top notch, as were the side dishes.

                  Good call on Kirby's. That was the family's fave steak place back in the '70's. Always a solid performer, and now wonderfully retro.

                2. Rick Stein, formerly with III Forks has opened a steakhouse north of III Forks that is supposed to be one of the best restaurants in town. Has anyone tried this place?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Shauna

                    I went to Rick Steins's last year and was generally pleased. The atmosphere is rich w/ wood surroundings, the food was above average, and the service was attentive. I've only been there once and had a pleasant expereience, but thought the place wouldn't last too long; not because the food and service was bad, but b/c the area wouldn't be able to support three high-end steakhouses. Guess I was wrong. Rick Steins is worth a visit, but I wouldn't say it's the best or even one of the best. But who knows, maybe they crept into the "best category" w/n the last year?

                    1. re: adkim

                      They do have the best steakhouse desserts. Everything else is great too. Just make sure that you save room for the desserts!

                  2. Nice review. I agree with your assessment. Chamberlains top choice, Bob's is second. There is a big gap between first and second though. All the others are not worth trying again after tasting these perfect steaks. Saltgrass, III Forks, Del Friscos are not worth mentioning.

                    1. Top honors for me goes to N9ne--and its not even close. The BEST steaks, period. Great sides, great desserts, wide selection for non steak people. Service varies from good to close to perfect. There are 3 downsides: its very loud, traffic and parking suck, and its very expensive-- about $75/person without wine if you get an appitizer, 2 sides (everything is ala carte) 2 entrees and 2 desserts. If you go when nothing is going on at AAC and sit away from the noise at the bar, its awesome.

                      Second place is a tie between Pappas and Al Biernats. Third place is Nick & Sams.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: ssh

                        I think you have to place the steakhouses here into 2 categories - brass tacks steakhouses and great restaurants that happen to serve great steaks. In the former category, Bob's wins hands down with Pappas and Del's finishing 2 and 3. Smith & Wollensky is gone, Ruth Chris's serves their steaks swimming in butter, and Rick Steins is just okay. In the latter, I like Chamberlains, N9NE, Perry's, Nick & Sams and Al's in that order. All serve great steaks but their other offerings of seafood, etc are equally as good as their steaks, if not better.

                        III Forks doesn't come close to making either list. The best thing they serve there is the III Forks salad. And I can sort of get on board with adkim's thumbs up for Canary Cafe. It's just tough to consider a place called Canary Cafe as a serious steakhouse and I also wouldn't say winning the competition in Hico, TX necessarily warrants an unequivocal gold medal since many of the above restaurants don't even participate.

                        1. re: ieatdallas

                          Has anyone been to Mr. G's inside DFW? I have heard it is the best in town.

                      2. My personal favorite is the ribeye topped with fried onions at Stephen Pyles...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jinet12

                          Since Stein's opened we have spent every special occassion their and could not be happier with the food and personal service. My folks still talk about the last time they were there (over a year ago). The food is always perfect and the deserts are exquisite!

                        2. A couple of quick questions?

                          Opinions on Dakota's in Downtown? My wife and I went there some time back and it had to be the best steak I have ever had. I must admit though my experience with high end steak houses are limited. We have since gone to Pappas Bro's and thought it was good... maybe not quite as good (I agree with what was said... too formal on the service). So I toss this to the crowd for opinions on Dakotas... did we just happen in to a good night?

                          How about Morton's anybody? Is it still a good spot? It has been since the early 80's since I have been...

                          Last comment.. thanks bjassin for the info on Capital Grille... that is the next spot in the cross hairs for my wife and I.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: JB_Dallas

                            Dakota's is excellent. Everything I've had on the menu is first rate. It's often over looked as one of the best places for dinner because its downtown. Plus the Ambiance!!

                          2. I've lived in Dallas all my life and I've eaten at every steakhouse you have listed except Ruth's Chris for some reason. I think it's important to note what cut of steak people are ordering and how many times you've been to that particular steakhouse. I've been to some steakhouses and was not impressed with a particular cut or how it was seasoned, but on another visit I tried another cut and was very impressed. I've had good and bad experiences at Pappas and Bob's. The best tenderloin I've ever had in my life was McBride's in Wichita Falls. That was 20 years ago; nothing's ever topped it so far. Maybe it was a fluke, who knows. I wonder if they are still in business?

                            1. Hmm...I have only been to III Forks a couple of times, but it was outstanding...I ordered, and always do order, the bone in Ribeye...It was absolutely delicious, as were the sides...The service was better than it had to be...I also loved the ambience...I have never been happy with any dinner I have ever had at Bob's on Lemmon...Like their "wedge salad" and their "glazed carrot" a lot, but any steak I have ever ordered, has not measured up to III Forks...

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: jinet12

                                Your reviews seem fairly on, though I haven't been to the Capital. To save you the trouble both Y.O. Steakhouse and Biernat's (pronounced Bear-nays) are both rather bad. The bottom line on steakhouses is that they have for the most part suffered from mass-production. The meat available to most restaurants wanting to stay afloat, in significant quanity, must by necessity at this stage of the game be somewhat sub-par. I have had, as various posters have suggested, both good and bad experiences at Pappas Bros., etc. When you are spending 200$+ on dinner for two the crap shoot hardly seems worth it. After 20 or so hit-or-miss experiences I have switched to buying high-grade kobe online and searing it in a pan. It is amazing. If I am feeling particulary macho I stoke up the grill with some mesquite and slap down a Niman ranch or a Lugers. There are many good online sources for meat with the quality more guaranteed and giving you absolute control over choice and fire. Rudolphs Market might be worth a try. That "wet-drying" in a vacuum bag is just a joke. It seems funny for me to say this, as it isn't a steakhouse, but the best meat I have had in Dallas was at York St. The kobe was cut into small lozenges. The flavor blew my socks off. Keep in mind also that you are in cattle country. There are many local producers selling fresh and local antibiotic-free meat in the DFW area. There is a learning curve here as the choices are many, but the rewards are worth it.

                                1. re: mythomane

                                  I tend to agree. I have eaten at a few of these places, Bob's, III Forks, Smith & Wollenskys, Ruth's Chris..... but you have to admit, this isn't rocket science. If you have really great meat, anyone can cook a great steak. I don't find the value proposition to be very compelling. Futhermore, I was, in the case of the original Bob's, very disappointed with the staff in terms of their knowledge of etiquette. The young lady there was very attentive, but didn't seem to know how to set a table or serve. She would replace the silverware, but always put things in the wrong setting. When I am spending $100 a person, I expect the knowledge of the staff to be commensurate with that price point. Also, I don't feel that eating next door to the local tire shop to be in keeping with that scale of dining. As you can tell Bob's in town, is off my recommended list for those reasons alone.

                                  Like you say, the crap shoot isn't worth it. Buy your own high-end beef and cook it at the house. That's what we are doing as of late.

                                  I don't mind spending top dollar for excellent food and service, but this genre of dining just doesn't warrant the pricing.

                                  But, I could be wrong.

                                  1. re: mythomane

                                    "To save you the trouble both Y.O. Steakhouse and Biernat's are both rather bad."

                                    What did you eat at Bearnat's that was bad? I've had any number of meals there and I have yet to be disappointed in the food or service.

                                    1. re: mythomane

                                      I have never been to Y.O. Steakhouse so I am not able to comment about the food there. Your statement that Al Biernat's is "rather bad," however, is just plain wrong. The food there is excellent as is the service. Biernat is a wonderful host, too. On what, pray tell, do you base your statement? I have had several great meals there and, really, my only complaint is the very poor selection of wines by the glass.

                                  2. ever try Rick Stein's? It's just north of III Forks on the Tollway access road. I've not been there yet so have no opinion.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: genebob

                                      While not technically a steakhouse, I have found Craft's steaks to be very very good, and they have better sides than most steakhouses.

                                      I think Nick and Sam's is also one of the best and most often overlooked.

                                      1. re: TheMaestro

                                        Don't forget Randy's Steakhouse located in a century-and-a-half old house in downtown Frisco, one of the warmest and possibly the most unique ambience for a steakhouse in the metroplex. Food and service outstanding, although the wine list is overpriced. You can read my complete review on my Food Czar blog. It is a November 2007 posting. Thanks!

                                        1. re: Thefoodczar

                                          I went to Randy's earlier this year and was very impressed. Excellent choice, fuh shure. Bob's is still tops on my list, though. And IF you want a decent steak without taking out a second mortgage, and IF you can tolerate a sorta corporate contrived family atmosphere, complete with peanut shells on the floor and glorified prints of the bearded icon, Willie docorating the walls, Texas Roadhouse is a good alternative to Salt Grass. You can get a cut that's not on the menu, i.e., a larger steak than what you might see in the glass case when you walk in. It's not the best steak you'll ever sink your teeth into, but it will work in a pinch... a penny pinch, that is!