21 Central Steakhouse's extensive menu centers largely on its specialties: USDA prime corn-fed beef and fresh-caught seafood. The posh steakhouse's steaks are all seared in a 1,800-degree broiler, creating a deeply flavored external char that houses the juicy, broiled-to-order interior—similar to the one that houses Wile E. Coyote after an ACME bomb malfunction. After starting with a plate of baked goat cheese ($9.95) over tomatoes Provençal with chive oil and balsamic vinaigrette, boost your vitamin B12 intake with a 10-ounce center-cut filet mignon ($42.95) or a 20-ounce porterhouse ($46.95) and add a side of creamed spinach ($8) for color. You can also enhance your steak by dousing it with a coat of 21's brandy chanterelle sauce ($5), caramelized balsamic onions ($4), and more.
When night falls over southern Brazil, groups of gauchos gather around flickering fire pits and celebrate the end of another day by slowly grilling meat over the open flames. Novilhos Brazilian Steakhouse aims to capture the spirit of these traditional meals by hosting all-you-can-eat churrasco feasts that Zagat scored as "very good to excellent."
The chefs roast up more than a dozen cuts of meat, including filet mignon, bacon-wrapped chicken, lamb chops, and pork sausages. Servers dressed as gauchos parade these freshly grilled skewers throughout the dining room, stopping at diners' seats and offering to carve them slices tableside. In between these protein-laden servings, guests can visit the salad bar and load their plates up with more than 60 different side dishes, such as fresh-cut vegetables and imported cheeses.
It's nice watching someone else make dinner for a change—especially when the meal prep becomes a full-on show. At Tokyo Steakhouse, chefs bring their culinary skills tableside to entertain diners with flaming onion volcanoes and knife juggling. They can hand-wrap cucumber, green onion, and masago into spicy-tuna sushi rolls, and grill steak, chicken, and fresh vegetables for teppanyaki dishes. Accompany your meal with a specialty cocktail such as the Banzai, which is a mixture of tropical fruit juices, rum, and a splash of almond, and finish the meal on a sweet note with mochi ice cream.
Chef John Howie has always had the Bellevue dining culture in his blood. According to Seattle magazine, he started bussing tables at a local restaurant at age 15 and hasn't looked back since, building up a culinary empire with four venerated Washington restaurants bearing his creations.
At John Howie Steak, Chef Howie works with executive chef Mark Hipkiss, grilling USDA Prime steaks aged up to 42 days, American Wagyu steaks from Snake River Farms in Boise, Idaho, Pure Blood Wagyu beef from Victoria, Australia, and Japanese A5 Wagyu beef from the Kagoshima and Miyazaki Perfectures. The meats sizzle over an open-flame mesquite, charcoal grill, holding onto a mineral-smoke flavor far superior to other restaurants' Twinkie-smoke-flavored steaks. The imported cuts mingle with local organic produce and dairy as well as wild mushrooms and truffles culled from throughout the Pacific Northwest. John Howie Steak's robust wine menu complements the meaty textures and full, smoky flavors with more than 600 selections from California and Washington, as well as far off lands such as Spain, France, and New Zealand.
As the tango dancers that perform inside Buenos Aires Grill strut and twirl, they enact a wide range of dance influences—traditional polka, Cuban habanera, candombe rhythms from Africa—that reflect the same melting-pot culture that shaped the country’s food and, thus, the restaurant’s menu. Authentic asado—or grilled beef—cooks over a mesquite charcoal fire to ensure that fillets, rib eyes, skirt steaks, and porterhouses retain their natural juices. Chefs also stuff ravioli with ricotta cheese and crown angel-hair pasta with Pacific prawns, an option that most guests prefer to gnawing on a halo. Diners pair their entrees with pours from an extensive wine list that includes options from Argentina as well as France, Chile, Portugal, Spain, and California.
Where to Sit: If you'd like privacy to propose to your partner—or to discuss a proposal with your business partner—request to be seated in one of the high-backed booths.
Rib-eye steak: a tender, flavorful cut of beef from the rib section that is prepared either bone-in or boneless.
Steak oscar: steak served with toppings of crabmeat, asparagus, and a creamy sauce—either hollandaise or béarnaise.
While You’re in the Neighborhood
For the art collector: Admire the work of local and national artists at Jeffery Moose Gallery (1333 Fifth Avenue).
For the theatergoer: ACT – A Contemporary Theatre (700 Union Street) houses five theaters in one building. Past performances have included Little Shop of Horrors and Arthur Miller's The Price.
For the fashionista: Butch Blum (1332 Sixth Avenue) currates high-end collections from European clothing and accessory designers.