Great steak in Milwaukee
Capital Grille is my favorite steak house in the country - (although I've never eaten at the Milwaukee location) ... followed shortly thereafter by Coerpers (although it's been years since I've been in Milwaukee).. You'll love the Kona Rub at Capital Grille. It's Kona coffee, brown sugar, etc. In fact, this is probably the same reason that I love Koerpers because of how they charbroil their steaks with a sugar rub. Capital Grille is a man's type decor - not really romantic but phenomenal wine, outstanding service, & quiet. Coerpers is in downtown Milwaukee, in kind of a seedy area but it's frequented by many professionals from downtown. It's been a while since I've been there but the decor used to be very old style steakhouse and a bit noisy (has that changed with new name & management?) I've eaten at steakhouses around the country when I travel om biz as it's my favorite meal and nothing holds a candle to these two steakhouses. Don't be fooled by fact the Cap Grille has multiple locations . . . that's likely because people like me want an always reliable upscale steakhouse and will seek one out whereever we travel. I hate other franchises like Mortons & Ruths Chris & tolerate some like Donovans because they have such great cuts of meat. But I tend to love the local favorites like Coerpers in Milwaukee, Metropolitan Grille in Seattle or Mastros in Phoenix . . . all that being said, I'd never pass up a chance to eat the Kona Rub on a bone-in ribeye at CapGrille. Some cuts of meat are aged, others have phenomenal dry rub. Nice wine list too.
I was just at the 5 O'clock (formerly Coerper's) on Saturday night. The 1959 supper club description is right on (although I'm nowhere near old enough to personally verify what a supper club was like in 1959). The atmosphere is convivial and celebratory but by far one of the loudest restaurants I've ever dined in (doesn't bother me, just an observation).
I liked the kitschy atmosphere but the steak (bone-in ribeye) was just good, not great. Granted, I had been noshing all day and wasn't starving, but a great steak is a great steak and this wasn't in the top echelon. I'm not a huge fan of the steak being served in a 1/4 inch deep pool of au jus and I agree with jastjohn that the style of cooking masks any inherent quality of the beef.
I don't feel like I wasted the $30-some dollar cost of the steak but being a visitor to the city, I would probably sample a few other steaks before I went back.
Carnevor (yes, spelled that way) is terrible. Expect upwards of 50 dollars for a ribeye, and side items a la carte after that. In fact, the most expensive restaurant in the city, according to Ann Christenson in Milwaukee magazine.
Coerper's is legendary (now called 5 O' Clock Club) and Saveur called it the third best steakhouse in the country. I think it's boring and possibly unpleasant. It has a loyal following due to its retro (and nowadays perhaps highly unfashionable) method of char-broiling the steaks, so they arrive sizzling with a crust of blackened sugar and spices. I think this masks the taste of the meat, but one could hardly complain about that as people continue to come here to smoke cigars in the restaurant, which does enough to ruin the flavor of your food by itself.
Mo's is really, really average. I've had heated debates with people about Coerper's but haven't met anyone yet who really likes Mo's.
Capital Grille I've never been to. It might be worth noting that it didn't crack a number of "Best steakhouses in Milwaukee" lists.
The place to go, I think, is Mason Street Grille. It's fabulous and I think a shoo-in for best steak in the city. Also, Eddie Martini's is an institution almost as venerable as Coerper's and I think much better.
But I suppose the bottom line is that Coerper's is the legend, and it's mostly love it or hate it. It's worth going to.
Hope this helps. Milwaukee is my city and steak my favorite food.
Milwaukee is also my city, and steak is also my food, my first suggestion; Bacchus or Lake Park Bistro, although both menus aren't heavily steak oriented, they both offer two steak choices and each menu offers a steak for two, either a ribeye for two (lake park) or a porterhouse for two (Bacchus), both have exceptional winelists and other courses that offer a fair other than a typical steakhouse, (wedge salad, baked potato, etc). Also, possibly two of the most beautiful dinning rooms I've seen in the city, and both are very romantic.
Next, Captial Grille- DON'T DO IT! I don't even think it's overrated, because it's not rated very highly. Ghetto gave it 2 1/2 stars, which is not desired when you are spending close to $40 an entree. This is my least favorite steak place in city, and a lot has to do with it being corporate, the servers are very rehearsed, and it was an overall crappy experience.
Carnevor is NOT terrible. It's really silly to say that it is. Yes, very expensive, but very good. Also one of the only two restaurants in the city that offers kobe style beef, which is why I went there in the first place. It is very "L.A." in style, and service, probably not a good anniversary choice.
End up at Lake Park Bistro....you will both love the food and the view, perfect for an anniversary.
You know, I forgot Bacchus. They really do have an excellent steak. And they offer, if my memory serves me correctly, your choice of sauce (bearnaise, red wine shallot, etc.) if you're into dressing your steak, and they all were great.
As for Lake Park Bistro, I don't think they have bad steak, I would just never order it when they have so many other great things on the menu. Good French food is hard to find in Wisconsin and Lake Park Bistro does it exceptionally well (note chef Adam Siegel's recent James Beard award). In fact, I would say LPB is my favorite restaurant in Milwaukee, but for reasons other than steak.
Maybe I went to Carnevor on an off night. My ribeye was almost unpalatably charred, although not quite, so I couldn't send it back. More irritating were the phenomenal markup and affected snobbiness of the waitstaff. Our server was terrible, you know the sort: mispronounces everything, especially Italian (brooSHEtta) and French (cab. sav-in-naan), yet posses a tone which indicates that a miserable nouveau riche wretch such as you should feel lucky to receive such refined service. Not to mention, I couldn't hear others at my table over the extremely loud house (the bad kind--clothing store) music. All in all, maybe that is indeed "LA" style, but here in Milwaukee I think its a rather shallow attempt at "hipping up" the city. Real food, good service, fair prices, that's what I like...
Thanks for your input, serversweetheart. Good to know other people recognize LPB for what it's worth.
Are you refering to Coerper's? If so, that is the one I'd pick. The neighborhood is kind of rough, but they have their own off-street parking, and I have never had a problem in the course of many visits over the years. I like the food a lot more than Mo's. It's not cheap, and this is not a place to go if you are concerned about being somewhere else on time afterwards, and the ambiance is pure 1959 supper club, but the food is from heaven.
Another steak place the I love but is rarely mentioned here is Butch's Clock Steak House. I actually prefer their more casual Old Casino Steak House, but for an anniversary dinner, the Clock is probably a better bet.
I have not yet been to Carnevore or Capitol Grill.