Just because a restaurant is part of a chain of similar restaurants does not mean that it's faulted or flawed. By definition, the only thing that a 'chain' restaurant represents is that one restaurant was successfully duplicated in multiple places - thus, the chain reaction of having many establishments serving the same menu. When it comes to steakhouses, the two terms don't necessarily intermingle very well; the first thing that comes to mind with a steakhouse is something luxe, high-end, and pricey. The first thing that comes to mind with a chain restaurant is something affordable, occasionally fast, and average. So, what does this say about chain steakhouses? Not a whole lot.
Except in the case of the few restaurants out there that have successfully combined the two terms to prove worthy of a dining experience - and worthy of their steak prices. When it comes to the best chains for a decadent steak dinner, these are worthy of bearing the name.
Updated by Katie Machado, June 9th, 2021: This article has been updated to include the most recent, and best, chain steakhouses throughout the U.S., organized into regions.
New York City & New Jersey
Ruth's Chris isn't only one of the best chain steakhouses, it's also considered to be the best. And, luckily, you can find one of these restaurants in 38 out of 50 states - which is one of the bigger perks to chain restaurants! Walking into any one of these establishments just feels like a steakhouse should, complete with white tablecloths and a carefully curated steakhouse menu to peruse. As with any good steakhouse, the option for seafood is also there and Ruth's Chris happens to do both seafood and steak incredibly well. There are options from the more classic dishes all the way to the indulgent filet, which is the choice of many who decided to splurge on a steak dinner.
While Bobby Van's got its start after the first restaurant opening in Bridgehampton, New York, the chain grew to encompass much of the city. It was a popular steakhouse of choice for musicians and artists and, when it was sold to four restauranteurs based in Manhattan, it took the city by storm with its prime USDA beef and fresh seafood options. Now, there are seven locations throughout New York City and Long Island, and two in Washington D.C., each offering a unique and diverse steakhouse menu. Anything from lobster cocktail and tuna tartare to bone-in filet and Veal Milanese can be
CUT By Wolfgang Puck
Since there are several Wolfgang Puck restaurants out there, CUT deserves a special mention even though it isn't classified as a chain. This Beverly Hills-based steakhouse is undeniably one of the best, otherwise, there wouldn't be additional locations in New York City, Las Vegas, D.C., and Singapore. With offerings such as bone marrow flan, grilled Sonoma lamb chops, Nebraska-based USDA prime beef aged 35 days, and options for wagyu beef, it's no wonder CUT is consistently ranked the best in the U.S.
Truluck's has a restaurant in downtown Austin and while this is not the only U.S. location, the atmosphere of this location is as great as the food. While the chain is known for its phenomenal seafood, its prime steaks have also edged out slowly to beat out competition from other chains. The steak menu is simple with a choice of New York strip, filet, or prime ribeye, but each one is always cooked to perfect specifications. Truluck's also gets a shoutout for its vegan bolognese, which is a unique option to include on a steak and seafood menu.
Mastro's also has locations throughout the U.S. in major cities but when it comes to steakhouse chains in Chicago, specifically, this one is an overachiever. Its prime location on Dearborn street, live music nights, and fine dining atmosphere make it feel like everything a true, high-end steakhouse should be. The restaurant's wagyu tomahawk chops and Japanese A5 wagyu set it apart from the rest, offering the best in steakhouse dining.
Morton's The Steakhouse
Morton's the Steakhouse is available in many states across the U.S. but its menu has people wishing there were even more restaurants. Since the 70s, this steakhouse has been winning steak lovers over with its grill game, which has, in reality, been slaying the game since then. The difference between Morton's and other restaurants is in its cuts of meat. Not only is every dish prepared how it should be, but the steak choices are inspired by local ingredients. Depending on where a restaurant is located, it's not surprising to see local meat offerings in accordance with what's available in the area or what's usually imported. This makes for a fine, locally-infused steak dinner, complete with a sommelier that's hired in each restaurant to provide the perfect wine pairing with every meal.
Offered in more than 10 states, it's hard to believe that The Palm is actually a chain restaurant. Based on its menu, you'd think that it was more of a high-end, SoHo-only kind of place but alas, it's found throughout the U.S. The menu for The Palm includes the utmost in steak dining with terms such as 'duck fat' and 'aged' shining like a bright beacon to steak connoisseurs. There's nothing steak lovers won't like about a steak dinner here, from the respectable range of steaks to the seafood that's prepared as exceptionally as the steaks. Even the sides and starters are worthy of the splurge, and if any restaurant is changing the chain game, it's The Palm.
Smith & Wollensky
Smith & Wollensky is spread across the northern U.S. but is concentrated in New England, with a seasonal menu that's nothing short of perfection. The restaurant's dry-aged steaks are mouth-watering from the second they're carried out of the kitchen, and its Atlantic Wharf Boston location is particularly scenic. The Angry Shrimp and baked oysters are flawlessly creative, and even the sides - such as truffled mac & cheese and creamed corn with manchego - are nothing short of brilliant. By the time diners get to the (three-part) steak section, the hardest choice will be deciding which topper to order with their cut of meat.
Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
Surprisingly, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse got its start in California before expanding. While a steakhouse isn't something one typically associated with this Pacific coast, there's no denying that this restaurant is doing something incredible. It's a bit more modern than many other steakhouses that have already built their reputations but no less impressive - with dry-aged steaks and options for things such as beef carpaccio, along with a drool-worthy seafood menu, you'll be wondering why you haven't considered this restaurant before now. It's rare that a chain restaurant will offer bone-in steak but at Fleming's, anything goes.