Last week, the New York Times’ Pete Wells gave a scathing zero-star review to classic Brooklyn steakhouse Peter Luger, a restaurant many Twin Citians no doubt had on their bucket lists.
The overblown prices, the brusque service, the shrimp cocktail that tastes like “cold latex dipped in ketchup and horseradish,” and the frustrating cash-only policy were some of Wells’ complaints about the once-legendary establishment.
A few days later and 1,200 miles away, the Star Tribune’s restaurant critic Rick Nelson glowingly reviewed Minneapolis’s P.S. Steak, where “the beef is first-rate, and the half-dozen cuts are treated with obvious finesse and expertise.” It got 3.5 stars.
In a city flush with Silver Butter Knives and Bludgeons of Beef, why bother traveling for what Wells called “just another steak”? Whether we’re talking about atmosphere, service or simply the meat, we have plenty of greats right here at home.
Here are some chophouses of which the Twin Cities can be proud.
(Please note: this list is only the tip of the iceberg wedge. Have another favorite? Let us know in the comments.)
825 Marquette Av. S., Mpls., 612-339-9900, mannyssteakhouse.com
In a 2017 Q&A in the Star Tribune, co-owner Phil Roberts had this to say about the staff at this three-decade-old mainstay.
“We made a point of hiring outgoing, macho guys, guys that would have fun at the table. We hired for personality. Peter Luger does the same thing, but Peter Luger can be nasty, and not funny. We had some characters. Tim Rooney was with us for 15 years. He just died, I just went to his funeral. Tim’s thing was, he’d have a table of six — from 3M, or something — and he’d pick up a steak knife and wham! [jams it into the tabletop], and it would vibrate back and forth. He’d ruin a tablecloth, but he’d sell an extra bottle of Opus [wine].”
510 Groveland Av., Mpls., 612-886-1620, psmpls.com
Mike DeCamp set up his new steakhouse in a familiar home, the former La Belle Vie. It’s a setting “as unabashedly sumptuous as ever,” Nelson wrote.
1933 Colfax Av. S., Mpls., 612-843-1500, burchrestaurant.com
When Isaac Becker et al opened this spot in 2013 with nearly 30 steak options, Nelson said in his 4-star review that Burch was “dramatically shifting the paradigm” of steakhouses.
26 S. 6th St., Mpls., 612-339-0909, murraysrestaurant.com
Since 1946, the downtown Minneapolis institution has boasted its Silver Butter Knife Steak and other classics.
Joan’s in the Park
631 Snelling Av. S., St. Paul, 651-690-3297, joansinthepark.com
It’s not exactly a steakhouse, but co-owners Joan Schmitt and Susan Dunlop met while working in one, and brought a masterful char to their Highland Park restaurant. “With no grill at her disposal, Dunlop cranks up the lower half of her pizza oven to 800 degrees and relies upon cast-iron skillets to insert a tasty sear into salt-crusted prime New York strip and filet mignon, imbuing the juicy beef with a mouthwateringly crusted outer char that yields to a juicy, butter-knife-tender interior,” Nelson wrote in 2011.
Mancini’s Char House
531 W. 7th St., St. Paul, 651-224-7345, mancinis.com
The 70-year-old still has a happening scene to go with its charcoal-broiled steaks. Nelson called it “Vegas-meets-St. Paul.”
St. Paul Grill
350 Market St., St. Paul, 651-224-7455, stpaulgrill.com
In classic St. Paul Hotel digs, its pricey steaks are “exercises in excellence, served straight up and headlined by a fantastic thick-cut, beautifully aged and expertly seasoned bone-in filet, its ruby red center surrounded by a nicely charred crust,” Nelson wrote in 2013.
635 E. Lake St., Wayzata, 952-404-1100, giannis-steakhouse.com
This old-school steakhouse (think: tableside spun salad) has anchored Lake Street for more than two decades.
And 2 newer spots to check out:
1642 W. County Road B2, Roseville, 651-796-0040, baldamar.com
A new steakhouse outside Rosedale Mall from restaurateur Randy Stanley (Wayzata’s 6Smith), who built “a ‘beaut of a modern-day steakhouse from the ground up,” Nelson said after an early visit.
Little Chicago Chophouse
1100 Canterbury Road, Shakopee, 952-403-4970, littlechicagochophouse.com
Bringing East Coast steakhouse vibes to Canterbury Park, this 60-seat restaurant just off the casino floor offers Black Angus steak, seafood, pastas courtesy of chef Seth Teiken, formerly of Pazzaluna Urban Italian Restaurant in St. Paul.