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Steak outing dilemma - steakhouse or non-steakhouse?

s
SMOG Oct 31, 2010 07:33 PM

I'm typically not one to go out for steak (I'm one of those "why would I spend $50 for steak that I can make at home for $15" people), but since I haven't actually been out for steak for about 2 years, I kinda feel like it. I don't want to go to an old school type steakhouse, though. I want a modern place, which is more my thing. Looks like Jacobs & Co fits the bill. (I'm a little turned off by the prices though - $12 for fries is stretching it, isn't it?). I'm also wondering whether it makes sense to go to a place like Nota Bene or Splendido that aren't necessarily steakhouses, but still known for good steak. I'm just looking for great steak with a good atmosphere - fun, lively, but not 'clubby' or pretentious. Appreciate your thoughts.

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Splendido
88 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON M5S 1G5, CA

Jacobs & Co
12 Brant Street, Toronto, ON M5V 2M1, CA

Nota Bene
180 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 2A1, CA

  1. l
    lamaranthe Dec 11, 2010 01:02 PM

    I share your concerns 100%. I feel that too often we are encouraging gouging. I find spending that kind of money rather acceptable for a special occasion and at places such as Scaramouche, but otherwise there are many places in TO where you can enjoy a very nice piece of beef for much less, and in nice surroundings. Follow the threads!

    1. s
      SMOG Dec 10, 2010 11:43 AM

      So I ended up going to Jacobs. Overall, it was an enjoyable meal. I really liked the steak. It was perfectly cooked and well seasoned. The salts and sauces they brought where nice, but I ended up only using the smoked salt on a few bites, otherwise felt they were unnecessary. The caesar salad was indeed excellent, as were the sides that we ordered.

      While I think their prices of steaks were reasonable, the sides and wines were what really added heft to the bill. Fries were amazing, but $12? Rapini was also good, but $10 for about 8 stems? And the winelist doesn't allow you to get anything good for less than ~$85. You're really looking at a minimum of about $120 for a good bottle, which bothered me. It's nice to have some bottles in the $50 range available.

      Overall, it was a good experience. Again, I'm not big eating steak when I go out, but if I get the urge in a couple years, I may return. But given the prices of the sides and wine, I may also just go to a Splendido or other restaurant and order steak.

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      Splendido
      88 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON M5S 1G5, CA

      Rapini's
      190 Main St S, Brampton, ON L6W, CA

      2 Replies
      1. re: SMOG
        s
        sumdumgoy Dec 10, 2010 02:49 PM

        One of the things I like about Jacobs is that they allow BYO with a $40 corkage.
        Most steak places do not.
        We went for a small celebration recently and took a bottle each of Vintage Taittinger and 1997 Jaboulet La Chapelle and were very happy to pay $80 corkage.

        1. re: sumdumgoy
          s
          SMOG Dec 10, 2010 04:21 PM

          That's good to know - definitely a good idea for next time!

      2. DealsCartel_Nathan Nov 2, 2010 12:41 AM

        I haven't been to Nota Bene or Splendido, but I did have an outstanding dinner at Jacobs & Co. I had an Australian Wagyu steak which was absolutely delicious. They provided several condiments (chimichurri, ponzu, blue cheese with bacon, salt flakes, and smoked salt flakes), but I was happy to have my steak on its own! As sumdumgoy suggested, split the side dishes and definitely try the Caesar salad (prepared tableside).

        -----
        Splendido
        88 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON M5S 1G5, CA

        Jacobs & Co
        12 Brant Street, Toronto, ON M5V 2M1, CA

        Nota Bene
        180 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 2A1, CA

         
         
        1. grandgourmand Nov 1, 2010 01:35 PM

          I say go to Jacobs & Co. Sure you can get a nice steak at Splendido, but they'll only offer one cut (I assume). At Jacobs, you can take your pick from a variety of cuts and sourcing. They've got Canadian AAA and USDA prime and Australian Wagyu, etc.. I had the 9oz flat iron wagyu and it was delicious. to me, part of the experience is having an expertly cooked steak, but also a good variety of cuts from which to choose.
          The fries are fried in duck fat...hey, i'm not saying it's worth $12, but it's at least something special.

          -----
          Splendido
          88 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON M5S 1G5, CA

          Jacobs & Co
          12 Brant Street, Toronto, ON M5V 2M1, CA

          1. j
            JennaBean Nov 1, 2010 10:24 AM

            I used to eat red meat a lot but for the last year it is only as a special treat. That being said, when I have a hankering for a really delicious steak that's going to melt in my mouth b/c of the perfect marbling, dry aging and serious sear, I always head to Jacobs & Co. For me it is the best place in the city for steak without questions.

            The service is great, the room is modern and airy, the wine list is more than serviceable and I have have enjoy all of the sides I've tried.

            For those that don't eat steak last time I was there they had a Berkshire pork chop on the menu that a friend had and it was amazing. They always have a chicken dish and I believe a lobster dish as well as a fish dish. Not a big selection outside of the steak but still options.

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            Jacobs & Co
            12 Brant Street, Toronto, ON M5V 2M1, CA

            1 Reply
            1. re: JennaBean
              s
              sumdumgoy Nov 1, 2010 01:04 PM

              Third (or fourth) Jacobs & Co..

              Split a big steak, a Caesar and fries. You will be stuffed for less $ than most steak houses.
              Everybody, except those who don't know any better, split Caesar salad and fries.
              This worked well for me and my kid (who also had dessert), but he is 6'6", 300 lbs and needs about 8000 cals./day.

              Only caution - tell them to go easy on the salt or the steak goes back to the kitchen!!

              -----
              Jacobs & Co
              12 Brant Street, Toronto, ON M5V 2M1, CA

            2. m
              morefoodplz Oct 31, 2010 08:41 PM

              Depends on your companion(s), doesn't it? If you just want a steak, I'm told that Jacobs is really the consummate experience. But if your companions are less enthusiastic about steak, then your other choices should provide a good experience for all without compromising your desire for a steak.

              2 Replies
              1. re: morefoodplz
                j
                juno Nov 1, 2010 09:48 AM

                You want to good steak? Go to a good resto, like the aforementioned Splendido or Nota Bene, which will always have a steak or two on the menu, and probably do it more interestingly than most steak houses. Then you can accommodate both steak and non-steak eaters.Like the OP, I rarely go into a steak house - they're B-O-R-I-N-G (though, if I recall, Jacobs & Co. does a nice traditional Caesar salad).

                Besides which, a price of $12 for fries, no matter how wonderful, is not something that should be encouraged among restaurateurs.

                1. re: juno
                  s
                  SMOG Nov 1, 2010 10:24 AM

                  Agree on the boring comment, but Jacobs & Co seems different. I'm only going with one other person and we're both on board for a great steak, so having other options shouldn't factor into the decision.

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