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Great Steakhouse in central Jersey for a big birthday....

My boyfriend is celebrating a big bday and he is a steak and potatoes kind of guy.

For previous birthdays we went to his favorite: Arthur's Tavern in North Brunswick. The first time he was very happy, the second time -- not so much.

At the moment he wants to go to the Arthur's in Morris Plains, but I haven't seen much (okay, anything) to recommend it. I also haven't seen this kind of question posted recently, so here I am.

My birthday present to him is a steak dinner, and I want him to enjoy....so I'm looking for suggestions. We are in the Princeton/Somerset area, but are willing to take a drive for a great meal.

Thanks for your help!

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Arthur's Tavern
700 Speedwell Ave, Morris Plains, NJ 07950

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  1. Why not Ruth's Chris?

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    Ruth's Chris Steak House - Princeton
    2 Village Blvd., Princeton, NJ 08540

    1. KC Prime
      on Quakerbridge Road across from Quakerbridge Mall

      3 Replies
      1. re: ieee488

        Thanks for the suggestions since they are both close by, but are they any good? I haven't seen anything positive written about either one. At least not recently....

        1. re: kmoorecal

          Kmoorecal, don't look just to Chowhound for comments. I often go to Trip Advisor or Yelp for reviews if I can't find anything here.

          For example, here are a number of reviews for KC Prime. You can search any other restaurant you want. Perhaps you should search for similar reviews about Arthur's, which is where your boy friend apparently really wants to go.

          http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant...

          http://www.yelp.com/biz/kc-prime-rest...

          1. re: kmoorecal

            kmoorecal - KC Prime has been our local favorite for a long time. It's a little more casual and less expensive than Ruth's Chris and the rest of the classic NYC places. We've never had a disappointing meal at KC Prime. Here's a recent post that I commented on (scroll to end).

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4826...

            If you decide on another spot, make plans to check out KC Prime in the future. And if you go, request a booth - high backed and great for date night!

            Enjoy the upcoming celebration!

        2. Steakhouse 85 in New Brunswick gets a lot of buzz on these boards, but I have never eaten there. . KC Prime in Lawrenceville where I have eaten several times and like.
          They are both supposed to be several steps above Arthur's pub style menu and atmosphere but not quite up to NYC's steakhouse standards.
          I would urge you to check out their menu's on line ,but as Graydon Carter recommended, you really can't go wrong with Ruth Chris.

          1. Hands down Steakhouse 85 in New Brunswick. Otherwise go to NYC.

            1 Reply
            1. re: angelo04

              Another vote for Steakhouse 85 in New Brunswick. Nice atmopsphere and great steaks. Let them know its a special occasion when you reserve.

            2. Ruth's Chris serves wet aged steak, whereas Steakhouse 85 has dry-aged selections. That might be a consideration. Although Arthur's serves run-of-the-mill non-aged steaks, so the aging issue might not come into play.

              If I were going into NYC, it would be for Ben & Jack's, or Wolfgang's, both of which serve my preferred style of steak, that in the Luger-style.

              5 Replies
              1. re: tommy

                I personally like Luger and by default Wolfgang but that doesn't help the OP if they want to stay in NJ.
                So would you say that Steakhouse 85 or Ruth Chris is closer to the NY steak experience?
                But again we assume the OP's boyfriend wants the whole NYC experience or perhaps will be happy with Arthur's laid back turn and burn atmosphere.

                1. re: Duppie

                  I make no assumptions on what someone might like. I am sharing a few facts, and since someone mentioned NYC I brought up a few of my favorites, and qualified them by stating the style of steak that I prefer.

                  I would find this all very helpful if I had a similar question.

                  I'm not sure of what you mean by "NY steak experience", since there are many steakhouses in NYC, ranging from upscale to the turn-and-burn routine at Luger. But I've never been to Steakhouse 85 and haven't been to Ruth's Chris in probably 12 years.

                  1. re: tommy

                    No harm no foul Tommy. I haven't eaten at Ruth Chris in many years either and as I said never at Steakhouse 85 so I was also looking for some insight also. Yep, the NYC experience can range from Tad's on 42'nd to Lugers in Brooklyn and everything in between.
                    Never been to Ben & jack,. where are they?

                    1. re: Duppie

                      Ben and Jack have two locations in midtown. They both worked at Luger and opened their first restaurant about 8 years ago or so. A Luger clone like Wolfgang's.

                  2. re: Duppie

                    We have no plans to go to NYC, but since we are willing to go to Morris Plains, I didn't want to miss out on a great place simply because it wasn't in the Somerset/Princeton area. Not interested or don't really care about a "NY steak experience," either.

                    Arthur's in North Brunswick had been sold before we went the second time, but we didn't know that until we arrived there.

                    I have no idea about the difference in taste between wet-aged vs. dry-aged; I just want it to taste great and for him to be happy.

                    Thanks for all your advice.

                2. Roots in Summit for a special occasion.

                  1. Several years ago Arthur's in North Brunswick reportedly was sold and is now no longer affiliated with the other Arthurs, including Morris Plains. I had learned from CH that since then, quality at the NB Arthurs slid badly. Because of that, I have not ventured back there. We have been to Morris Plains and really liked it.

                    You are not located that far from Philly. They have a branch of Prime Rib, which is one of the top steakhouses nationwide--they are only in DC, Baltimore and Philly. Not inexpensive, but worth it. I have only been to Baltimore's PR, and the quality of the steaks, the professional level of service and the relaxed sophistication that is due in part to having a jazz/cabaret pianist playing in the background can't be found in too many places. Great wine list. I'm sure the Philly PR offers nothing less.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: albinoni

                      I still visit Arthur's NB now and then but not for their steaks which is just plain bad, but for their onion soup and thick cut pork chops which is brined and grilled. A excellent deal at $14.00.

                    2. For the money, Arthur's can't be beat...but if you're willing to spend a little more, there are a few options in the bergen county area that serves prime steaks.

                      I recently went to Morton's and had a great meal there. They have a prix-fixe deal for a dinner for 2 for like 100 bucks that's a really nice deal. Check their web site for details.

                      Brando's in Asbury also serves good dry aged steaks, but it's a 'special' so call and make sure they'll have it.

                      1. Char Steakhouse on Route 202-206 in Bridgewater is not too far from Somerset area. I've been there twice. Steaks are very, very good. Atmosphere is kind of "hip / loungy" which some people might like, and some might not, but for a birthday celebration could be a good vibe.

                        Restaurant website: http://www.charsteakhouse.com/
                        Review at: http://www.nj.com/entertainment/dinin...

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                        Char Steakhouse
                        777 US Highway 202 North, Raritan, NJ 08869

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Forklaw

                          Other than the annoying website and questionable claims of steaks "Dry-Aged in Cedar", this place seems pretty interesting! On my list.

                          1. re: Forklaw

                            I've driven past Char several times and was curious about the Patio scene with all the umbrellas but if the steaks are as good as you say, I'll have to give it a try

                          2. With the exception of KC Prime, I have been to all the places mentioned thus far. Comparing Arthur's to any of them in terms of ambiance or steak quality, is like comparing apples to oranges. While all offer steak, the price points for the quality are vastly different. Arthur's is a place you go to for a Rib Eye Steak. They built their reputation around a 24 ounce cut. More recently, they have offered a New York Sirloin, BBQ Ribs and a more varied Daily specials menu. Two can dine easily at Arthur's for $75, where as the other places mentioned, you would spend $125 plus easily. If you are looking for Filet or Porterhouse, Arthur's is not your place...Delmonico or Rib Eye at the other places will be a 16 ounce cut and be priced closer to $35, where as at Arthur's it's $22. Arthur's doesn't do much other than cut and season their steaks before it reaches your table. The other places mentioned put more effort into their offerings(aging), thus the price differences.

                            With that said, I have have been going to Arthur's (Morris Plains & Hoboken) for more than 25 years and I can tell I have only had two poor experiences. It's not the best steak by any means, but it's an acceptable place for a steak fix. The only other place that resembles the same price point and similar quality is The Alexus in Clifton. It doesn't get a lot of love in the past, but I can tell you the place has improved in the past year from years past.....due to an ownership change. I say that as a positive and disclosing I was friends with the prior owner(absentee), who had let the place slip in terms of quality control and service. For the record, I'm not recommending The Alexus for this occasion, but if you are in the area, it's worth a stop if you are in the mood for a reasonably priced steak or hamburger.

                            Other places you may consider:

                            Char in Bridgewater or The River Palm Terrace, three locations in Bergen County. Morton's, various locations. Hamilton & Ward in Paterson. I have not yet been to H & W, but all my friends in the restaurant business who have, say it's a great spot.

                            http://www.charsteakhouse.com/

                            http://www.riverpalm.com/

                            http://www.hamiltonandward.com/

                            Last, if you do decide to go to Arthur's, you can go online and print out a coupon for 15% off your entire bill...valid on Mondays only.

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                            River Palm Terrace
                            41-11 State Highway 4 N, Fair Lawn, NJ 07410

                            1. KC Prime isn’t bad but you should know that unless they offer one on the “specials” menu, their steaks aren’t prime (they’re choice) and they aren’t aged.

                              If you really want to make it a special night without travelling to NYC, how about going to the Old Homestead in the Borgata in AC. I had the best steaks I’ve ever had there on multiple occasions and have never been disappointed. http://www.theborgata.com/Main.cfm?Ca...

                              1. I would also go with KC Prime. I've been going there for years. They have the best Prime Rib I've ever eaten. They slow roast it for something like 8 hours and then grill it to your desired degree of doneness. Outstanding. Great drinks too. They also have a private room for large parties.
                                While I love the Ruth's Chris experience and food, I will not pass by KC to go there. Entrees come with a house dressed salad and wasabi mashed, not the a la carte Ruth Chris, would you like a $10 baked potato to go with the $40 dollar steak?
                                Go there, you'll love it and so will he.

                                1. So....? Where are you going?

                                  1. I highly recommend Hamilton&Ward Steak House It is by far the BEST SteakHouse in the State of NJ, been there several times and the place is top notch.
                                    www.hamiltonandward.com