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Romantic meal for 2 - Focus on STEAK

A buddy of mine wants to take his lady out next month for a romantic dinner date. It's a tradition of theirs to go to Morton's or Ruth Chris, but he's asked me for another recommendation, so of course I've come to you, my friends.

The first places that came to mind for me were ZUNI and House of Prime Rib. But I'm sure there are some other good options in San Francisco.

He's got a pretty good budget (~$200) to work with so I know there are some other great options out there. What say you?

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  1. Zuni doesn't usually have steak and House of Prime Rib never does.

    Alfred's has a romantic atmosphere in a sort of old-school men's club way.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      I second Alfred's, having been there several times, and enjoying every visit. The chateaubriand for 2 is a memorable steak: the flavor of nicely aged beef with a wonderful velvety texture. Side dishes are very good, too.

    2. Bob's Steak House in the Omni Hotel - not exactly romantic but the steaks are pretty good.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Dog Lover

        I just went to Bob's on Sunday night to try it out. Probably was just a bad night for them but we had a pretty bad experience. The valets took forever... I must have been sitting in my car for almost 10 mins waiting for them and when they finally got to us, they didn't even apologize for the wait.

        Inside the restaurant, we both ordered starters... he the soup and I the Ceasar salad. My salad was pretty good but nothing super spectacular.

        Then came the steaks (which come with a gigantic glazed carrot and a potato side - which is nice to not have to order seperate sides.) The steaks were alright, but the carrot wasn't good. It was sweet and the glaze got all over my steak and pretty much spoiled the steak for me.

        I got a baked potato with my steak and they come around to each table with condiments for the potato - like sour cream, bacon bits, green onions, and cheese. Although I like that you get to choose what to put in your potato, it was pretty messy and some cheese fell on me. Once again, no apologies.

        But it was our first time there and maybe it was just a bad night. I know I'll be asking for no carrot though if I went again.

        1. re: lamster

          That carrot is one of the worst ideas for a side dish ever. It is one of those dishes that makes me angry enough to write off a restaurant altogether, because Bob's is obvioulsy very proud of that stupid, mushy, way-too-sweet carrot.

          1. re: The Dive

            I agree. The only way I'd go back there is if someone else was picking up the tab. I hate to say this about food that other people might like, but that stupid carrot really spoiled my dinner.

      2. Why don't you advise him to go to Florio on Fillmore and have the steak frittes for two? Great environment and when the steak is good, its very good. Another option would be to go to Absinthe and get their rib eye which is generally good as well. Morton's or Ruth's Chris are real chain-like traditional steak house kind of places. Stay away from Joe Dimaggio's as well unless you prefer the feeling of being in Sacramento and watching some ESPN in the bar before dinner.

        1. Not your traditional steak restaurant at all, but I've had really really good steak at Limon. It can be noisy there downstairs, but it's quieter and more romantic upstairs, so he should request a table up there.

          2 Replies
          1. re: JasmineG

            i've actually heard about this as well. 'best steak ever' is how i heard this explained to me, i doubt i'd stick my head out that far on a limb, but comes from a fairly reputable source.

            1. re: wchane

              I think I described it close to that way after the first time I had it. It's really a very good steak, they cooked it exactly the way I wanted (which is hard to find), and it's amazingly cheap for that good a steak. I was talking about it for days after the first time I was there.

          2. Might just be the Giants fan in me, but I think Acme is romantic.

            1. Send him to Chez Spencer for a steak. Great environment, good cocktails, off the beaten path.

                1. Globe (SF, Financial District, near Broadway) always has a "steak for two" - some massive porterhouse / hanger steak thing. I think it's a romantic place, by which I mean small and dark and a great bartender and open late. Steak for Two is immediately more romantic than ordering two steaks. Globe also serves good oysters, if that's your idea of fun.

                  The steak they serve is somewhat unusual. They go for a fatty cut, somewhat thin (maybe only an inch) covering a huge plate. It's dripping with --- drippings. I had one friend report they hated it, because it was "greasy". I thought the flavor was astonishing, luxurious, decadent. Not the standard Harris Ranch / Ruth's Chris - if they're expecting that, they might hate it - although not quite Waygu, but that's a closer picture. But the juice - I wanted to bathe in that steak juice forever, and every bite was an explosion of flavor. I also remember getting a bottle of Ridge something for a reasonable price, which helped.

                  This memory is from a few years ago (4?). I'm pretty sure I saw steak for 2 last time I was at Globe, but don't if the prep has changed or whether I got lucky.

                  While this is unlikely to help the OP, maybe it'll help someone else.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: bbulkow

                    That sounds like an excellent steak. I like the idea of a large steak, plenty of fat, not too think, covering the entire plate.

                    1. re: poulet_roti

                      bbulkow says the steak is thin. I'm sure I would have no problem gulping it down, but I don't favor a thin steak.

                      1. re: Atomica

                        Most places these days seem to shoot for about 4 inches. I had a "barrel cut" (you take a large piece of meat and cut out the heart) recently that was cylindrical.

                        What I like about the 1" steak is more grill taste, less insides. It worked out, trust me.

                        1. re: bbulkow

                          As I said, I would happily eat it, but since I favor steak that is quite rare, I like something in between the "barrel cut" and a 1-inch steak. A thin steak is bound to be overcooked for my tastes.

                    2. re: bbulkow

                      I went with friends to Globe recently; they ordered the steak for 2 since they both like it medium -- they loved it and I tasted and liked a more "done" edge. None of us, tho, will return because the place is too, too noisy and cramped, not a nice experience and definitely not romantic. I really love the bone in rib eye at Ruth's Chris and Houston's has delicious prime steaks.

                    3. if you're willing to travel south a bit, Alexander's Steakhouse in Cupertino. dishes are beautifully done and they can satisfy their cravings for Kobe beef. Real classy setting too.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: nicedragonboy

                        i'll have to agree with nicedragonboy...they have a great wine taster; last time i went it was cain 5, dominus, and i think opus one. their appetizer in a spooin was good too. i think it was like a tuna ceviche. but it's a pretty far drive from frisco

                        1. re: EnderWiggin

                          Isn't that in a strip mall as well? Hard to compare with a something in the city.

                          1. re: poulet_roti

                            true...but if you can avert your eyes until you get in the restaurant you should be pleased.

                            here's the website for pics. if that doesn't get you drooling, i don't know what will.


                            1. re: nicedragonboy

                              That's the closest thing to flickr-style food porn I've seen on a restaurant's own website...

                              1. re: Pincho

                                I am drowning in my own saliva!!!
                                What an incredible series of food pictures..artistic and very seductive!

                                If you want to see what we are talking about, click on this link, and THEN click on FOOD


                          2. re: nicedragonboy

                            I also agree with nicedragonboy here. Love the place.

                            There's another discussion going on about Alexander's -- http://www.chowhound.com/topics/376059.

                            We've been many times and will continue to go back.

                          3. If they are willing to trek to St. Helena - Press (Leslie Rudd's establishment) is for those who appreciate a good steak. I'm not a steak person, but I have enjoyed the cuts and preparations there. Portions normally serve two. The beef is midwest and custom-aged to's the restaurant's specifications. The chocolate souffle or baked alaska are a nice finish to the evening.

                            1. what's everyone else's opinion of Vic Stewart's in Walnut Creek. also across from a mall. I've had mixed experiences there from outstanding to wish i could get my money back. i've had the prime rib, porterhouse, ny and ribeye. The porterhouse and ny were both quite good, but the prime rib was relatively bland though they do give you one of the biggest slaps i've ever seen while the ribeye with their so-called signature barbeque sauce was down right gross. the cuts i had were about average to slightly above average for the price you pay, nothing spectacular.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: nicedragonboy

                                Never been but always used to see it advertised on those "Top 10 Steakhouses of North America" advertisements on UAL. I've heard its good but again, not a big fan of huge slabs of meat, especially with a bbq or other type of sauce. I've always found that a good steak should generally speak for itself, of course with the help of a bit of salt and pepper.

                                1. re: nicedragonboy

                                  I only went to Vik Stewart's once. The food was mediocre. It certainly is no more romantic than any chain steak house.

                                2. Harris' or El Raigon...neither is particularly romantic, but what steakhouse is? Both offer excellent, albeit different, steaks...

                                  1. Though Jeanty at Jack's doesn't have an extensive steak menu, what they do have they do perfectly. Ask for one of the more intimate tables on the mezzanine or second floor when making reservations.

                                    1. My wife and I had a couple of fine steaks at Boca in Novato the other night. The meat was very good, but the baked potato stole the show...it seemed like they baked it in a crust of salt which imparted a wonderful leathery and slightly salty character to the skin.

                                      It was our first trip to Boca and my objective was to try their dry-aged steak. Unfortunately, the only dry aged item on the menu was the Gaucho Steak for two, but my wife wasn't up to eating half of that. So I had to do without. Drives me crazy when a restaurant offers their main attraction in a manner that excessively limits customer choice.

                                      Consequently, I'm looking for a place that will serve dry aged steak in single portions.