San Francisco's Snazziest Steakhouses
Steakhouses in the U.S. are most synonymous with cities like D.C., Chicago and New York, but don’t overlook the San Francisco Bay Area when its superlative beef you’re after. With one of the best food scenes in the country (and the world), San Francisco certainly boasts some incredible steakhouses as well. From lavish meals in wine country to modern meat Meccas, these are the steakhouses pushing the envelope and wowing diners in San Francisco.
Press: Situated in St. Helena, one of the foremost townships in beautiful California wine country, Press features a locally driven menu that provides a very distinct stamp for the steakhouse-style dining experience. Think grass-fed Sonoma lamb, dry-aged prime beef and provisions plucked from the restaurant’s two private gardens. The restaurant bills itself as a modern farmhouse, serving up dishes that could easily be seen at a steakhouse, but here take a contemporary approach. Like chicken liver mousse with pepper jelly and candied walnut mustard; oysters with citrus kosho mignonette; crab and lobster cakes with celery heart remoulade; and paprika-dusted onion rings. Then there are the entrees, where steaks take the spotlight. Durham Ranch and BN Ranch provide cuts like bavettes and bone-in rib-eyes for two, along with other specialty options like prime chopped steak with sauteed mushrooms, grilled onions and a sunny-side up egg.
Osso Steakhouse: A prime example (pun intended) of San Francisco’s illustrious steak scene, Osso hails from the folks behind esteemed icons like Franciscan Crab, The Old Clam House and The Stinking Rose. At their meat-centric venture, 100% USDA prime and certified Angus aged beef is the bill of fare. Each one gets seared to perfection with rosemary and garlic. Options include a NY strip and heftier cuts like a 32-oz. porterhouse. Round out your meal with any of Osso’s imaginative starters or sides, like skillet-roasted chorizo cheese bread, fried stuffed olives, Italian potstickers and Brussels sprouts chips.
545 Steak Lounge: The swank name should tip you off that this isn’t your average chop house. Indeed, with dishes like shishito peppers with bonito flakes, duck confit croquettes and steak tartare with quail egg and truffle powder, this stuff is far from typical. And those starters are just the tip of the iceberg, as 545 moves into thoughtful entrees like an 8-oz. filet mignon with red pepper-tomato coulis and micro parsley; a 23-oz. dry-aged T-bone with bacon jam and sous vide egg; and a NY strip with onion strings, wasabi demi and micro wasabi.
Raya: From Latin fare to Asian cuisine, Raya draws inspiration from across the globe for its truly novel menu. All-natural prime NY strip with Dungeness crab potato puree, chipotle hollandaise and truffle chimichurri is one of the star steaks, epitomizing the restaurant’s penchant for creativity. There’s also a chipotle-rubbed filet with pearl onions, braised leeks, carrots, Oaxaca mash and chile-leek sauce for something a bit headier. Supplement with small plates like corn soup with avocado crema and masa dumplings; lobster tacos; duck carnitas Thai salad; and Brazilian cheese bread with avocado-chile butter.
LB Steak: With two Bay Area outposts, LB Steak is one steakhouse where the food matches the modern motif. This means jumbo Gulf prawns with crisp jalapeño slaw, iron-skillet cornbread with honey-pecan butter and smoked Gouda; Spanish octopus piperrada; and maple-glazed pork belly with savory bread pudding, among numerous others. It’s easy to be dazzled by the small plates, but be sure and save room for LB’s steaks and chops. Angus steaks are raised in the Northern Midwest and are USDA certified, aged and hand-cut in the restaurant’s butcher shop. Options include 14-oz. double filet mignon, 12-oz. boneless rib-eye and a 22-oz. cowboy, with optional sauces like tarragon bearnaise, green peppercorn and red wine bordelaise.
Alfred’s Steakhouse: Even San Francisco’s oldest steakhouse, around since 1928, has a thing for modernity. Alfred’s keeps things fresh with smoked steelhead trout with horseradish cream and house pickles; chanterelle mushrooms with parsley-green peppercorn sauce; roasted chicken with cabbage and soubise; and steak tartare with smoked egg yolk and malt potato crisps. For beef, Alfred’s employs mesquite-grilled dry-aged steaks, all farm-fresh and 100% grass-fed. These include filet mignon, NY strip rib-eye and the namesake Alfred’s cut, a bone-in rib-eye that clocks in at 28-oz.