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Food & Drink

Well Done: NOLA Does Steak

New Orleans gave the world jazz, but it also made a significant contribution to the global culture of steak. Eat your heart out, seafood.

The house-aged, bone-in rib eye and New York strip at Doris Metropolitan. (Photo via Doris Metropolitan New Orleans on Facebook)

Recently, I was chatting with a friend about a task that many New Orleans residents face on a regular basis: giving guidance to visitors and visitors-to-be about where to eat and drink in a city with an endless array of culinary options. In this case, however, there was a more specific request. Some of my companion’s friends were headed to New Orleans for a bachelor party, and the groom sought the best spots to eat steak in this city. My friend, who was so used to recommending spots around the city for local seafood and Creole cuisine, was taken aback. Where to go for the best steak? Considering New Orleans’ global contribution to steakhouse culture (more on that below), it’s no surprise the city has several options to carve into.

New Orleans Steakhouses

Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse — Located in the French Quarter, Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse has been named as one of the country’s best steakhouses by numerous publications, including Travel + Leisure to Playboy. Dickie Brennan’s has been a French Quarter fixture for the past 60 years.

Besh Steak — New Orleans’ premier culinary impresario, John Besh, turned his hand to the steakhouse with Besh Steak inside Harrah’s Casino, and the results have hit on what we’ve seen in other Besh ventures: consistency and excellence.

Charlie’s Steakhouse — The first steakhouse in New Orleans to serve steak on a sizzling platter, Charlie’s has built generation after generation of loyal customers who enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and delicious food.

Steak on the grill at Charlie’s Steakhouse. (Photo: Christopher Garland)

Chophouse — Chophouse is a local favorite due to the affordable wine list and the fact you can get everything from a chopped steak of prime aged beef topped with sautéed onions (16 ounces for $22) to a porterhouse for two (a 40-ounce cut for $97).

Steak, French fries, and asparagus at La Boca. (Photo: Rebecca Ratliff)

La Boca — Differing from a number of the restaurants on this list, which are truly American-style steakhouses (with the attendant European roots), La Boca is steeped in Argentina and its rich beef culture. Get the Bife de Loso con Hueso (12-ounce, bone-in filet mignon). Also, like all of the restaurants on this list, the so-called “sides” are a delight on their own—a personal favorite is La Boca’s french fries.

Ruth’s Chris — It comes from here. If you’re going to visit Ruth’s Chris anywhere in the world, go in the city where it all started. Like Besh Steak, Ruth’s Chris is situated in Harrah’s (so you can do both on one trip — but probably not the same night). And it’s not all about the steak. The famous house creamed spinach is worth the trip alone.

Doris Metropolitan — Consistently ranked as one of the best restaurants in the city, Doris Metropolitan offers a range of premium steak cuts. Try the Rib Eye or Bone-In New York Strip (and you have the choice between the meat being aged for 21 or 31 days). The restaurant also dry ages all beef in house.

The house-aged, bone-in rib eye and New York strip at Doris Metropolitan. (Photo via Doris Metropolitan New Orleans on Facebook)

Galatoire’s 33 Bar & Steak — This iconic New Orleans restaurant — so famous for its service and classics like crabmeat au gratin, shrimp remoulade, and duck and andouille gumbo — also needs to be part of the conversation about New Orleans and its steak. A pick for your visit to Galatoire’s 33 Bar & Steak: the petite filet mignon with a Marchand de Vin.

Crescent City Steaks — If the first couple of paragraphs of this piece didn’t convince you, here’s one more reason to go to Crescent City Steaks: the photo below.

Crescent City steak perfection. (Photo: Christopher Garland.)

Emeril’s Delmonico — As is the case with Galatoire’s, steak might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Emeril’s Delmonico, especially with masterful dishes such as grilled swordfish and Louisiana drum meuniere, but to overlook the steak here is to miss premium cuts served with a lovely selection of sauces: herb butter, Emeril’s Worcestershire, béarnaise, and chimichurri.

Mr. John’s Steakhouse — Right on St. Charles Avenue, Mr. John’s Steakhouse is more proof that NOLA does steak as well as any city in America. Aged and then seared at 1600 degrees in a Montague broiler, the steaks at Mr. John’s are matched with an extensive range of sides, from sweet potato mash soufflé to crawfish mac and cheese to broccoli au gratin. You couldn’t ask for more.

A Global Reach

New Orleans is rightfully famous for its love for, use of, and pride in its seafood, and, as is the case with other effervescent cultures around the world, what we cook and eat helps shape what we do and who we are. But the great food here goes far beyond what one might expect, and steak and steakhouses are intertwined with the history of New Orleans— and, in fact, the wider history of steak and steakhouses everywhere.

New Orleans gave the world jazz, but it also made a significant contribution to the global culture of steak. And here’s the proof: the roots of the Crescent City Steaks.

The dining room at Crescent City Steaks. (Photo: Christopher Garland.)

Crescent City Steaks has been in business since 1934, and visitors can see that in the material aspects of the restaurant itself: the gorgeous Emerson ceiling fans are from 1930, and everything from the plates and glasses to the Art Deco neon sign harken back to the first half of the twentieth century. I visited with Frank Vojkovich, whose father, John, founded Crescent City Steaks after emigrating to the U.S. from Croatia. John started Crescent City’s method of cutting its own steaks as well as serving them in sizzling butter. Tradition matters for Crescent City Steaks — it’s one of the oldest family-owned steakhouses in America due to a commitment to the best meat available and the continuation of precise cooking methods.

Tradition matters for Crescent City Steaks — it’s one of the oldest family-owned steakhouses in America.

Steak fresh off the grill at Crescent City Steaks. (Photo: Christopher Garland.)

As well as establishing one of the great New Orleans restaurants, John Vojkovich mentored another Croatian, Chris Matulich, in the art of cutting and broiling steak. Chris opened his own steakhouse that was later leased and operated by a woman named Ruth Fertel. And that’s the origin story of the international phenomenon, Ruth’s Chris Steak House — born right here in New Orleans.

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