Not many steak houses can boast of their own market where juicy cuts of meat are swiftly transported from the nearby deli to the bustling restaurant kitchen. Knight’s Steakhouse and Grill holds this distinction in the form of Knight’s Market, an Ann Arbor deli where the steaks are painstakingly selected according to their size—each steak must be big enough to double as a shoe, if the need should arise. After the chefs cook them to perfection at the eatery’s two locations, the sizzling entrees make their way to waiting diners amid soft lighting and stone and brick accents.
Ponderosa Steakhouse & Buffet is a 25-year-old design with family-friendly incarnations nationwide. The Lansing locale dares patrons to scale a heaping all-you-can-eat buffet, where verdant mountains of crisp lettuce and fresh toppings inspire salads, and zesty chicken wings offer to awaken taste buds that fell asleep while eating cedar mulch. Second, third, and ninth trips yield juicy baked chicken with vegetables, multiple styles of cooked potato, and the gooey seduction of bubbling pizza by the slice. Weekends unleash steaming meats from red-hot grills and invite diners to sample unlimited fistfuls of sirloin steak, shrimp, and barbecue ribs.
Housed in one of downtown Baltimore's oldest brick buildings, the Waterfront Hotel Restaurant offers a weekend brunch menu splashed with traditional southern flavors and deep-sea delights. Fatigued longshoremen can break their fast with a crab hash skillet ($17.95), while languid landlubbers can hunker down with a traditional 8-ounce steak-and-eggs platter ($13.95). Lunch or dinner at the Waterfront may begin with undersea treats such as ginger calamari ($9.95) or buttery mussels ($9.95). Slay a grumbling gut-Grendel with a fried oyster po' boy ($11.95), or contemplate the mystic duality of lunch over a sweet-and-savory turkey-brie quesadilla ($9.95). Evening entrees, served from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m, include the scampi (blackened shrimp, scallops, and crab over linguini, $16.95) and the honey chipotle pork chop with mac 'n' cheese ($14.95).
Whitehouse Inn's America-themed menu sates appetites for classic domestic fare such as steaks and burgers, and the presidential portraits that line the walls encourage scintillating historical conversations. In honor of the 27th president for which it is named, the mushroom-topped William Taft dish of char-grilled beef is slathered with onions and thick beef gravy to help grease it out of a too-small bathtub ($11.99). Platters of juicy prime rib range from 8-ounce AARP cuts ($11.99) to 36-ounce presidential cuts ($35.99), and all arrive with Secret Service escorts of a salad or soup, dinner rolls, and choice of side. Oval-office burgers such as the hickory burger with barbecue sauce and bacon ($6.99+) resolve international disputes with the help of a neutral mushroom-swiss burger ($6.99+). Pair any dish with a selection of sides, including sweet-potato french fries and waffle fries that emigrated from France on a buoyant waffle iron.
The Great Steak and Potato's staff of stomach saters beefs up an extensive menu of toasty sandwiches crafted with freshly baked bread and specialty cut meats. Main-attraction cheesesteaks hog the spotlight with a captivating mélange of onions and toppings supporting a powerhouse of marinated premium sirloin steak. Wrap teeth around the original philly—topped with gooey philly cheese—or pitch a three-cheese chicagoland cheesesteak into your mouth or a friend's catcher's mitt, which can then be used as a plate. Grilled sandwiches include the wisconsin inside out, which plasters a hot, pressed bun with provolone and white american cheese, flooding palates with cheesy goodness. Chicken phillys swap out beef for all-tender, all-white chicken, and sides such as signature french fries ($2–$3.99) or slathered baked potatoes ($3–$5) complete the feast, much like finding a puzzle piece completes the quest for a new business-card shape.
On chalkboards mounted above hanging lights and family-style booths, Holiday Restaurant’s servers carefully record the day’s specials. Many of the servers chalking in prices have been at the eatery for years, pouring hundreds of cups of hot coffee and setting countless plates of housemade meatloaf, sirloin pot roast, and tuna-melt sandwiches. Cooks also griddle buttermilk and banana pancakes for breakfast and ladle hollandaise sauce over eggs benedict—a dish that they serve until 4 p.m. In the warmer months, an outdoor garden thrives with green peppers, gleaming eggplants, various tomatoes, and strawberries that brighten from green to red. Those vibrant fruits and vegetables go into crisp salads, BLTs, and fruit cups.