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PHX: Steakhouse rec's

I have my personal favorites, but I'm looking for input for others out there. Mr. and I do a Christmas dinner to ourselves each year, and I need to make the reservations tomorrow for this upcoming Saturday night.

I want good beef
I want good cocktails*
I want great atmosphere

All the usual suspects are open for review: Mastros, Flemings, Mortons, Donovans, and any others.

*The newest member of the "Future Chowhound" club has arrived. She came on Nov 29, and is a big ball of beautiful. So now I can drink. :D

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  1. The Grill @ the TPC !

    Dry Aged Beef!

    1. I'm a big fan of Drinkwater's City Hall. We always have a great time, and the steaks are top notch. Excellent service, too.

      1. I love Durant's. It's old Phoenix, ya know and I know you appreciate that!

        Congrats on the new baby!!! What's her name? How is kidlet #1 liking her?

        1 Reply
        1. re: geg5150

          Thanks Gail. Her name is Olivia. #1 was a little standoffish at first, but she's very much into the baby now.
          Are you still moving?

          I would go to Durant's, but Mr. really likes the ala carte style steakhouses. He likes ordering stuff like creamed spinach and fufu potatoes.

          Another reason to hit Durant's: Stone crabs. They may be the only place is town that offers them in season. I ordered them from Joe's in Miami Beach for Mr's birthday meal.

          Ciaogal - we've had great food at the Grill @ TPC.

          Anyone been to Donovan's at 32nd St/C'back?

        2. Lovely!

          Still waiting on the job transfer, should know by the end of the year if I'm heading to VA or not.

          The stone crab is so good!!

          I've not been to Donovan's, but my brother has been several times and he loved it! Had only great things to say.

          There's also Captial Grille, I've not been to the one here, but I've been to others in the country and it's great.

          And, there's always Ruth's Chris, which I think is great.

          1. I have heard some really great things about Mastro's up in north Scottsdale. It's run by the same people who do Drinkwater's City Hall, and is said to be even better than Drinkwater's. My vote would still go with Durant's, though; there's just nothing quite like it.

            And oh, how I long for the days before Michael Monti got to run La Casa Vieja down on Mill in Tempe. Speaking of Monti's, does anyone have a copy of the Roman Bread recipe from there? I know it's a pretty basic rosemary focaccia, but there was a certain something to theirs that I haven't quite been able to duplicate in the comfort of my own home.

            1. Acacia, at the Four Seasons in North Scottsdale--

              1. I'd recommend either Drinkwater's or Mastro's. I think locally both are a bit better than Capital Grille. I've had the Ribeye there a couple of times and it is really fantastic. As is the Gorgonzola Mac & Cheese.

                The downside could be that both have some of the Scottsdale scene to them though, younger and less of it at Drinkwater's though.

                1. Though I would probably choose Durant's first, one that I have not seen mentioned is Capitol Grill @ 24th Camelback/Biltmore Fashion Whatever. Though they are a limited chain, I have found them to be better than Morton's - they are basically cut from the same cloth, but better on all of my dining occasions.

                  I've not been to Drinkwater's, so I cannot comment. Also, unlike most on this board, I have yet to have a good meal at Maestro's - maybe the wrong phase of the Moon, or something.

                  The reports that I have gotten, re: Donovan's have not been glowing, and all three are from avowed carnivores.


                  1. Mazeltov! Good health and joy to you and your family.

                    If the hubby likes a la carte, my recommendation would be Mastro's and I will second the love for their gorgonzola mac. Hey, if it's good enough for Tom Cruise, right? (Ick.) I also think their bar is top-notch and their dry-iced Cosmo might be my choice for first adult imbibable after a long abstention. Mastro's also takes the pride in service that makes Durant's such a pleasure. I am not a huge carnivore, but their bone-in choices are certainly craveable.

                    1. I will throw in my vote for Durant's. But that is one of my most favorite restaurants in the Valley, so there you go.

                      I would also suggest Mastro's as a second choice or even Drinkwaters', although the former gets better reviews.

                      I would, however, avoid Donovan's. Too many people saying the prices are way out of sync with what you get and that they got better meals at Ruth's or Flemings (which might be two other options for you, but I would go with Flemings).

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Seth Chadwick

                        Allow me to add my vote for Flemings. I've done several of the other steakhouses in town, but one thing that is nice about Flemings is that there tends to be more space between the tables. I was practically sitting on a stranger's lap at Morton's. I also like the more casual vibe, although it's still very nice.

                        Have a great time!

                      2. Thanks for the feedback everyone.

                        Mastro's is our standby. I intentionally left that out of my first post becase I wanted to hear what everyone had to say. I'm one of those freaks who goes to Mastro's and orders the *gasp* sea bass, because I love how they prepare it so much.

                        We ended up going with Mastro's. Everything is just right about it: food, bar, vibe. I want to try something new, but something keeps pulling me back there.

                        We will make it to Durant's soon. We live right down the street so it's easier to visit. I dream about that garlic bread....

                        1. Out of sheer curiosity, I went over to Monti's a couple nights ago. I see no reason to return. Too much stuff tasted like it came out of a Sysco frozen food catalog. The steaks and Roman bread were enjoyable, but everything left me thinking "You know, next time I want steak, I should just make it at home."

                          1. I remember my grandparents taking me to the old Monti's on 19th Ave and Cactus. I didn't grow up in a very high-brow family, so the steaks seem to fit the bill. As an eight year old I just remember the sit-down PacMan game they had in the lobby.

                            I think Monti's in Tempe makes it based on the tourist trade. I never hear very good reviews.

                            1. i'll go in on durants too, just love the place..the best marg's ever, and its more of a martini place ;) don't know what they do to make them so special ;)

                              definitely old phoenix, great atmosphere, good service, good steaks, i just love it

                              1. Donovan's is my favorite. The service is outstanding, the meat is fantastic, and it has "that steakhouse atmosphere."

                                1. Just came across this - obviously I'm late! But I wanted to point out that our two choices are Drinkwater's or Mastro's. And all three of Mastro's locations offer stone crab in season, another reason we love those places (Ocean Club is also good but lacking in the steak department). Personally, we prefer Drinkwater's, not because of any difference in food but because the crowd is a lot classier. Mastro's unfortunately is overrun by the low-class Hawaiian shirt & bermuda shorts crowd while Drinkwater's is more of a suit & tie place.

                                  I don't understand the love for Durant's. It's very cool as far as the Rat Pack atmosphere and walking in through the kitchen a la Goodfellas, but the steaks to me were like eating a Big Mac compared to the Mastro's restaurants. The last time I think I got more fat than meat on my plate. Just horrible.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: NeverColdCall

                                    I am sorry you had a bad experience at Durant's. My family and I have been having Christmas Eve dinner there for the past 25 or so years and everything is always spot on. There was one time when my pork chops came out cold, but they fixed the issue and comped dessert for our troubles.

                                    Although this doesn't relate to your experience, I do know a lot of people who hate, hate, HATE, Durant's because they don't understand how they could keep the crushed red velvet wallpaper, the black leather booths and the tuxedoed waiters. I find it refreshing to have an oasis of sorts that remembers the heyday of the Rat Pack 1950s.

                                    That atmosphere is much more entertaining than what I can find at Morton's or Ruth's.

                                  2. Interesting that you would call the Mastro's crowd low class. Considering that, first, Mastro's and Drinkwater's are owned by the same restaurant group; and that, second, these are folks paying $50 and up so for their dinner. Not particularly low class in my eye. Arizona is a tourist destination and a casual atmosphere. You can walk into almost any fine dining establishment in bermuda shorts and a button-down. My guess is that those are $100 Reyn Spooner's they're wearing.


                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: geg5150

                                      I agree. Throngs of obviously successful, wealthy older men wearing bermuda shorts and Tommy Bahama button-downs somehow translates to being "low-class" ?

                                      It's Scottsdale, Arizona. We're often talking resort casual, country club prep, etc., etc., to these types of establishments. Suits and ties aren't always necessary to evoke a higher class of clientele.

                                    2. interesting comment about durants too.. in 15 years i've never had a bad meal there. if you were unhappy and said something to the staff, i'm certain they woul dhave worked to make you happy.

                                      1. I really agree with the praise for Durant's. The only people I can see who complain about the place, are probably managers and staff from competing restaurants.

                                        I took six people from work to Durant's last week, and the service, food, and ambiance were outstanding, as usual. The place is unique, comfortable, and inviting. I truly cannot understand what is to dislike about the place. I loath the corporate 'everything must be the same' mentality, and Durant's is not like Outback, etc.