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Steak and Vino: Is There Anything Better?

Photo by: David Yellen

Posted: Jul 13, 2007 12:12pm ET

In his blog yesterday, Harvey Steiman notes how many of the modern-day steak houses are wine-selling machines, and I couldn't agree more. That's why I love them—they really crank through a lot of the juice.

Last night I was at Porter House New York, in the Time Warner Center. While I was putting away the chili-rubbed rib eye and a bottle of 2003 Tommaso Bussola Valpolicella Classico Superiore TB, the rest of the restaurant seemed to be doing the same. (I've been ordering more Italian wine in restaurants these days to get in the groove for my upcoming Tuscan vacation). I noticed bottles of wine on nearly every table, and many folks asked for the wine list as soon as they sat down. As a wine guy, I love to see that.

When I first chatted with sommelier Beth von Benz, who runs the wine program there, she noted how much Pinot Noir she was selling. Last night her assistant Patrick told me they actually sold more Pinot last week than Cabernet, perhaps due to the short heat wave.

For me, steak is probably the best meal (preferably with some shaved black truffles on top, of course), and there isn't a better food pairing than a great steak and a juicy bottle of red—any red really, from Pinot Noir to Bordeaux to Valpolicella.

I love all food—my trainer will tell you I love it all a little too much—but if I were to be rescued off a desert island after being stranded for a few years, my first meal would be a steak. And if I'm lucky enough to know when my last meal is going to be, it'll be a steak.

I would say that right now, Porter House New York and Rothmann's Steakhouse are my favorite steak houses in the city: they get the meat done perfectly to order, and the wine lists are chock-a-block with fun stuff to drink. I used to love Sparks Steak House for the same reasons, but alas it's not what it used to be. I'm curious to hear your faves, in New York or elsewhere.

Joyce Funk
Tampa Florida —  July 13, 2007 3:11pm ET
Bern's Steakhouse in Tampa Florida with out a Doubt! I live right around the corner and try and visit as much as possible. Their Special Chateau which is aged longer then the other steaks is amazing and goes great with older burgundies which they have a great selection of from the 50's. They also have some great deals from the Rhone valley and Spain. On my last visit I started with a half bottle of German riesling Auslese from 2002 and with dinner I had a 1980 L'Evangile for only $70 which since it came from their cellar it still had some life in it. It would take 2 life times to try all the wines on their list that I would like to have and since I am young I will give it my best shot!Brian Funk
Jeffrey Ghi
New York —  July 13, 2007 4:52pm ET
Rothmann's has my vote. It's not overly crowded, it's quiet enuf to have a good conversation, and the wine list isn't crazy overpriced. Best wine tho, I'd say goes to harry's. The palm used to be decent, but quality has slipped and wine prices are now 3-5x mark up.
Jason Thompson
Foster City, CA —  July 13, 2007 5:12pm ET
Sullivan's in Austin, TX. Nothing in San Francisco. Cole's Chop House in Napa.
Glenn Keeler
OC, CA —  July 13, 2007 6:05pm ET
For ¿chain¿ steakhouses, the bone in filet at Mastro¿s Steakhouse always does the trick for me. Bertrand at Mister A¿s in San Diego has awesome views of the city and ocean, as well as good steaks and the best black truffle mac & cheese I have ever tasted. And of course the wine lists are always full of fun stuff. I¿m getting hungry now......
Ken Koonce
Dallas, Texas —  July 14, 2007 4:11pm ET
Definitely Chamberlains in Dallas. Among chains, the Argentinean style Texas de Brazil and Fogo de Chao are nice for lots-o-meat with a change of pace. (I also loved Cole's in Napa, but have alas only been there once.)
William Landreth
Irving, TX —  July 14, 2007 6:54pm ET
Cole's in Napa without a question. Chamberlain's, JR's and III Forks in Dallas.
Philip A Chauche
Germantown, MD —  July 15, 2007 1:26pm ET
Two off-the-beaten-path recommendations for the rugged southwesterner. I was shocked by the outstanding quality of both the meat, and the preparation:1) Line Camp Steakhouse in Monticello, Utah. Perfect stop between Arches National Park and Mesa Verde.2) Starlight Dinner Theater in Terlingua, Texas. This is way, way out of the way, unless you're visiting Big Bend National Park.For both -- bring your own bottle.
John Osgood
New York, NY —  July 16, 2007 9:36am ET
I've been to almost all of the top steakhouses in New York and for my money Del Frisco's is the best bet. Yes, it is a chain but that hasn't stopped them from cooking a perfect bone-in ribeye the last two times I've been there. The wine list is full although expensive - no different from other NYC restaurants.
Troy Peterson
Burbank, CA —  July 16, 2007 12:54pm ET
James, I'm looking forward to your blogs when you get back from Tuscany. We'll be in the region in late September and were happy to see the latest issue of the magazine focused on that region!
James Molesworth
July 16, 2007 1:21pm ET
Troy: Alas, I won't be blogging while there. It's strictly vacation, and with two kids in two, I'm not bothering with a laptop!
Eric L Williams
Baton Rouge, LA —  July 16, 2007 8:03pm ET
One expects a good steak when they go to Texas, and Vic & Anthony's in downtown Houston will not disappoint. I've never had anything but the best quality steak there, however, the extensive wine list could be better promoted with lower pricing.
Kevin R Barris
Houston, TX USA —  July 17, 2007 1:26am ET
Two bloggers have already mentioned my favorites -- Vic and Anthony's in Houston (whose list blows away the more press savvy Pappas Bros. Steakhouse), and Sullivan's in Austin. The Sullivan's in Baton Rouge also has a good list -- it was the last place I found a remaining bottle of Shafer's Firebreak. Have always been disappointed in Smith & Wollensky -- from the quality of steaks to their usually lame wine list. But you can't beat the view they have at their South Beach location. An up-and-comer has to be the local Houston chain of Perry's -- coming soon to Austin to give Sullivan's a good run.
Christine Blumer
Chicago —  July 17, 2007 7:14pm ET
Here in the Windy City we have a ton of great steakhouses, but I'm partial to the wine list at Chicago Chop House. Its full of older vintages and small production stuff from all over the world at very fair prices. Older vintages of CA classics like Viader, Dalle Valle, and Spottswoode are a steal.
Tim Vandergrift
White Rock, Canada —  July 24, 2007 1:23pm ET
I travel extensively for work, and love trying new steakhouses. I've been to most of the places the other posters mention, but I also know about a little hidden gem--529 Wellington in Winnipeg, a city in the province of Manitoba in Canada. Not only do they have their own herd of cattle and exclusive oyster beds, they also have a very strong wine list (I believe they even won an award from the Wine Spectator) and a great sommellier--Chris is probably one of Canada's best.Funny thing is, in two dozen trips there I think I've ordered the pan-fried rib steak with marrow sauce more than a dozen times. It's just too tempting, and there's nothing like that unctuous sauce as a foil for a great Burgundy or a lush Chateauneuf.

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