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A Steak House without Steak House Prices?

l
Libbypizza Mar 28, 2011 06:44 PM

So the BF's bday is this weekend and here is the dilemma: He wants to go to a steakhouse (his favorite and only choice for special occasions), but it is not in the cards for us economically at this time. Normally we are all about Jimmy's, where we like the food and the price is definitely right, but we want don't want to have to drive and would like a reason to dress up a little and go out downtown. So, what do you recommend? Somewhere semi-affordable that has good steak? And steak frites will not do--for some reason he hates steak frites...
Am I asking for something that doesn't exist?...

Thanks for your help!

  1. j
    Jenny Ondioline Mar 28, 2011 07:16 PM

    The Stockyard isn't all that spendy, if memory serves, and has some decent steaks.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Jenny Ondioline
      Nab Mar 30, 2011 03:41 PM

      I went to the Stockyard a couple of months ago, hadn't been there in years, but remember the room being super snugglie for a cold snowy night, and it still is. I didn't recall the kind of hokey pub-grub stuff being on the menu back then, like the bacon-lobster-lettuce-tomato (BLLT) sliders, but the steaks were exactly what you'd expect, big cheap martinis, big cozy booths, big bar, big value. I wish it had more of that 50's kinda charm, wood-paneling and white-suits, but it's about halfway there.

      The prime riblet was particularly tasty btw, and I am very eager to get to the Mt. Vernon for the same.

       
       
       
      1. re: Nab
        l
        Libbypizza Mar 30, 2011 04:37 PM

        We decided on the stockyard last night. One of my favorite things to do with my dad when i was younger was go there and split a huge prime rib. Delish. Martinis and steak, here we come!

    2. MC Slim JB Mar 28, 2011 09:58 PM

      The Stockyard and Frank's are the two that hit the Jimmy's level in price and quality and are still in town. Myself, I prefer a Brazilian steakhouse like Midwest Grill or the prime skirt steak frites at Grill 23 if I'm trying to keep it under $30.

      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

      -----
      Grill 23 & Bar
      161 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116

      Midwest Grill
      1124 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

      5 Replies
      1. re: MC Slim JB
        f
        FoodDabbler Mar 28, 2011 10:16 PM

        What's your view of Frank's? I'd heard about it when I drifted to Boston in the early 1990s as the legendary hangout of Massachusetts pols. But other, seemingly better places intervened and I've never been. Was it once a place to see people? (Nowadays one sees people everywhere: Tamarind Bay, Rialto, Armado's, etc.). Was it once a place to get a good steak? What is it like now?

        -----
        Tamarind Bay
        75 Winthrop St, Cambridge, MA 02138

        1. re: FoodDabbler
          MC Slim JB Mar 28, 2011 11:01 PM

          Haven't been back to Frank's in seven or eight years. It serves choice-grade steaks, is famous for its 14-oz boneless sirloin served on a sizzling cast-iron platter, with a salad and two veg for under $20. I imagine this was pretty awesome in the 1950s; I'd probably equate it roughly with a national steakhouse chain like Outback now, but with more old-timey charm. Used to go more regularly to see Preacher Jack perform.

          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

          1. re: MC Slim JB
            l
            Libbypizza Mar 29, 2011 03:16 AM

            Yea I forgot to mention that Frank's is probably not on the list. We go on occasion (including his last bday) and the last time we went (maybe 3 months ago?) it was pretty awful. He has great memories of it from when his grandfather used to bring him there, but these days we think Jimmy's is more delicious...

            1. re: MC Slim JB
              Small Plates Mar 30, 2011 12:22 PM

              I would not call Frank's horrible. We go for the fun of it (a lot!) - especially on low-key Monday nights or on a Friday night when John O'Brien (I think that is his name) sings old standards. We love to play Keno and pretend we are our parents (which is what the crowd looks like). My husband gets the sizzler every time. It is delicious! I get the surf and turf with the petit filet and the broiled scallops. The onion brick is what you'd expect. The sides are typical - greek deli rice pilaf, standard baked potato, serviceable fries. There is a tarragon butter that comes with the steaks that is delicious. I am hardly going to compare this to Cap Grille or Abe and Louis or Mortons, but for what it is worth, the place is charming in an old school kind of way. If you lower your expectations and enjoy it for what it is, you can leave there feeling sated. Make sure to check out the photos of Boston's gliterati (from now and then) which adorn the vestibule walls.

              1. re: MC Slim JB
                n
                Northender Apr 1, 2011 11:14 AM

                I wnt about a year and ahalf ago and it was good as it always had been. Certainly nota dress up place but the sizzled sirloin is good and th old time waitresses (not old waitresses) can be a hoot. Lively crowd and some kind of music in the lounge on weekends.

          2. c
            CookieLee Mar 29, 2011 05:35 AM

            Well, it's not downtown, and you don't have to dress up to go, but I will tell you that the steaks at the Longhorn are excellent. Personally, I'm not crazy about the ambiance, but if you look past it, and just at your fabulous steak, it's fine. They're owned by the Capital Grille folks.

            -----
            Longhorn Steakhouse
            401 Park Dr, Boston, MA 02215

            1. t
              treb Mar 29, 2011 07:19 AM

              Ruth's Chris is offering a three course dinner for $39.95, not my fav place but, this is a pretty good deal.

              2 Replies
              1. re: treb
                l
                Libbypizza Mar 29, 2011 09:40 AM

                We went there for restaurant week. It was good but not awesome...maybe we will go back, it is too bad we were just there!

                Thank you for the heads up!

                I also noticed that Flemings is doing 3 courses for $39.95, but it ends 3/31.

                1. re: treb
                  c
                  CookieLee Mar 29, 2011 11:02 AM

                  I had this at the Ruth's Chris in DC. I thought it was a very good deal.

                2. k
                  keith Mar 29, 2011 11:08 AM

                  You could go in a totally different direction and hit up Newbridge Cafe in Chelsea for the city's best steak tips. It's totally downscale and not a dress up place at all, but could be an intentially ironic birthday choice that would give you a great meat experience.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: keith
                    l
                    Libbypizza Mar 29, 2011 12:05 PM

                    Funny you should bring that up! I had suggested to him we go to the Midwest Grill or another Churrascuria, and do the down market version of a steak house thing, especially since we live between Central and Inman but he didn't love the suggestion (well he loves churrascurias, but i guess not for his bday?)

                    -----
                    Midwest Grill
                    1124 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                    1. re: Libbypizza
                      t
                      treb Mar 29, 2011 01:55 PM

                      In Winthrop, Rossetti's has a few excellent steak options, it's reasonable and BYO. Also agree, New Bridge has great tips and the waitstaff is worth it for the entertainment factor but remember, it's cash only.

                  2. p
                    phonelady Mar 29, 2011 11:09 AM

                    I had it last summer at RC Boston and thought it was very good!

                    13 Replies
                    1. re: phonelady
                      t
                      tweetie Mar 29, 2011 03:57 PM

                      So surprised about the Longhorn/CG connection. Would never think of heading there but now I'm intrigued.

                      1. re: tweetie
                        MC Slim JB Mar 29, 2011 04:21 PM

                        I think the Kenmore outlet of Longhorn is one of the worst chain steakhouses I've been to in my life. Awful.

                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                        1. re: MC Slim JB
                          g
                          Gabatta Mar 29, 2011 04:35 PM

                          I've got to agree with that. From my one experience, Longhorn offers TGI Fridays like appetizers and sub par beef. The quality of the beef used isn't reflective of the CG ownership. I got dragged here once before a Sox game. Thankfully there are so many more options around the ballpark now.

                          To the OP, I like the bar steak at Gaslight for a more economical steak alternative. You don't need to dress up too much, however I enjoy the atmosphere at Gaslight. My only caveat on the bar steak is that it can be a bit inconsistent in quality from visit to visit. Note that it is just called the bar steak, but it is on the menu and served in the dining room. There is a traditional steak frites on the menu, and this is different.

                          1. re: MC Slim JB
                            c
                            CookieLee Mar 29, 2011 05:14 PM

                            Hey, I'm not disagreeing. I find it one of the most, if not the most, depressing places to eat. But contrary to what Gabatta is saying, I have never found the beef to be subpar. I got to the CG, and while I prefer going there, I've never had a bad steak at Longhorn. But, I do find it a sad place. I end up going at most twice a year, so I can put up with it.

                            1. re: CookieLee
                              t
                              tweetie Mar 30, 2011 08:17 AM

                              No longer intrigued and definitely taking a miss at LH! The Friday's correlation sealed the deal.

                              1. re: tweetie
                                c
                                CookieLee Mar 30, 2011 10:15 AM

                                hehe, I hear ya. I've never had the apps there.

                            2. re: MC Slim JB
                              Unfoodie Mar 30, 2011 01:26 PM

                              I second that. Longhorn is a disgrace and although I've never eaten anything at Outback I can't imagine it being worse.

                              If you're on a budget Brazilian is the way to go although some of those place serve sub-par quality while others are home runs.

                              1. re: MC Slim JB
                                m
                                mwk Apr 1, 2011 10:45 AM

                                I won't go back to that Longhorn or any other, after a horrible experience there. I am allergic to strawberries, and when I ordered a dessert sundae, I told the server "no strawberries on the plate, or anywhere near the dish. So I'm digging into the sundae with my spoon, and what do I find hidden on the bottom of the glass? Some frozen strawberries.

                                I called the manager and waiter over and demanded to know what was going on. They both didn't seem to care too much, and reluctantly took the dessert (and just the dessert) off the bill. I haven't been back since.

                              2. re: tweetie
                                w
                                winedude Mar 30, 2011 11:58 AM

                                OMG, I found this hard to believe, so I Googled it. It turns out to be correct, but it's also owned by the same people who own Olive Garden, and Red Lobster.

                                So, that means that Capital Grille has the same owners as the Olive Garden? I'm never going there again.

                                -----
                                Olive Garden
                                8 Allstate Rd, Dorchester, MA 02125

                                1. re: winedude
                                  j
                                  Jenny Ondioline Mar 30, 2011 12:17 PM

                                  Specifically, the same company owned both Capital Grille and Longhorn, and that company was bought by the company that owns Olive Garden and Red Lobster.

                                  There's like 50 Capital Grilles across the country: they've always been a chain.

                                  1. re: Jenny Ondioline
                                    w
                                    winedude Mar 30, 2011 02:51 PM

                                    You know, I knew that they were a chain, but I thought they were a small-ish chain, smaller than Ruth's Chris, and were at least a chain of steakhouses. Virtually all of the steakhouses are a chain (Morton's, Smith and Wollensky, Palm, Flemings, etc.) But any association with the Olive Garden is too much for me.

                                    So I guess that begs the question, which steakhouses are not chains? The Oak Room, Moo, Grill 23, Abe & Louie's (I know, they're part of a "group."). Does it matter?

                                    -----
                                    Grill 23 & Bar
                                    161 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116

                                    Abe & Louie's
                                    793 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116

                                    Oak Room
                                    138 St. James Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

                                    Olive Garden
                                    8 Allstate Rd, Dorchester, MA 02125

                                    1. re: winedude
                                      9
                                      9lives Mar 30, 2011 03:49 PM

                                      Grill23, Oak Bar, and A&L, Mooo, KO Prime (last 2 are part of a group..Ken Oringer or PaulRoif) Oak Bar well precedes me

                                      but I do remember Grill 23 opening. Being an x NYer, it was a great spot because I used to go to Peter Luger and the Palm...original, pre chain.

                                      Cap Grill had 1 place in Providence and opened it's second place on Newbury in the late 80's. Then went on a massive expansion after the LH purchase.I rar
                                      ely go to a high end steakhouse any more(recent exception being a RW week at Ruth Chris; service glitch (very similar to the guy who went to Gargoyles) and they have me a generous gift certificate..so I have to go back...o easy and more enjoyable to buy a steak at Savenors and grill it myself.

                                      I do occassionally find myself at a Longhorn or Outback; on parental visits. We like to cook but my father is having medical probs and sometime there are 3 hour r/t drives to visit and no one feels like cooking. Those have driven my trips to LH or Outback. Being a CH and "too" picky about dinner choices does not sit well with my mother; under the circumstances. I've had decent steak at an Outback..haven't had the pleasure of being roped into a LH,but according to my mother, there is large variance. Some stink and she wouldn't go back and others are better.

                                      As to Cap Grill being owned by the same corp parent as LH,I'm not bothered. CG uses a higher grade of beef and higher calibre of service...and there is little relationship to the quality. It's sort of like GM sell Chevy's and Cadillacs or Ford owned Jaguar or Fiat owned Ferrari. If you buy a Ferrari, you're not buying a Fiat quality car. If you eat at CG, you should get a different steak, wine list and price than eating at Longhorn.

                                      A & L are owned by a the same group that owns Joe's. A ribeye or strip is going to be far better at A & L. Curiously, the prime rib is the same..or was. If I find myself at a mid/lower level steakhouse, I know my odds of enjoying the meal if I stick to roast prime rib/rare as opposed to a NY strip (usual choice) The chef at a LH/Outback is more likely to slice a rare piece of prime rib than he is to cook a subpar steak the way I want..black and blue or charred rare. Evenhad the same experience at a high end steakhouse in SC.

                                      In Boston, I'd go to a Brazilian steakhouse over a LH or Outback every but if you travel to certain areas, Brazilian is not an option

                                      Sorry for the ramble but my point is that I would not not go to CG because they have the same corp parent as LH...different restaurantssAdmittedly,I haven't been toCG for a few years.

                                      -----
                                      KO Prime
                                      90 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02108

                                      Mooo
                                      15 Beacon St., Boston, MA 02108

                                      Grill 23 & Bar
                                      161 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116

                                      1. re: 9lives
                                        Mike5966 Mar 30, 2011 04:21 PM

                                        Your car dealership analogy is quite apt and I found its explanatory power very satisfying to read. Reminds me to keep a more open mind about places with non-Chowish lineage and maintain the focus on what's on the plate.

                                        That said, I've really never been really satisfied with Outback since I got out of highschool.

                                        To the original poster, I would point you in the direction of Hillstone in downtown Boston. Prime rib is fantastic, and just under $30 (I think), with a loaded baked potato that comes with it and is the best baked potato that I've ever had. I've had a NY strip there as well (mid-$30 range) and it was very good.

                                        Mooo... has a few cuts that are less pricey as well.

                            3. i
                              InmanSQ Girl Apr 1, 2011 10:40 AM

                              This info is may be a little late, but maybe you can tuck this restaurant idea away for another date down the line. If you BF loves steak and is willing to expand his horizons a bit, I'd love to suggest Tango, an Argentinian Steak House in Arlington, MA. An Argentinian Steakhouse a different experience vs. your classic American Steakhouse: attractive -date night atmosphere, but not as fancy / stuffy as some of the Boston steakhouses, meats are grilled beautifully, but usually basted in a very tasty Chimichurri sauce (garlic, pasley, vinegar, and olive oil), side are usually things like fried slices of potatoes, not creamed spinach, apps are usually empanadas or olives, not wedge salad.

                              The last time I went, I had a wonderful skirt steak that was grilled perfectly and ridiculously tasty with that addictive Chimmichurri sauce (the slices of fried potatoes are wonderful to sop up the juices and sauce). Their sangia is very good and while we were too stuffed for the empanadas and olives, the table next to us got both and they looked wonderful and were devoured with gusto by our neighbors.

                              They waitstaff is very nice and will gladly answer your menu questions. They also do a nice job of keeping water glasses full and clearing plates without making you feel rushed. They are also far more affordable than most steakhouses with most steaks costing around $22 and only the filet mignon and 12 oz sirloin climbing to $28. The best deal of the house is the mixed grill for 2, with lots of fun grilled meats and potatoes and I think it is like $21 a person.

                              http://www.tangoarlington.com/
                              http://www.yelp.com/biz/tango-restaur...

                              -----
                              Tango Restaurant
                              464 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, MA 02474

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: InmanSQ Girl
                                l
                                Libbypizza Apr 1, 2011 10:52 AM

                                Thanks! We have driven by that place on several occasions and it is definitely on our must try list! We don't want to have to drive tomorrow, but thank you for reminding me--we will have to get there sooner rather than later because it sounds great!

                                1. re: Libbypizza
                                  9
                                  9lives Apr 1, 2011 11:10 AM

                                  I like that idea too. The high end steak places are a fortune and the mid level, Outback/LH are very likely to end up in misery according to posters (I end up at them for family harmony:)

                                  A skirt steak with chimmichurri is a treat...may do 1 tonight. And if the bf hasn't had 1, he'll be veryimpressed and happy..:)

                                2. re: InmanSQ Girl
                                  c
                                  CookieLee Apr 1, 2011 11:14 AM

                                  I was going to suggest Tango, our favorite place! But, "downtown" was in the op's request.

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