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Best steak and wine with ambiance

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Just moved back to PHO/SCOTTS area. Looking for special dinner for husbands bday. Good steak options w/wine, preferably not a big chain.

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  1. It's a chain, but IMO the best combo of quality food, excellent wine list and somewhat reasonable price is Flemings. Best Flemings is the original at Scottsdale and Lincoln.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jock

      I second this. What sets them apart in my opinion is their wine program. In addition to a well thought out fairly priced wine list you can order a flight of three wine tastings and then pick whichever you like best and order a bottle. Fleming's doesn't mark up the three tastings either. For a one-third pour you are charged one-third the per glass price.

      Of the non-chain steak places I'd probably pick Donavan's on east Camelback. Been there a couple of times and thought it was very good.

    2. For ambiance for a special occasion, two of our favorites are Durant's (vintage, classic old school) and J&G Steakhouse (modern, fabulous view).

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      Durant's
      2611 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85004

      J&G Steakhouse
      6000 East Camelback Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

      1. Bourbon http://www.michaelmina.net/restaurant...

        1. just add to the confusion .. BLT at Camelback Inn was best meal I've had in a while, though
          I still love City Hall as well. Wine at both is very good selection, but priced aggressively

          1. Mastro's is by the far the most superior cut of steak in Phx. I just ate there after many years and it proved once again noone IMHO can out do them.
            .
            The most amazing Pretzel bread and Porterhouse for 2! I promise you wont be dissappointed

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            Mastro's City Hall Steakhouse
            6991 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

            4 Replies
            1. re: drewb123

              I've done three of the Mastro's properties, and most on at least three occasions. I just do not get it, but it must be me, as so very many on this board sing the praises.

              While I do agree about the wine program at Flemings, I have had the best steaks at another mini-chain, Capital Grill (Biltmore). I find the PHX location to be better than the original, in DC, and by a good amount.

              Normally, I am not into chain restaurants, even at this level, and usually feel that many (Morton's, Ruth's) are just "adult McDonald's with a wine list. For some reason, we end up hosting events at Capital Grill, and have not chosen the location. Each time, they have delivered beyond my expectations.

              Just another thought,

              Hunt

              1. re: Bill Hunt

                Good to know about Capital Grille here. Even though it's my husband who is the big steakhouse fan, before I met him I used to live in walking distance of the Capital Grille in Boston (on Newbury Street) so have had many great meals and fond memories there. Since moving to AZ, E and I have been to the one in Scottsdale, but only for cocktails and of course a Stoli Doli.

                I used to think the one in Boston was the original, but was told the original is actually not DC either, but in Providence, Rhode Island.

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                Capital Grille
                2502 East Camelback Suite 199, Phoenix, AZ 85016

                Capital Grille
                16489 North Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85254

                1. re: Rubee

                  ... and I thought they were out of Altanta ...

                  1. re: Rubee

                    Interesting, the folk in DC must have lied to us! Without getting political, who would have imagined that.

                    We've dined in Boston, and it was good, but was only a one-time thing. In DC, because of the proximity to the Capital, we end up there fairly often. Actually, more often than the one at the Biltmore, which is MUCH closer to us. They have, however, failed, and one group that we often host annually, insist on Capital Grill.

                    Hunt

                    PS - looks like RI wins!!!! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Capi...

              2. If you go to Capital Grille, you MUST try the Kona Rub. I've taken dozens of people there & each time I recommend the rub. Most decline as it sounds awful... decaf coffee, carmelized shallot butter etc. But, when they taste my steak, each time they wish they would have ordered the rub. I get it on the bone in Delmonico... it's spectacular. Been to steakhouses all over the country and while the cuts of meat might be a bit superior, the Kona Rub makes Cap Grille my fav steakhouse in the entire country! Glad we have two here in Phoenix, but I do prefer the Biltmore location to North Scottsdale!

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                Capital Grille
                16489 North Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85254

                1. I really have to take issue with recommending Flemings. Since Outback purchased the chain years ago it has gone downhill dramatically. I have eaten at the Ahwatukee location, Tucson Foothills and the original on Scottsdale Road over the past few years. All of the meals were disapointing except for the original location at the Hilton on Scottsdale Road. I have simply stopped going there and much prefer some of the other choices mentioned. Yes they have a great wine list but most top end extablishments do as well.

                  My two cents would lean towards Donovan's, which by the way is a chain, or Capital Grill.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: AzDumpling

                    Have only done the Flemings at the Hilton property, so cannot comment on any others. They still do a nice meal (Hilton location), and it ranks up with some "vaunted" steakhouses for us.

                    We have never been impressed with Donovan's, though we did enjoy the old Harris'.

                    Capital Grill (Biltmore) has always come through too, as has their Washington, DC shop.

                    Personally, we loved Durant's, but the last two visits have left us disappointed. Maybe bad nights?

                    We have done many, though certainly not all, and have been underwhelmed at most of the other steakhouses in the PHX Metro Area. Normally, we do NOT seek out steakhouses, but do find ourselves guests at many. Even with our host/hostess paying (and I often pressed into service to do the wines on their tab), the experiences have been less that we would have liked.

                    Maybe we're just not "steakhouse folks," but then I HAVE enjoyed several others around the US.

                    Hunt

                    1. re: AzDumpling

                      My husband loves the filet at Donovan's too.

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                      Donovan's Steak & Chop House
                      3101 E Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ 85016

                    2. Agree 100% with the Capital Grille and Kona Rub recommendations. While we're on the topic, anyone know a place that serves grass-fed free range steaks? I usually buy them myself from a farmer's market, but I know a good steakhouse could do a better job than I can with my gas grill.

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                      Capital Grille
                      16489 North Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85254

                      1. I like Mastros the best - if had to choose one fo them I would pick Ocean Club as I have had some fantastic meals there

                        I also like Capital Grille the one in North Scottsdale anf FLW has been good when i have been there

                        At Flemings I liked all the sides but not the steak

                        Have had many disappointments at J & G so i refuse to go there anymore - although the view is awesome i wish the food would follow suit

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                        Capital Grille
                        16489 North Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85254

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Dapuma

                          best onion rings in town at original flemings. by a huge margin.

                          1. re: jock

                            that cheesy au gratin potato thing there is great as well

                        2. Not really a steak house (in case you are still lQQking) but Kai has three steak-like options and would definitely rate high for service, wine and ambiance.

                          Best bet is the grilled buffalo tenderloin, served with this from their web site: "Smoked Corn Puree, Cholla Buds, Merquez Sausage and Scarlet Runner Bean Chili, Saguaro Blossom Syrup" ... the Merquez sausage has an especially nice complementary taste with the buffalo.

                          My second choice would be the "Red Deer Venison Loin with Sage Infused Gnocchi". My wife had this dish on a recent visit and it was very good, tender without being gamey tasting.

                          They also offer "Dry Aged Bone-In Rib Eye Steak with Kai Steak Sauce" ... I had a similar dish once (except NY Strip instead of Rib Eye) and didn't like it as well as the buffalo, which I've had a few times and which is typically excellent. So I wouldn't recommend this option personally.

                          Kai is the only restaurant in Arizona rated 5* by Forbes (one of just 23 in the USA and Canada) and because of the emphasis on the Native American traditions (it's at the Sheraton Wildhorse Pass resort on the Gila Indian Rez) it's a different experience than a 'typical' restaurant. Service is better than at any of the eight Michelin 3* restaurants we've visited.

                          Anyway, I realize it's not a steak and chops place but thought I'd toss it out there as we just had an excellent meal there earlier this week.

                          For the next few weeks, until they close late July for the summer, the buffalo plus a starter and the fry bread w/ ice cream dessert is part of a special fixe prix menu for just $59 (have to ask for this when you call for reservations).

                          1. +1 Mastro's, N. Scottsdale location is the best by far. One step down I like Ruth's Chris. For pure atmosphere, you can't beat BLT at Camelback Inn.

                            1. Browsing thru the Dining section of the Arizona Republic I saw three links to 'best steak' that may be of interest to you.

                              "Top 10 steakhouses in the Phoenix area" from last Dec by the best-know local food critic ... almost all the ones mentioned in this thread are on Howard's list:

                              http://www.azcentral.com/thingstodo/d...

                              " Readers' Choice: Best Steakhouse" (not to kill the suspense but it's Durant's)

                              http://www.azcentral.com/best/2011/re...

                              "Critics' Pick: Best Steakhouse" (Seftel's pick was Bourbon Steak at the Princess

                              )

                              http://www.azcentral.com/best/2011/cr...

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: willyum

                                Interesting. The closest that I would come to choosing any of those would be Durant's, but with a qualifier for "some years back." Shows how little I know, regarding steakhouses.

                                The rest have left me very cold.

                                Hunt