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Best steak and wine with ambiance

clanger Jul 7, 2010 08:14 PM

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

  1. w
    willyum Jun 20, 2011 08:28 AM

    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:


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


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



    1 Reply
    1. re: willyum
      Bill Hunt Jun 20, 2011 08:18 PM

      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.


    2. d
      danieli10 Jun 20, 2011 06:45 AM

      +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. w
        willyum Jun 18, 2011 06:28 PM

        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. Dapuma Jun 18, 2011 11:30 AM

          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

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

          2 Replies
          1. re: Dapuma
            jock Jun 18, 2011 12:39 PM

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

            1. re: jock
              Dapuma Jun 19, 2011 08:05 AM

              that cheesy au gratin potato thing there is great as well

          2. c
            cactuschowdah Jun 17, 2011 12:57 PM

            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.

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

            1. a
              AzDumpling Jun 17, 2011 12:11 PM

              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
                Bill Hunt Jun 17, 2011 07:21 PM

                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.


                1. re: AzDumpling
                  Rubee Jun 17, 2011 10:03 PM

                  My husband loves the filet at Donovan's too.

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

                2. i
                  Indulgences Jun 17, 2011 12:53 AM

                  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!

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

                  1. drewb123 Jul 10, 2010 04:28 PM

                    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

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

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: drewb123
                      Bill Hunt Jul 10, 2010 09:37 PM

                      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,


                      1. re: Bill Hunt
                        Rubee Jul 11, 2010 12:51 PM

                        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.

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

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

                        1. re: Rubee
                          misohungrychewlow Jul 11, 2010 04:48 PM

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

                          1. re: Rubee
                            Bill Hunt Jul 12, 2010 08:33 PM

                            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.


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

                      2. k
                        kmarg Jul 10, 2010 04:24 PM

                        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. ipsedixit Jul 10, 2010 11:22 AM

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

                          1. Rubee Jul 8, 2010 12:12 PM

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

                            2611 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85004

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

                            1. j
                              jock Jul 8, 2010 06:33 AM

                              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
                                Phoenix99 Jul 8, 2010 08:30 AM

                                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.

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