Critics’ choice: Three game-changing steak houses

St. Anselm; Prime 1000; Viande Rouge

St. Anselm

Brooklyn, N.Y.

There is an “amazing, wonderful, game-changing” new steak house in town, and “the funny thing is it doesn’t even know it,” said Robin Raisfeld and Rob Patronite in New York. Owner Joe Carroll will tell you that his rustic Williamsburg storefront space is just a spot where locals come to refuel on simply seasoned grilled meats and seafood, as well as such adventurous fare as head-on roast chicken and whole mackerel. But beyond such distractions, you’ll uncover an old-school steak house menu, complete with iceberg wedges, spinach gratins, and thick slices of grilled bacon. Our favorite offering in this genre is the butcher’s steak—“a hunk of hanger so rich and tender it could convert a gang of vegan toughs.” Almost as good are the “cola-braised deviled bones”—beef ribs that are slow-cooked and panko-crusted. Given how reasonable the prices at St. Anselm are, what you get is a new breed of great steak house—a place you really can just drop in on instead of a “special-occasion expense-account extravaganza.” 355 Metropolitan Ave., (718) 384-5054

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Prime 1000

St. Louis

“Connoisseurs of cow” have found their new St. Louis temple, said Dave Lowry in St. Louis Magazine. Ten-month-old Prime 1000 looked for inspiration to Wolfgang Puck’s Cut, of Beverly Hills, and created a sleekly minimalist stage of its own for top-grade, dry-aged beef and a menu varied enough to turn non-beef-eaters into regulars too. Want to see the aging process? No problem. In a glass-fronted case that “looks like it might be holding Lenin on ice, shelves are stacked with blocks of Himalayan salt to desiccate the atmosphere inside, along with hunks of beef.” The chefs really know how to treat that meat right. “The expertise at the grill, the care in aging and preparation, is tasted with every forkful.” Whether a rib eye, a filet mignon, or a New York strip, each grass- or corn-fed steak arrives with a caramelized crust, tender and cooked to order. Pair one with the stellar scalloped sweet potatoes or smoked-white-cheddar-cheese macaroni, however, and you might have trouble choosing a highlight. As “your Aunt Bert used to say: ‘I could make a meal of this.’” 1000 Washington Ave., (314) 241-1000

Viande Rouge

Johns Creek, Ga.

“If you’re a people watcher, your gaping jaw may never shut” once you set foot inside the dimly lit “make-believe” world of Viande Rouge, said John Kessler in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Tucked in a suburban Atlanta strip mall behind a plain black door, this winningly naughty steak house prohibits all diners under 18 and seems to have become a favorite hunting ground for the “tanned, taut, highlighted women of a certain age” who’d gladly answer to the sobriquet “cougars.” Gilt-framed paintings of nearly topless women and “brocade-patterned walls the color of blood” also compete for attention with the food, but chef Marc Sublette generally holds his own. Beyond the clientele’s sequined minidresses and giddy carrying-on, “this is a place for oysters and foie gras, USDA prime steaks, and canard à l’orange, all of it prepared with skill.” I could complain that Sublette ought to drop the “perfunctory” escargot appetizer, but “this Franco-American fantasy world always leaves me with a smile—particularly when the meal ends with a flaming dessert, such as the Peach Louie.” 9810 Medlock Bridge Rd., (770) 623-4959

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