Guests enter the luxurious dining room and revel in the aroma of grilled steaks and lamb chops. After sidling into a comfy chair at a table decked in a white tablecloth, they peruse the menus dotted with juicy cuts of black Angus beef and king crab legs. Diners welcome steaming plates of food to share table real estate with glasses of wine, consulting the hospitable staff for pairing recommendations and advice on which wines are the best conversationalists. If not partaking in a full meal, guests can recline in the lounge and sip cold beer while watching sports on the plasma TVs. Larger parties commune in the expansive banquet hall, munching on customized menus built to accommodate parties of 20–140.
Since its inception in 1964, Benihana has become synonymous worldwide with the Japanese steak house. Indeed, Benihana was America’s first teppanyaki restaurant that quickly spread across the country and around the world. At a teppanyaki (teppan means “steel grill” and yaki means “grilled”), food is prepared by a knife-wielding, joke-telling chef who stands at the afore-mentioned steel grill surrounded by guests seated at a wooden eating surface. The preparation is always interesting to watch and the food is both delicious and nutritious. Ontario, California is home to one of the 116 Benihana locations where the chefs are just waiting to entertain both your eyes and your taste buds.
If you’re going on a date, McDonald’s isn’t going to cut it. For a more romantic venue, try the New York Grill, which features a bar and a live piano player. The live music creates a great romantic atmosphere, and the food here, namely the French Onion Soup, the premium Filet Mignon, and, if you really are on a date, the Oysters Rockefeller, will really set the mood. The Lobster Tail and Baby Back Ribs are also customer favorites. Another thing to remember for date night: on the weekends, bottled wine is 50% off.
The Golden Spur delivers delectable steak and seafood dishes directly to digesters in a charming, historic Route 66-inspired environment. Midday meals include the jumbo shrimp cocktail, served over Cajun slaw ($11.95), the baked french-onion soup, crusted with a gruyere-cheese crouton ($5.95, $1 for cheese), and the classic walk-around, its new-york steak strolling to tables amidst grilled sourdough, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, and mayonnaise ($14.95). Or take a break from a long day translating baby talk by noshing evening eats such as frog legs breaded with Cajun-style cornmeal ($13.95), or end flavor strikes with the truffle-oil-splattered jumbo lobster ravioli ($16.95). Classic filets mignons come served in plain, peppercorn, cheese-stuffed, or bacon-wrapped varietals ($32.95 for 8 oz.), while the ahi tuna gets along swimmingly with its side of steamed white rice and vegetables ($18.95).
Since the first Logan's Roadhouse opened in Lexington, Kentucky in 1991, the restaurant has grown to more than 200 locations, bringing its grilled roadhouse food as far west as California. At each location, the floors of which are typically covered in shells from the buckets of peanuts at each table, eaters can carve into top sirloin and pull apart baby back ribs that have been slow roasting for eight hours. The grilled grub is complemented by beers, cocktails, sweet teas, and sides, such as baked potatoes, coleslaw, and mac 'n' cheese.
Duane’s is more than just prime steaks and fine wines; it’s a historical landmark. Or, rather, it’s located inside of one—The Mission Inn. Formerly a 12-room boarding house, the now-opulent hotel has hosted 10 U.S. presidents over the years. Toast their legacy with an aptly named Herbert Hoover Lemon Drop martini.