Did you catch my play on words there? Notice how I used “Steaks” instead of “Stakes”? Good one right?!? Haha…yeah…anyways, today I’m writing about my favorite food: steaks. If you prefer munching on wooden stakes, click here.
I couldn’t narrow it down to a top 5, so I am going to do my top THREE instead, and I’m going to reveal them one by one, so keep checking the Lunchin’ Out facebook page for updates.
Here we go, in no particular order:
The Prime Rib (Baltimore)
The prime rib may be the most famous steakhouse in Baltimore (there is a D.C. location but I’ve never been), and with good reason. I remember my first trip to this 1940’s time capsule (built in 1965 and designed to look like a 40’s supper club). Ally took me for my birthday one year, and when we arrived at the front entrance, an older gent came hustling down the stairs to greet us. “Good evening Mr. Sewall, and a happy birthday to you as well!” he said. He whisked us inside and I quickly realized that I was not dressed in the proper attire – at the time, they were requiring all formal attire, and I was wearing khakis and a sweater. At that moment there was a freight train carrying a load of embarrassment headed straight for me, but this gentleman jumped right in between us and handed me a dark navy blue jacket that he’d hand selected from the closet. He must have sized me up as I was stepping out of the care because it fit perfectly.
On this occasion, Ally and I split their specialty – the prime rib. Easily the best prime rib I’d ever tasted, it was also one of the best steaks I’d ever tasted, and I’m not normally a big fan of prime rib. It was huge, salty, and cooked to perfection. Well worth the price tag ($47.95) and a return visit as well. Also fantastic is The Prime Rib steak (bone-in rib eye steak). It’s $47 bucks but it’s massive.
Another interesting fact: The Prime Rib is the only place I can think of that actually sells a USDA prime filet mignon ($40). Due to the general lack of fat content in filet cuts, most places serving USDA prime beef (i.e. Ruth’s Chris) actually serve USDA choice filets, not prime.
BLT Steak is my kind of steakhouse, serving new-American and upscale comfort dishes in a casual – dare I say “hip” – atmosphere right smack in the middle of D.C. At BLT you can choose between an order of perfectly battered onion rings, potato skins or jalapeno mashed potatoes to go along with your American wagyu ribeye. That’s right…manly stuff. Even more manly? Dipping sauces! Lube that $50 steak up by dipping each tender bite into any one (or more) of the following:
The Peppercorn and the 3 Mustards were both incredible. And the steaks? Well it doesn’t get much better than this. BLT offers a hanger steak, filet, bone-in or boneless NY strip, and a bone-in ribeye. They’ve also got a porterhouse for two ($84), and this is what Ally and I went with. Hey, it was my birthday! Cooked to perfection (med-rare), nicely charred on the outside, extremely flavorful on the inside with intense marbling action going on. I should also mention that all of their steaks are broiled at 1700 degrees and finished off with a homemade herb butter.
For the high money rollers out there, feel free to choose from a selection of Kobe beef options. This is a type of “super” prime beef (includes the American “Wagyu” brand of beef) which is fed and raised in a way which promotes extreme flavor awesomeness. But it’s expensive. Get ready to drop $92 on the American Wagyu ribeye and an unheard of $24 PER OUNCE for the Australian Kobe strip!! Too rich for my blood, but interesting nonetheless.
This is about the steaks, not the desserts (or sides, for that matter) but I will just say that they’ve got some fantastic offerings like the peanut butter chocolate mousse with banana ice cream or the warm chocolate tart with pistachio ice cream.
Firestones (Frederick, MD)
Firestone’s Restaurant & Bar isn’t a steakhouse, but it does serve quite possibly the best steak I’ve ever eaten. An 18 oz USDA prime, dry aged, bone-in (aka cowboy cut) rib eye topped with gorgonzola butter, shoestring potatoes, and balsamic grilled asparagus. Dry-aging is the important factor here, as most steakhouses, even the USDA prime ones, use a faster, more cost-effective method of aging their steaks known as “wet aging” where they use vacuum sealed bags to seal to sort of marinate the beef in it’s own juices. Wet aged steaks have a more bloody, metallic flavor where as dry aged steaks carry a more brown roasted, beefy flavor. Dry aging is a process by which the steaks are hung in climate controlled rooms for long periods of time to get the enzymes in the steak going crazy. The results are incredible, but it can take weeks to complete and therefore most places will opt for wet aging instead.
A dry-aged steak is a delicacy and one that should be tried at least once. At Firestone’s you can do this, and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg – just $36 for the entree, a very reasonable price for what you are getting. I’ve been there three times and ordered the steak all three, and the consistency is definitely there.
If you’re going, I’d also highly recommend the Border Springs Lamb Carpaccio with red beet caper relish, herbed goat cheese, and pickled quail egg. The desserts are nothing to sneeze at either (some of the best bread pudding I’ve had).
Nestled in the heart of downtown historic Frederick, it’s a great place to hit after a day of hiking in the Catoctin mountains. Dinner starts at 5 and is served upstairs above the bar. It’s a casual place serving upscale cuisine at very reasonable prices. I cannot say enough great things about this place.