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age old question....

I know I know, there's a ton of threads on this but everyone's answers are long and everyone has differing opinions for whatever reason. My BF and I cannot make a decision (belated anniversary and v-day in about a week)
NICE steakhouse dinner in the city....

(or add your own)

Capital (been there-obv. great worth trying somewhere else?)
Grill 23
Smith and Wollensky
Abe and Louie's (an old favorite but its been at least 4 years since ive been)
(no del friscos!)

thank you fellow chowhounders :)

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  1. It seems to me that Mooo (XV Beacon Hotel) and KO Prime (Nine Zero Hotel) get the most "props" from the Hounds; Mooo for offering "more ambitious" dishes like Beef Wellington, and KO for more "foodie friendly" app.'s & side dishes, as well as some "more interesting" carnivorous selections (offal). People have preferences on "dry" vs. "wet" aging, and some seem to be partial to stylistic differences. The only one I've been to recently is Smith & Wollensky (Waterfront), and I enjoyed one of the nicest steaks there I've ever had the pleasure of eating; wonderful "Parker House skillet bread", and competent service too. That being said, it's not where I'd want to go for an anniversary, or other auspicious romantic occasion. To me, the steakhouses lack warmth, and the food tends to lack flair/character/personality. If I were to chose a place of that ilk, I think the actual Parker House itself has a fine, underappreciated dining room, and has other choices than "meat n' sides" (and a bit more character than the chain steakhouses). There are other, more qualified posters here, but I hope you'll consider a local, independent kitchen that might be able to offer some inspired cuisine, and a nice piece of meat as well (TW Food?). Regardless, Happy Anniversary & Valentine's Day, and I hope you have a fantastic night out!

    1 Reply
    1. re: BrettLove

      thank you! :) mooo is also a consideration-the fact that its not a chain is great.

      1. re: phatchris

        +1 on this. great grilled meats, awesome wine list and beautiful home-made pastas. the egg ravioli haunts my dreams.

      2. I think KO Prime gets shat on pretty often for not actually serving prime cuts of beef.

        1. Pricey and not on your list, but O Ya.

          (fair warning: it's $61 for two oz. that I loved, or $190 for 8oz. + frites that I haven't tried.)

          1. Or hey, Lumiere has hanger and sometimes a dynamite ribeye special.

            1 Reply
            1. re: enhF94

              Davios, Grill 23, KO Prime - in that order

            2. The one time I was forced to eat at Capital, i found it so disappointing. Grill 23 seems to get the best reviews in my experience.

              1. I'm still a fan of The Oak Room, Chateau Briand for 2, what more could a couple ask for and it's an excellent deal. Next would be Grill 23. OK, so what's your beef with Del Frisco's?

                2 Replies
                  1. re: treb

                    ive just heard some not great reviews...and waitresses in skimpy outfits, and astronomical prices with a loud atmosphere...i believe what I read ;)

                  2. I tend to always go with Abe and Louis ...

                    but I just went to Smith and Wollensky and had their 10 oz Gorgonzola Fillet and it was amazing.

                    I tend to think it also lends itself to a really romantic atmosphere at either of these spots.

                    I personally do not like Davio's

                    1. Part of the equation is who you are, cookfood, because each of these places plays to a particular subset of the population:

                      Let's play a word association game - here are my answers - I invite others to join in....

                      A&L's: loud, casual, NYish,
                      Grill 23: staid, corporate, quality, 40s
                      Capital: yuppie, suburban, 30s
                      Davio's: ethnic ;-)
                      KO Prime: modern, young, striving, 20s
                      Flemings: ?
                      S&W: Medieval
                      DelFrisco: Models
                      Morton's: corporate, basement
                      Ruth's Chris: bridge, tunnel, franchise

                      12 Replies
                      1. re: Bob Dobalina

                        steaks can also be had at many restaurants; they are included in tastings at Craigie; tuscan steak was on the menu at Rialto; i do not think that it would be necessary to limit oneself to a steak house.

                        1. re: Bob Dobalina

                          davio's is 50-somethings, for sure. especially the bar.

                          the morton's back bay "basement" is closed. the seaport location is totally different in atmosphere.

                          s & w also has a new waterfront/seaport /fort port channel location now that is very beautiful and totally different than the castle.

                          del frisco's is suits at happy hour from fidelity and hancock and then north shore guidos after 7 and on the weekend. models? lmao.

                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                            I thought someone mentioned the waitstaff at Del Frisco was heavily tilted toward eye candy...

                            And while my conscious mind knows about the changes to Morton's and S&W, my subconscious still is fixed on the old images - sorry, watched Inception last night.

                          2. re: Bob Dobalina

                            There's always "Frank's Steakhouse" that pays Phantom Gourmet a bazillion bucks to advertise for...

                            1. re: meeps2002

                              And yet somehow I find Frank's fine in its own way, whereas I find places like Fleming's and Del Frisco's repellent.


                              1. re: MC Slim JB

                                What separates Fleming's badness from the pack? Just have never been, doesn't seem to get as much buzz in general...

                                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                  I think Flemig's is a bit cheaper than the rest.

                                  1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                    I've had a few wretched experiences at the Park Plaza Fleming's over the years, most memorably around appalling wine service (they call themselves a "Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar"). There's just something cheesy and B-grade and more cliched than usual about the overall experience there.

                                    But I think arguing the merits of most luxury steakhouse chains in Boston is a kind of hairsplitting. It's hard to deliver an abject failure with this kind of food, unless you overcook the steak, so once you get beyond "boutique vs. commodity prime beef" and "dry- vs. wet-aging", it's generally about service and ambiance.

                                    I like Grill 23 for its boutique prime beef and dry-aged steaks, but the atmosphere ain't great for date night. Mooo.... has less interesting steaks and probably the highest prices in town (or did until Del Frisco's came along), but it has the least stuffy-men's-club atmosphere of the bunch. But there are always ten places I'd rather go than to another one of these joints. I'm just plain bored with them.


                                  2. re: MC Slim JB

                                    we might have had the worse meal ever at franks several years ago and laugh when we see the commercial. i know people love it, but we thought it was kinda grimy and the food not that great. im always one for 2nd chances though.

                                    1. re: cookfood

                                      I don't recommend Frank's to anyone, either, but it has a certain sincerity, an "It is what it is" quality. I don't think it undershoots many diners' expectations. The ostentatious vulgarity and poor value of a Del Frisco's, and the general expensive mediocrity of a Fleming's, is what I find offensive.


                                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                                        There is a video advertisement for Del Frisco's, which has been playing non-stop on the video screens of Boston's cabs since December. "Ostentatious vulgarity" perfectly sums up the video.

                                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                                          I don't think there is any real 'value' at any of the higher end places. I've had exceptional steaks, fillets, prime rib etc at Lewis', and old school blue hair restaurant, in Essex for a fraction of the price. If I want high end, G23 or A&L's is probably the best of the lot.

                                2. For beef quality, I'd call these all interchangeably unremarkable, except for Grill 23 and Davio's, which serve prime Brandt Farms beef. Grill 23 also has two dry-aged cuts, ribeye and sirloin, which I prefer in a steakhouse steak.

                                  And while I love the idea of Bob Dobalina's demographic breakdown, I don't really see that much differentiation in the crowds at these places. The vast majority of the crowd in all of them looks exactly the same to me.


                                  1. and yet we are still at a stalemate about where to go -after all this! its between grill 23 and mooo :)
                                    thanks for all your help!

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: cookfood

                                      Then I'd say Mooo. When I went there, the dining room had a different name (I think), but overall, I think it's a little more "Romantic/Anniversary" than Grill 23. Not by a long shot, and not that Grill 23 isn't at all romantic, but... I mean, one's in a hotel on Beacon Hill (Mooo), the other's in the Back Bay/Bay Village area; does that affect your decision making at all? I'd guess parking would be slightly less of an issue in the Bay, but if it's an anniversary maybe you'd just use a valet anyways? As I grab a protein bar & yogurt for work, I'm thinking you'll do well either way!
                                      Cheers! -b.

                                      1. re: cookfood

                                        I hear the veal chop at Srega is "to die for".

                                        All joking aside, I find the wood grilled steaks at Prezza to be on par with the steakhouses and a better value as you get two sides with them. Also a great wine list, good apps, and great homemade pastas.

                                        1. re: phatchris

                                          i haven't had anything "to die for" at either strega location. (or was this snark because of the owner?)

                                          the food at prezza is head and shoulders above any of the steakhouses everyone keeps batting back and forth and a totally different environment -- one i think much nicer for couples dining.

                                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                                            Prezza can be loud, which sometimes makes it not the best for a romantic dinner for two.

                                            1. re: KevinJF

                                              and most steakhouses are cacophonous on busy nights.

                                            2. re: hotoynoodle

                                              Its a remark on Strega's ridiculous commercials and equally ridiculous owner "
                                              The World Famous Nick Varano".