When Long Islanders are willing to drop more on dinner than the budget usually allows, a prime steakhouse is the likely destination. The better steakhouses generally are among the priciest restaurants in Nassau and Suffolk, from the beef to the a la carte side dishes. And the competition has heightened along with the cost. There are some restaurants that specialize in the best beef, but they are few. Big, familiar names reign.
Here are Newsday’s choices for the top 10 steakhouses of 2018.
Note: Most dishes mentioned are samples of the restaurants’ menus and may not be available at all times. Seasonal changes and dish substitutions are common.
Blackstone Steakhouse (10 Pinelawn Rd., Melville): When Blackstone Steakhouse opened, dining out near Route 110 went from the casual and the businesslike to high-end. The handsome establishment, with hints of Frank Lloyd Wright in the design and excellent beef and seafood on the menu, was among the first to update and upgrade the definition of surf and turf. It's one of three Anthony Scotto steakhouses to make this list. Blackstone stars with almost everything. Bluefin tuna crudo vies with shellfish cocktails. The wedge salad competes with Caesar and Greek. And the porterhouse for two, three, or four is rivaled by a 30-ounce, bone-in rib steak, sirloin, and filet mignon. Wagyu sliders are apropos to begin. Equally recommended are the 28-ounce, long-bone Kurobuta pork chop with soy-braised bacon and apple----celery root puree. Maine lobster, either steamed or broiled, excels, as do the colorful sushi rolls and traditional nigirizushi. The obligatory sides: creamed spinach, mashed potatoes, hash browns. Finish with banana cream pie, chocolate cake, or a sundae. More info: 631-271-7780, blackstonesteakhouse.com
A lobster roll is served at Blackstone Steakhouse in Melville.
Bryant & Cooper
Bryant & Cooper (2 Middle Neck Rd., Roslyn): Since 1986, Bryant & Cooper has been one of Northern Boulevard's main events. The clubby restaurant now nearly sports a patina. And it is likely that regulars would protest any significant change in the woody décor. The staff is both attentive and knowledgeable, the style unpretentious, and the experience very comfortable. In season, be sure to crack some stone crab claws here. Or begin with any of the shellfish cocktails, maybe clams oreganata or clams casino. Bryant & Cooper also prepares an outstanding linguine with white clam sauce. You can continue this way with a generous chicken parmigiana. But the porterhouse steak for two, three, or four beckons. Alternatives: prime sirloin, Colorado rib steak, filet mignon, all excellent. And the full-cut prime rib is one of the best around. Broiled lobster and grilled swordfish are reliably on point. With any of these main courses, pick the Lyonnaise potatoes, mashed potatoes, or cottage fried spuds, a fried combo, or fried zucchini and sautéed corn. Sweeten up with banana cream pie, Key lime pie, pecan pie. A B&C butcher shop and retail market is next door. More info: 516-627-7270, pollrestaurants.com
Stone crab is served at Bryant & Cooper in Roslyn.
The Capital Grille
The Capital Grille (630 Old Country Rd., Garden City): This local branch of the polished chain is situated in Roosevelt Field. It has a clubby look, with artwork that features fox hunts and images of Charles Lindbergh and Jacqueline Kennedy. And the dining area is large enough to be a very well-appointed convention site. Amiable and polite service is a given. But Charles and Jackie are the lone suggestions you're on Long Island. Part of the restaurant's appeal is that it doesn't vary very much. Pick the bone-in, Kona coffee-rubbed, dry-aged New York strip, which is almost rivaled by the strip steak with shallot butter and a cherry-Cabernet reduction. The porcini-rubbed rib-eye and the sliced filet mignon with cipollini onions and wild mushrooms also will be hits, along with the dry-aged strip steak au poivre and 24-ounce porterhouse. Roasted swordfish, sesame tuna, and broiled lobster deserve their popularity. At lunch, you can bite into a lobster roll or a cheeseburger and leave happy. The appetizers include white Cheddar-and-potato leek soup, New England-style clam chowder, rich steak tartare, prosciutto-wrapped mozzarella with tomatoes, roasted beet-and-goat cheese salad, a jumbo lump crab cocktail, and lobster-and-crabcakes. Coconut cream pie for dessert. More info: 516-746-1675, thecapitalgrille.com
Filet Oscar, a filet mignon topped with crab meat and rich bearnaise sauce, is served at The Capital Grille restaurant located on the ring at Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City.
Insignia Prime Steak & Sushi
Insignia Prime Steak & Sushi (610 Smithtown Bypass, Smithtown): Here's the most opulent of Anthony Scotto's steakhouse trio, a production number that easily could fit on Las Vegas Boulevard as much as Route 347. From the bar to the dining room, the copper roofing to the cedar shakes, it's a show. More important, the steaks are first-rate and so is the seafood. The best cuts include the 32-ounce, T-bone, 30-ounce, bone-in rib-eye, and 18-ounce, Kansas City sirloin. The porterhouse for two, three, or four; and the hefty Colorado lamb chops also enrich the proceedings. The notable starters: meaty, tender grilled Mediterranean octopus with onions and caper and espresso-chile crusted "6 hour slab bacon;" the mini-Wagyu flight and everything from the raw bar. Toro tuna tartare with mango, cucumber, and scallion suits the surroundings as does the "tornado" roll of spicy lobster, king crab, avocado, deep-fried crunchy potato, spicy mayo, and eel sauce -- truly a mouthful. For the less-than-carnivorous diner: chia-crusted organic tofu with red quinoa, pineapple, and mint. The two-pound steamed lobster, crab meat-stuffed jumbo shrimp, and Scottish salmon almost seem modest in this environment. Pick the baked potato or the mashed potatoes. End with the six-layer chocolate cake. More info: 631-656-8100, insigniasteakhouse.com
Juniper-crusted venison chop with figs and white truffle honey at Insignia Prime Steak & Sushi in Smithtown.
The Palm at the Huntting Inn
The Palm at the Huntting Inn (94 Main St., East Hampton): The Palm's history begins in 1926, when Pio Bozzi and John Ganzi opened the first one in Manhattan. There are Palms across the country, from Boston and Washington, D.C. to Las Vegas and Beverly Hills. Some seem like power broker central, others celebrity canteens. The Palm in East Hampton is the least urban of them. It's a steakhouse in a country home -- as if the regulars are on vacation. But this Palm is a local lure, too, and a tough reservation during the peak of summer. The double-cut strip steak for two or three, the New York strip, filet mignon, and Wagyu rib-eye are the major cuts. And the three and four-pound lobsters are exceptional. Befitting its heritage, The Palm prepares Italian-American specialties, from chicken and veal parmigiana to veal Marsala and linguine with white clam sauce, all expertly done. Top starters include beef carpaccio, thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon, a colossal crab meat cocktail, and clams casino. The burger bar features a savory short rib-brisket-chuck blend with gremolata; an ample cheeseburger; and a lean bison burger. The lobster-boosted macaroni and cheese has a bacon crust, in case things don't seem rich enough. New York-style cheesecake and warm, cinnamon-sugar doughnuts excel. More info: 631-324-0411, thepalm.com/restaurants/east-hampton
Carpaccio of beef tenderloin served at The Palm at The Huntting Inn in East Hampton.
Peter Luger (255 Northern Blvd., Great Neck): Is there any name more synonymous with a great porterhouse steak than Peter Luger? The original, family-run classic in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is the paradigm of a New York steakhouse, beef central since 1887. The suburban offspring is just as essential. And the style is a little more refined, half-timbered and vaguely Tudor-like, minus the well-worn, bare wood tables. Service is affable instead of studio-central cranky. The porterhouse for two, three, or four really is all you need to know about the menu. It's perfectly prepared to order, mineral-sweet, adroitly charred. Dissenters should pick the rib steak. Whether you choose to use the Peter Luger steak sauce will depend on how much you want to toy with the prime beef. If you insist on trying something else, the "extra heavy cut" prime rib and the chopped steak are serious, as is the hamburger at lunch. Double-thick loin lamb chops and broiled lobster are very satisfying, too. Obligatory openers take in sliced tomatoes and onions, extra-thick bacon, and the jumbo shrimp and crab meat cocktails. German fried potatoes, the giant baked potato, creamed spinach, and onion rings all matter. For dessert there's apple strudel with schlag, chocolate mousse, Key lime pie, and the "Holy Cow" hot fudge sundae. More info: 516-487-8800, peterluger.com
Apple strudel, with a flakey crust and homemade schlag, a sweet, thick, whipped cream, is served at Peter Luger in Great Neck.
Rare650 (650 Jericho Tpke., Syosset): This modernist steakhouse boasts a very lively social scene, a setting suitable for business entertaining, and the same successful union of steak and sushi that marks other Anthony Scotto destinations. The place comes at you in levels. It can get noisy. But once the food arrives, you won't mind. The 32-ounce T-bone definitely will get your attention, as will the porterhouse steak for two, three, or four. Beginning with the Japanese spice mini-Wagyu burger flight, with wasabi-ginger mayo will put you in the right mood. So will the combo of burrata and applewood-smoked bacon. Or stick with the pork solo via Nueske's slab bacon. A lighter route starts with golden beet salad emboldened with Gorgonzola, roasted walnuts, watercress, and pickled onions. The oven-roasted crabcake also is an appealing appetizer. The house's sushi rolls are showy and flavorful. The duly designated surf-and-turf production brings together wagyu beef, spicy tuna, and king crab, with avocado and yuzu-soy. Continuing seaside, consider the whole branzino, with a lemon-caper emulsion; and Atlantic halibut with a citrus-herb beurre blanc, sweet potato gnocchi, and mushrooms. Very good roasted corn, black truffle macaroni and cheese, hashed browns on the side. Key lime pie leads the desserts. More info: 516-496-8000, rare650.com
A sushi combination platter with salmon, tuna, hamachi, snapper and fluke sashimi and an Alaskan king crab roll with cucumber, avocado, mango, tempura crunch and topped with salmon and mango chili sauce at Rare650 in Syosset.
Rothmann's Steakhouse (6319 Northern Blvd., East Norwich): Rothmann's Steakhouse is both rare and well-done. Its history goes back to 1907, when it was run by Charles and Franziska Rothmann. And Theodore Roosevelt ate here. Over the years, it has been Rothmann's, Chas. Rothmann's, and for a while, starting on the 1970s, composer-musician Burt Bacharach's restaurant at the East Norwich Inn. The dining room was a celebrity magnet. But in its latest life, the stars are in the kitchen and on the plate. Executive chef Mark Serrantino brings you a classic steakhouse with contemporary style. And on Thursday nights, Rothmann's delivers as a very lively social scene. The bar overflows. Stellar dishes include the 24-ounce bone-in rib steak; the porterhouse for two, three, or four; "limited reserve" steaks, including a wagyu tomahawk rib steak for two, and a Japanese Kobe strip steak; and a Kobe burger. Alternatives for those not carnivorously inclined are the lobster and the house sushi. They're supplemented with excellent sauces, au poivre to Bearnaise, and side dishes, creamed spinach to roasted fingerling potatoes. Top starters range from grilled octopus and Kung Pao calamari to crab cakes and raw bar favorites. Of course, there's New York-style cheesecake for dessert. More info: 516-922-2500, rothmannssteakhouse.com
A sushi and sashimi platter from Rothmann's Steakhouse in East Norwich.
Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Ruth's Chris Steak House (600 Old Country Rd., Garden City): Butter-topped and invariably sizzling, the steaks of Ruth's Chris Steak House are popular across the country. The Garden City restaurant sticks to the program. Founded by the late Ruth Fertel in 1965, the business began when she bought Chris Steak House in New Orleans, an establishment that opened on her birthday. She sold the business in 1999. Franchises abound, with more than 80 restaurants. Visit this one and enjoy the bone-in New York strip steak on its 500-degree plate. The bone-in filet mignon and 40-ounce, Tomahawk rib-eye also sizzle on cue, challenging the porterhouse for two. You can adorn the steaks Oscar-style, with a jumbo lump crabcake, asparagus, and Bearnaise sauce; or a blue cheese, roasted garlic, and panko crust. The chilled seafood tower, shrimp cocktail, barbecue shrimp, and the "crabtini" of crab meat with Creole-accented sauce rémoulade are key openers. But for old time's sake, try the gumbo. The sides to sample: Lyonnaise potatoes, the one-pound baked potato; and lobster macaroni and cheese. Cheesecake and bread pudding suit Ruth's Chris. More info: 516-222-0220, ruthschris.com
Cheesecake is served at Ruth's Chris Steak House in Garden City.
Tellers: An American Chophouse
Tellers: An American Chophouse (605 Main St., Islip): Tellers is situated in a high-ceiling, 1927 building that once housed the First National Bank of Islip. It's one of Long Island's more dramatic dining rooms, a three-story stone tribute to the good life with 25-foot vertical windows. A Mosler vault fittingly holds the restaurants exceptional wines. The Bohlsen Restaurant Group also owns neighboring Verace. The "signature" dish here is superb 40-ounce, rib-eye steak, as imposing as it is terrific. You can slice contentedly into a porterhouse for two, a bone-in filet mignon, and a boneless New York strip steak. Tellers also prepares a major prime rib roast au jus with horseradish crème fraîche and a Black Label burger with applewood-smoked bacon, Cheddar, and duck-fat fries. Dover sole finished with lemon, capers, and parsley; and lobster thermidor have the apropos richness. House-made potato tots scalloped Parmesan potatoes, and five-cheese macaroni and cheese keep to the theme. At the clubby Gold Bar alongside the dining room, try the butter-poached lobster roll or a shrimp cocktail. The fudge layer cake and Brooklyn cheesecake will complete the treats. More info: 631-277-7070, tellerschophouse.com
Lobster thermidor and five-cheese mac is served at Tellers: An American Chophouse in Islip.