HOME > Chowhound > Chains >


Steakhouse with cook your own option

  • s

Have you been to a steakhouse where you could grill your own? Did you enjoy it? Where was it and the name. I have never been to one and would like to try one. Thanks for the help!
PS I know some people think "Why would I want to grill my own steak? Didn't I go out so I don't have to cook?" It's a novel idea and I'm a guy that doesn't always make sense:)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. About 10-12 years ago while on vacation in the Virginia Beach/Williamsburg area, we took our children to a place like this. Sorry don't remember the name. Kept the kids enthralled long enough to have a semi decent dinner. Dont recall it being very expensive, somewhere around Pondersa Steakhouse pricing.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Diane in Bexley

      I swear this place is nationally famous. Even people who have never been to the area used to ask me about it when I lived there. I first heard of it when I was moving from OH to VA, and the mover told me about it.

      It's The Grate Steak, and it's in Norfolk, VA.


      They have a giant grill in the middle of the room, and you go up there and slap your steak on it, and eat when ready. They prepare the sides, and there's a salad bar.

      Edited to add: This place isn't a chain. They did have a couple other restaurants in the Hampton Roads area, but they are closed now. The Norfolk location is its original and only location now.

      1. re: romansperson

        Roman, you are absolutely right. This was the place we went to. Can't swear it was in Norfolk, but somewhere in that vicinity as we were in between the Outer Banks and Williamsburg. It was long time ago (1996), don't remember the food as spectacular but it served its purpose.

        1. re: Diane in Bexley

          They did have two other restaurants at that time - one was in Chesapeake and the other was in Hampton, with the flagship in Norfolk. So you might have gone to one of the branches. And no, the food is nothing to write home about, but people sure seem to like the concept.

    2. I've been to a few when on vacations to Colorado. I've only seen them "out west" (I'm from the Northeast). I think these places are a lot of fun-- the meat is generally good quality, you can obviously cook your steak exactly to your preference, and the restaurant provides things you probably don't have at home, e.g. a commercial grill and various spices, oils, etc.

      I'm not aware of any chain that does this. The places I've seen & visited have all been independent restaurants, as far as I know.

      Does anyone know of any New England places that let you grill your own steak?

      1. Prime Quarter Steak House has six locations in Wisconsin and Central Illinois. Grill it yourself or they will cook it for you for a nominal extra charge. A small independent in Carpenteria called The Palms also does this and has been doing it for decades. Just south of Santa Barbara.

        1. Ive been to the Prime Quarter in Princeton, IL. a few times, and it is a fun time. We typically go in the winter, or when it rains when it can be a hassle to fire up the grill. The beef is choice, not prime, but they are big cuts. It can be fun to stand around with a cocktail in hand around the bbq pit, and grill the steak how you like it.

          1. I could be wrong, but I think I read somewhere that Korean BBQ places sometimes have a cook-it-yourself setup at each table. I would guess that the grill is either built into the table or they use a hibachi or similar small portable grill. If anyone has been to one of these places maybe they could describe the setup and procedure.

            7 Replies
            1. re: TomDel

              San Soo Gap San(korean BBQ) in Chicago brings a pot full of charcoal to each table if you decide to cook your own. Some other Korean BBQ spots in Chicago offer gas methods to cook with. As with all grilling I prefer charcoal or wood to gas.

              1. re: TomDel

                Jfood went to one in NYC probably 20 years ago named Woo Lae Oak (think they may have reopended at another spot). There was a big grate in the middle of the table and the server brought over your raw meat and veggies to cook yourself. After sitting there flipping the food eveyone at the table was thinking that the servers were all in the back laughing their butts off for coming up with a concept where the stupid americans think its really great to cook their own food and pay restaurant prices for the privilege. The place had a fire and burned to the ground. Guess not all cooks are created equal

                1. re: jfood

                  jfood, I remember Woo Lae Oak when it was on 38'st I believe. That was my first Korean food experience. And I vividly remember the 60's bar and lounge, and the banquet room on the left ,where the servers would shuttle dozens of bottles of Soji between white bar towels covered in crushed ice. Oddly enough, I don't remember the food too much except that after a while the holders with white hot charcoal under the table would give me a 2'nd degree burn on my knees

                  1. re: currymouth

                    jfood would have guessed 45th near 6th. He forgot about the knees getting burned. Ouch. Then some clever mucky decided on cooking a steak on a scalding hot rock at the table. One of jfood's overseas clients wanted to go. So there jfood sat at a table with a hot rock and and piece of filet making business conversation. All he could think of was if a steak ever fell on a rock at casa jfood, it would go in the garbage.

                    1. re: jfood

                      I also remember trying to order the Kimchi soup with beef noodles and a raw egg, and being told that I would not like that! have another beer. Woo lae Oak is now downtown and caters to trendy New Yorkers who thinks Panchan is the whole meal.

                2. re: TomDel

                  These places are quite common in Toronto. There is a gas grill in the centre of the table, and you also get a large pot of broth (with noodles, vegetables, etc.), so you can make soup. Considering the amount of food you get (as with most Korean places, you get a large number of side dishes to accompany your main course), they are actually quite economical. Didn't think the staff was laughing at us either, contrary to some other people's opinion.

                  1. re: KevinB

                    Since then {1992} I have grown to love good Korean food, and The Tristate area is chock full of good as well as great Korean Resturants. But in all the years I have lived in America, I have never encountered a Grill your own steak establishment. and taking into account the horror stories we read in the news of people suing because of some percevied infraction on the part of resturants, I can only guess as to the cost of insurance for these types of establishments

                3. I went to a Prime Quarter in Milwaukee a couple of years ago for my birthday (because I wanted a big honkin' hunk of rare red meat! From a cow that smokes!). I enjoyed it well enough, because I often like my steaks rarer than many kitchens are willing to serve them, but my wife was bored and didnt really see the point.

                  1. Went to a couple of these places in Australia a few years back; they are quite popular there. People seem to be a tiny bit more relaxed there, and don't mind striking up a conversation with a total stranger while cooking their dinner. However, unless you're experienced, it's easy on the very hot grill to overcook your meat.

                    Interesting as a novelty experience, but not anything I'd like to do on a regular basis.

                    1. Alexander's Steakhouse has 4 outlets in central Illinois, I have been to the Peoria one. We went with a group of 9 but it really wasn't much fun because I don't think there was a time we were all seated together at one time, there was always someone going to the grill or the salad bar. My MIL and one other chose not to grill and ordered from the menu, they spent much of the time alone at the table. They also didn't notice that there was a upcharge if you didn't grill it yourself. I didn't like the experience, it was so dark in the place you really couldn't see how done you meat was and it was just so so. Pretty pricey too for doing all the work yourself.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: LikestoEatout

                        Out in Priceton, about 40 mins. west of Ron's in Utica there is a Prime Quarter location. Princeton is a fun day trip, lots of antique malls, and to top it off with a big steak convinces me to tag along.

                        1. re: swsidejim

                          We've gone in to Princeton a few times and didn't notice Prime Quarter, where is it located? There is a great nursery there that specializes in Hostas.

                          1. re: LikestoEatout

                            Its on Backbone Road East of the main road that you come in off of I-80. It is the third or fouth stoplight south of I-80 & then left, the same stoplight where there is a grocery market.

                            250 Backbone Road East
                            Princeton, IL.

                            1. re: swsidejim

                              Thanks Jim! Next trip to Peoria will be Easter but maybe this summer we can get there as one of our side jaunts.

                      2. The Big Buck Brewery in Gaylord Michigan used to open up an outdoor cooking area during peak summer hours where you could cook your own or one of the crew would cook it for you. It was primarily to aleviate the long wait inside. This was several years ago and I can't swear to the fact that they still do this.