Beautifully grilled steaks and equally exquisite vegetable dishes were our top two reasons for tapping 1500 Degrees at Eden Roc Miami New Times' Best Steak House this year. But if there is one thing the Miami dining scene doesn't lack, it is stellar steak houses. Here are our other five favorites:
5. Red the Steakhouse
Think of all of the great things that have come to Miami via Cleveland: LeBron James, Red the Steakhouse... well, that's it. And though LeBron didn't bring us a championship, and Red didn't cop our Best Steak House award, we're glad they're both here (yet we did pay homage to Red in our "Best Of" issue for refusing to follow the herd by keeping hamburgers off the upscale steak-house menu -- and also for Best Restaurant for Gluttons in 2009). Peter Vauthy, executive chef of the South of Fifth property in South Beach, serves prime cuts of beef brushed with oil, kosher salt, and Tellicherry peppercorns. You can also tell Cherry about the thick veal chops, New Zealand rack of lamb, Bell & Evans chicken breast, and succulent Alaskan king crab legs. Factor in the romantic décor and expansive wine list and you're in for a classic steak-house experience.
4. Gotham Steak
Alfred Portale is the celebrated chef behind Gotham Bar & Grill in New York City. That's a good start. The dazzling two-level venue just off the fabulous Fontainebleau lobby is enticing, the inventory of 500-plus wine labels is enviable, and the steaks -- like a 20-ounce Brandt Farms rib eye or eight-ounce American Wagyu file mignon -- are grilled over hardwood charcoal and finished in a 1,200-degree broiler. Contemporary side dishes are sassy and inventive. That's probably why we named Gotham Best Steak House in 2009.
3. BLT Steak
This New York import provides the best one-two wow-factor startup of any restaurant in town: warm chicken liver spread with grilled bread followed by steamy Gruyère-glazed popovers. Then comes chef Sam Gorenstein's deft orchestration of USDA Prime and certified Angus beef steaks -- aged, broiled at 1,700 degrees, and finished with a slab of herb butter. Seafood options are more innovative than one expects at a meaty eatery -- like Acacia honey-marinated black cod or grilled branzino with grapefruit emulsion. Onion rings are beautiful, as is the dining room, situated inside the Betsy Hotel. BLT won our Best Steak House honor in 2010.
2. Meat Market
This is SoBe's sexiest steak house, but beyond the bustling scene is a wide range of steak cuts at a wide range of price options. Chef Sean Brasel is bold with rubs, marinades, and cures. Under-$30 picks include a delectable deckle steak, while the upper-end steaks include luscious cuts such as an A5 Kobe tenderloin and Harris Ranch bone-in New York strip. There are more than 20 side dishes -- don't miss the Gouda-filled tater-tots. Like the other steak houses, there is an extensive array of big, meat-friendly wines. Excellent raw bar items are available as well, such as a crudo of mahi-mahi spiked with jalapeño juice and tequila. Meat Market won our Best Restaurant on South Beach in 2009.
1. Bourbon Steak
Michael Mina made a name for himself by opening a celebrated namesake steak house in San Francisco. Nowadays his reputation looms large in Miami too, for Bourbon Steak in the Turnberry Isle Hotel & Resort has long thrilled critics, bloggers, and patrons alike. Executive chef Gabriel Fenton puts in his own star turn in bringing Mina's vision to luscious life. Starters such as lobster consommé with lobster dumplings and Berkshire pork belly with pickled black plums stir the
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juices. Mina's method is to pre-poach steaks: beef in butter, lamb in olive oil, and pork in bacon fat. Yes, it makes a difference: These are absolutely delicious meats. But even beyond the prime cuts of Japanese and American Kobe are signatures such as Maine lobster potpie and the finest duck-fat fries in town. Other winning sides are truffled mac 'n' cheese, a salt-baked loaded potato, and cauliflower with Marcona almond gremolata. For dessert, beignets are the way to go -- served with either a Tongan vanilla bean crème brûlée or Macallan 18-year butterscotch pudding. The wine list excels too. Bourbon won Best Steak House in 2008, Best Fried Chicken in 2009, and Best Hamburger in 2010. This steak house's superiority cuts across the board.