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Great Steaks in the Philly Burbs?

We live in Blue Bell and would like to find a moderately priced - not dressy - place to get a great steak. I've heard Alison's has them, but I get the impression that you have to "dress" to go there, which is fine for a special dinner, but we're T-shirts and jeans folks. any recommendations? I'm getting tired of hearing my hubby complain about overdone too thin t-bones at the chain places.

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  1. I cannot recommend Bridget's at 8 West in Ambler any more highly. They are on the upscale side, but definitely not what I would consider formal or dressy. I have worn jeans before (with a nicer top). They are technically a hawaiian fusion steakhouse (whatever that means) but they do great steaks. The menu changes seasonally, but their ribeye is typically on the menu and is out of this world (I love it prepared with merlot butter). Great wine list, great drink specials during the week and free raw bar on Thursdays if you want to sit at the bar for a drink before dinner.

    1. Sullivan's in KOP is very good and very crowded. Creed's also in KOP does a great steak. Flemings in Radnor is also very good.

      1. Order one of the "thick steaks" from the meat case at Texas Roadhouse.

        6 Replies
        1. re: scrapple

          Texas roadhouse....You should be ashamed. Corporate food and boxed beef? I had a prime rib there (an emergency food stop due to time) which was over promoted by the bartender...turned out to be the WORST chow in a long time. Workboot quality.

          1. re: Peghead

            Ok, if you want to not go to a chain restaurant (Outback, Flemings, Ruth Chris, Mortons, Sullivans, Cap Grille, S&W, Tx Roadhouse, Lonestar, Longhorn) and still want steak, there is always the 50 dollar porterhouse at Creeds which tastes no better than the 18 dollar one at TX roadhouse.

            Give me a break here.

            Here's a good one. I've had a 20 dollar steak cooked at that awful chain called the Rock Bottom Brewery that was more flavorful than the limp piece of filet mignon I paid three times more for at an upscale restaurant in Paris, of all places.

            This is steak. Its a piece of meat cooked on a grill. Its not rocket science.

            Yes, so obviously I am thoroughly ashamed for recommending a chain-store steak.

            1. re: scrapple

              Know doubt about it, bad steak is everywhere. Let’s use our noggin shall we? In the great production gear box that is the American food industry, a great steak might be found at a chain place. It would be like winning the lottery. They just sold steak number 27,642 to the schlep before you and you just happen to get a good one because the meat plant in Iowa let it fall into the “Texas” box off the “Omaha” cart.

              Take a moment and read the “Omnivores Dilemma” and get back to me. Plus, get a good steak (if you can find one at a local butcher, from a local source, raised correctly) and cook it up next to that hunk of heffer from Acme and do a taste test. Then you’ll know.

              It's not rocket science.... It's food science, and marketing science, and consumer science. All to get you to believe that the $2 per pound beef is just as good as the $20 per pound.

              Keep chewing!

              1. re: Peghead

                So name an "independent" restaurant in the Philadelphia area that procures steaks that are better than the steaks they have at Smith and Wollensky or the Capital Grille.

                Eagerly awaiting your reply.

                And after you do that, name an "independent" restaurant in the Philadelphia area that procures steaks that are better than the steaks found at the Tx Roadhouse, that you could comfortably walk in on in t-shirt and jeans.

                Again, eagerly awaiting your reply.

                1. re: scrapple

                  I regret, I'm without a specific reply for where to go. I think the steak at the cap grill would be fine having been to a few in new england. Again, it's a crap shoot on whether you get lucky for a good one.

                  I think the point is that the us "beef" industry is incapable of producing a product worthy of the the title "excellent" on a consistant basis to all the demand that exists. (too many eaters, not enough hight grade cows) Further, the "TX roadrouse type palces" offer what they suggest is great steak, but actually is a great marketing campaign. How does great reconcile with "mid-priced"

                  I wll begin my search for said steak house serving prime, grass fed, organic beef, properly prepared and report back. After all, when I find it, I'll want to go, as they will be the exception, not the rule. As well, they will proudly state the circumstances of their operation because it will be unique....and no doubt EXCELLENT! (with or without tee-shirt)

                  Kobe beef will be my first look. Now that's a great steak!
                  eagerly searching.

                  1. re: Peghead

                    Yeah, once you find an "independent steakhouse that serves organic Kobe beef in an environment that lets you walk in wearing t-shirt and jeans" let us all know.

        2. Yeah - we tried to go to Texas Roadhouse the other evening, the line was out the door at 7:30... haven't got the patience to wait that long. ;-)
          Hopefully the place will calm down some - or we'll find the time on a weeknight to go!

          6 Replies
          1. re: jujuthomas

            What is the Texas Roadhouse? Is it a chain?

            1. re: G Goo

              Texas Roadhouse, Sullivan's, and Flemings are all chains...

              1. re: bluehensfan

                It makes me a little sad that with all of the great restaurants in the burbs, that most of the recs seem to focus on chain restaurants. I think that is a huge misconception that the the suburbs are just full of chain restaurants. While I agree we all have our share of chain restaurants, there are some great local places to be found, if you know where to look. That is why I think this website is so great.

                1. re: AmblerGirl

                  Since you know these places exist, tell us where they are, instead of just telling us they exist if you know where to look. I thought this site was supposed to help in finding new places, not just in telling people there are great places to eat if YOU know where to look.
                  Chains like Tx Roadhouse, Outback and Sullivan's serve a purpose, and while I enjoy the filet I order at places like the Blue Bell Inn and Wm Penn Inn, these are not the sort of places one can walk into while wearing t-shirts and jeans. The steaks at the chains are not dog food. I have rarely gotten a 'poor' piece of meat when I go there. Maybe in over 20 years, I have been the lucky guy who just happens to get the best steak in the box every visit, although I doubt it. I love filet, and I have been more disappointed in the places where the filet was suppose to be of a higher quality than in the places where I can go in a t-shirt and jeans.

                  1. re: BigAppetite

                    Um - she did tell us where she recommends - first reply to my original post. :)

            2. re: jujuthomas

              FYI, Texas Roadhouse has "call ahead" service- and it truly worked when I tried it. I'm not really a fan of these type of chains, (I greatly dislike Outback) however, I do really like the prime rib at Texas Roadhouse & the ribs. Also, sweet potato smothered is yummy!

              As for Sullivan's, I think I make a better steak at home. tried it 2x & disappointed both times other than the pineapple martini.

            3. I second the recommendation for Bridget's at 8 West in Ambler. Awesome steaks!

              1. It's a little bit further out than what most people think of as the Philly Burbs, but if you don't mind going for a drive, I'd consider Stoudt's Black Angus in Adamstown PA.


                I have had some great steaks there over the years and if you like microbrew beer, theirs are well reknown. They also have a decent wine list and a raw bar.

                And it's NOT a chain owned by a multinational corporation.

                1. If you're willing to drive a bit, we just had a great dinner last night at Marsha Brown's in New Hope- yummy hanger steak, really good raw bar, New Orleans bent, the eggplant ophelia was AWESOME.
                  Also, Allison's has a good steak that at least they used to cook over coals.
                  Unfortunately, both are probably a step up in dress code from jeans and t-shirt.

                  1. I used to get great Pittsburgh-rare steaks at the Columbia Hotel in Phoenixville. I hear it has since been re-done, but they were famous for years.

                    Also, out that way, the Seven Stars had ENORMOUS steaks and lobster tails with HUGE baked potatoes and half-head-of-iceberg salads. When I was a teenager, and could down a 3/4 lb. steak and half my mom's 16oz. lobster tail, it was a real treat.

                    I have been there as an adult, and was very impressed with the quality (I've never had a sweeter lobster tail, and at 1+ lbs. these are not crayfish !!)

                    1. Sullivans and Del Friscos are both owned by Coulter Enterprise aka Lone Star Steakhouse.

                      I know you are looking for outside of the city but venture into the city and go to Davios, they use Brandt beef and it is some of the best steak around!

                      1. I like the Pineville Tavern on route 413. They do a 'Luger' style porter house for two that is enjoyable considering the casual atmosphere. Also excellent rice pudding.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: pes

                          Reliance Inn in Souderton...casual and excellent steaks and seafood

                        2. Phil's Tavern in Blue Bell. Wear what you want. Decent food.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: cheesewit

                            Fleming's in Radnor, hands down!!

                          2. Best T-Shirt 'n Jeans (my preferential choice, too) place in the Philly 'Burbs is the Tiki Bar, out in Earlville - http://www.tikibarpa.com/manatawny.html - there's another in Schwenksville, but the trip out to Ol' Number One is well worth it! Dinner on the Ragin' Manatawney (30 feet wide and 3 inches deep!), real beer (none of that watered-down stuff!), and a variety of meats that you can cook yourself, to perfection! Shrimp, Scallops, Pork, fish, marinated meat, and the piece'-de-resistance' - the Big Ass Steak! A number of outdoor communial gas-fired grills with plenty of seasonings and spices make for a most enjoyable evening. Order a Hurricane (best North of Pat O'Brien's in N'Owleans) and they just might ring the bell for you (depends on whether or not a tempermental neighbor is at home!). Outdoor seating is preferable, but there's indoor too, for inclement weather. Raw bar, too. No reservations; strictly come as you are! No handicapped access (steps and gravel, but we managed to bring my wheelchair-bound mother-in-law a couple of times!). Little kids are OK (ducks to feed in the Manatawny), but young folks WILL be carded! Say "Hi!" to Jimmy! No, I'm not an investor; just a highly-satisfied Customer who wants to ensure the long-term survival of this great place!

                            Tiki Bar
                            1150 Manatawny Rd, Boyertown, PA 19512

                            Tiki Bar at Spring Mountain
                            750 Spring Mount Rd, Schwenksville, PA 19473

                            10 Replies
                            1. re: Twincam

                              I absolutely LOVE that place (in fact we are heading there for a visit this weekend!). Though since the place is always so crowded.... Let's keep it as a secret hidden gem!

                              1. re: Twincam

                                can you just explain to me the whole cook your own food thing? I mean, I've never been there, but I just can't imagine raving about a place where you have to cook your own dinner. I might as well stay home! If you can just explain it to me, i just don't get it.

                                1. re: DanielleM

                                  I was invited to the Tiki Bar for a birthday party a few years ago, and simply put, it sucks. Not only do you have to cook your own meal but it was as expensive as a "traditional" restaurant.......you know, one where a chef does the cooking. Additionally their "grill consultants" or whatever the heck you call them, are teenagers. Umm, yeah, don't think a senior in high school is going to give the best grill tips......not sure why this place is popular, but it is. $20 for a steak I have to grill myself.....puh-leeze.

                                  1. re: G Goo

                                    I am a big fan of the Tiki Bar, but it is definitely more for the atmosphere and not for the high end cuisine. It is just a fun atmosphere, a good place to kick back with friends. Either you like the "cook your own" think or you hate it. I know plenty of people that hate it but I personally always have a blast there.

                                    1. re: AmblerGirl

                                      Sorry for the venom, but when that place is mentioned I have an extreme visceral reaction. I fall into the "hate it" category (as I point out the obvious). The thing that really annoyed me was the price. If I remember correctly, it was something like $18 for a ny strip steak......that I grilled myself!! So if you're not paying for the service, and not the chef's talents, then what exactly are you paying for? Sorry, I'm going off again.......

                                  2. re: DanielleM

                                    My thoughts as well. There is a place in Blackwood, NJ that has a cook your own thing going. They bring out a superheated lava rock that you put your steak on and cook it ON YOUR TABLE!!! I was dragged there for drinks and appetizers and it was packed. I watched as the tables next to us got their rocks and then cooked their steaks (or chicken or fish). The guy next to us dropped his entire teriyaki steak on his pant leg and made a huge mess. Not to mention that it must have been really hot (he had jeans on, fortunately). The prices were comparable to what you would pay at most steak restaurants. Not cheap at all. We all came out smelling like we worked in a kitchen (we stunk), and wondering what the big fuss was all about. Oh, and there was no one working there that appeared to be over 17. Guess you don't need experienced workers if the clients cook their own food.

                                    1. re: mschow

                                      1st....Alison's is not the place for steak. It IS a good place for slightly overpriced...but painstakingly (sp?) crafted entrees. There is one steak on the menu...a hanger...it's great, but that's it.

                                      2nd...While I don't claim to know what restaurants use what particular types of beef....I must laugh/cringe at the posts saying that meat is meat and you just cook it on a grill. I've spent a lotta time behind a grill at a lotta places.....beef is not all the same. Grills are all not the same (with particular regard to temperature) . Aging and storage of beef is all not the same. Seasoning (yes...it's extremely important) is all not the same. Trimming...marination...proper resting...etc...

                                      OK...so I'm a bit passionate about steak.

                                      Regardless, it's ultimately real simple...find someone who makes one you like, and eat there. If it's TX Roadhouse or Mortons...whatever. I personally can't eat at many of the chains because a lot of them use MSG in their seasoning...gives the wife killer migranes.

                                      Davios, Creeds... best bets to me. If you wanna cook food yourself, try something really different and go to a Korean BBQ...Korea Garden in Blue Bell, or various others in Cheltenham. Order the BulGoKi

                                      1. re: Major504

                                        We went to Creed's for our anniversary this spring - it was amazing. Best steak I've ever eaten. Loved the atmosphere and the service.
                                        However, now that we're doing weight watchers, we've decided that the best steak place around is our own kitchen. ;-) My DH does a great job on the grill - and we get the exact portions/toppings/etc that we want.

                                  3. re: Twincam

                                    can anyone elaborate on the differences in the 2 tiki bars? We are planning to go to Spring mt b/c its closer but maybe we should head out to Earlville?

                                    1. re: nikrals

                                      If you can, head to the Earlville location. Both places are the same concept but the Spring Mount location just isn't as good as the original. The orginal is on the river with a real "tiki" feel while Spring Mount is just outdoor cooking and dining on a patio. I really like the Tiki Bar, have a good time and make sure to order the portabello mushroom!

                                  4. Flemings in Wayne is by far the best steak I have eaten. Not cheap...but worth the money. Go on a Sunday night and they have a $30 prime rib special that is wonderful.

                                    1. I earlier posted about Marsha Brown's, now I will agree with the Fleming's picks, and I don't think it's even close.
                                      I've eaten alot of meals at Creed's, Morton's, Marsha Brown's, Ruths Chris, etc.
                                      Flemings was easily the best, Morton's the worst.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: JCap

                                        We will try Flemings next time we splurge, Thanks! :)

                                        1. re: JCap

                                          I agree that Morton's is not worthy of the hype. I was extremely underwhelmed with my filet.

                                        2. I don't know if it will matter, as I see that I am quite late on this thread. Our hands down favorite steak place is CHOPS in Bala Cynwyd. Alex, the owner, is a product of the Palm, in CC Phila ..it is their loss!!. We have been to Chops countless times. The food and service have always been consistently good. They can cook your steak however you like, and it will be good! The typical steak house sides are among the best, and not greasey, as is the case with most local steak places that weI've been to, and we have been to just about all of them. Great wine list, also. The other dining patrons can be a little pretencious at times, but just ignore if that type of thing bothers you. They are also open for lunch.. a good way to try the place, but I swear that the evening steaks are better!!!

                                          1. Flemings was OK, but not that great that I would rush back.

                                            My recommendation would be Sullivans or Creeds or if you want the chared flavor from a wood burning grill, try Alba in Malvern, which serves Piedmontese food and the steaks are great.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: percyn

                                              Sullivan's is now our absolute favorite - go to - celebration place!

                                            2. I had a great NY Strip (topped w/ frizzled leeks and peppercorn sauce) at Tavern on the Hill in Chestnut Hill the other night. The place is an old-fashioned neighborhood pub, very casual and homey but great food and - unlike Outback Steakhouse - they make everything in-house and with lots of care. On prior visits I've had excellent burgers and wings (I posted about the wings). I really love this place and I worry that we'll lose it because people spend their dining dollars at flashier places and big chains. I read online that a young couple took over the Tavern a few years ago and have worked hard to change it from a grungy bar to a warm neighborhood place with good cooking. Just the kind of restaurant chowhounds love.

                                              But in any case, that's not why you should go. Go because you'll get a great steak.