Every so often, a deep, rumbling, primal craving overtakes you, and a voice inside your head says with finality and absolution: Must. Have. Meat. No measly burger patty will suffice. No meatballs, no drumsticks, no chops. For this kind of hankering, there’s only one entrée that makes the cut. And that’s a special cut of beef that we like to tag under the broad heading of steak.
There’s nothing quite like a well-marbled, juicy steak, hot off the grill or stovetop. Simply seasoned with coarse salt and fresh cracked pepper—perhaps topped with herb butter or blue cheese crumbles—it’s pure, unadulterated bliss. To remember a fine steak dinner you once had is salivate while reflecting in slow motion. The perfect pink under the caramelized crust, the way a quality cut of meat melts on the tongue, the coalescence of roasted potatoes with that tender beef…alright, enough already! Snap out of the reverie, and get thee to a local eatery to devour some of the mouth-watering offerings. From classic sirloin to an upscale rendition of tenderloin medallions flamed with brandy and finished with demi-glace, you’ll get your steak craving satisfied all right. The only question is which steak you’ll claim.
At David’s Chophouse, you’ll find more than just a view of the pristine golf course and ready pro to talk the gentleman’s sport with. You’ll also find one heck of a unique twist on surf and turf: steak Oscar ($36). It’s a delectable dish that features twin 4 oz. filets atop rich, full-flavored crab cakes. Served with creamy hollandaise sauce and verdant-green asparagus tips, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been indulging in this filet-meets-sweet-crab combination all your life. Another delicious beef option we’ve got to pay homage to is the herb-crusted prime rib ($28 for a queen’s cut; $34 for a king’s). This baby is slow-roasted for maximum tenderness. Order it, or any of the restaurant’s killer steak dinners, with one of its “steak enhancers”: Chophouse sauce ($4), gorgonzola cream sauce ($4), herbed mushrooms ($3), caramelized onions ($3) or hollandaise sauce ($4) or Oscar sauce ($7). 9555 Wedgewood Drive; 651.294.3160.
This wouldn’t be a complete steak roundup without a nod to the Outback. Grab your mates and let these folks throw something special on the barbie for dinner. We’re in love with the sirloin diablo ($9.99). It’s a killer steak plate laid with the Outback’s 6 oz. signature sirloin topped with piquant chili pepper cream sauce. It’s served with those golden Aussie fries, too. Another steak we’re fired up about here is the teriyaki filet medallions ($14.29). This platter includes a mouth-watering wood-fire grilled filet that’s been gingerly marinated in sweet-and-sour teriyaki sauce. The nuances of soy sauce, mirin and honey come out in the sizzlin’ steak. It’s served up with onions, red and green peppers, and a pile of seasoned rice. You also get to pick two additional sides. 10150 Hudson Road; 651.735.3268.
Black and Bleu Sirloin
In general, the combination of the words “black” and “blue” have negative connotations. Not so when you’re at Sunsets and perusing the lineup of melt-in-your-mouth steaks. We’re smitten for the black and bleu sirloin ($20.95) with its Cajun seasonings infusing the tender beef, charred to showcase a delightfully crisp exterior while maintaining a petal-pink, juicy interior. It’s topped with a tumble of pungent bleu cheese crumbles and caramelized onions, toothsome toppings that find their way onto each morsel you pierce with your fork. Another favorite is the filet mignon and coconut shrimp ($33.95). The staff proclaims this is the combo that can’t be beat, and we’re not going to fight them on it. The tender steak and sweet coconut-crusted shrimp are served along with button mushrooms, garlic-parsley maitre d’butter and a spicy Cajun marmalade. 700 Commons Drive; 651.735.1997.
If you want to delve into a dramatic steak dinner, book a table at the Afton House Inn and order the steak Diane ($34). This house special is prepared right at your table, and the presentation is jaw-droppingly impressive. Under the skilled hands of the chef, beef tenderloin medallions are flamed with brandy, served with tender shallots, mushrooms, Dijon mustard, maitre d’butter and the steak is topped with a silky demi-glace. If you want to skip the showmanship and get straight to steak, opt for the 6 oz. filet mignon ($24). Significantly larger appetite? Try the 16 oz. bone-in ribeye ($39). And be sure to get the restaurant’s rich and fluffy garlic mashed potatoes; they’re award-winning. 3291 St. Croix Trail S., Afton; 651.436.8883.
10 oz. Ribeye
The lights turned down to dusky-dim, the music waltzing all around you and the rich aroma from the stovetop and oven wafting from the kitchen. This is the oh-so-agreeable atmosphere of Cravings during the dinner hour. Do yourself a favor the next time you’re looking for a meaty steak and order this eatery’s 10 oz. ribeye ($27). It’s a gorgeous piece of super-tender meat that’s served up with white beans, roasted red tomatoes with basil, aioli-roasted potatoes, peas and chimichurri, all capped with a scintillating balsamic reduction sauce. Of course, you can’t go wrong with Cravings’ classic steak and gorgonzola salad ($16). It’s been on the menu for years with its 5 oz. grilled sirloin steak seated atop mixed greens with roasted tomatoes, crumbled bleu cheese, crispy onion straws and a gorgonzola dressing. 755 Bielenberg Drive; 651.528.6828.
8 oz. Sirloin
Bonjourno, Italian cuisine! Maybe you’re used to ordering a giant platter of penne pasta with marinara sauce and a generous dusting of Parmesan cheese, but know that when you’re jones-ing for a succulent steak, Carmine’s has got you covered, too. Try their tender and delicious 8 oz. filet, served with that very same penne and marinara combo, alongside a helping of seasonal vegetables. ($25.95). It’s also worth noting that on Monday nights, Carmine’s offers an 8 oz. sirloin with a green salad and crispy French fries for only $9.95. Take advantage of that, friends. 9900 Valley Creek Road; 651.730.6828.
Owner and chef of the Lake Elmo Inn, John Schiltz, could wax poetic for hours about the Inn’s top-of-the-line steak. He selected the 1881 certified Hereford beef for a reason: It’s the best beef around. “You could slice into this steak with a fork,” Schiltz promises. “The old timers taste it and attest that this is how beef used to taste growing up on the farm back in the good ol’ days.” So basically, it’s what you’d request for your last supper. Still, with that said, we have a few favorites. You must try the Elmo’s sirloin ($17.95 for 6 oz.; $21.95 for 10 oz.). It’s ridiculously tender slices of sirloin, served with a rich wild mushroom au jus. Another item worth mentioning is the 1881 Tournedos Bearnaise ($34.95 for 6 oz.; $38.95 for 8 oz.), which features two twin filet mignons topped with a velvety béarnaise sauce and garnished with jumbo shrimp. 3442 Lake Elmo Avenue N., Lake Elmo; 651.777.8495.