Boston Steakout: A Guide to Steakhouses in Boston

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Posted August 1, 2013 by Scott Kearnan in Downtown Boston
Chef Jay Murray

The summer is sizzling, and so are the steaks. Hit any suburban backyard barbecue or rooftop cookout in the city and you’ll find slabs of prime rib getting grilled to perfection—or as close to perfection as your buddy willing to man the grill all day can manage. But there are plenty of steakhouses in Boston where you can pull up a seat, hoist a knife, and let the experts take charge. Plus, two words: air conditioning.

Here is a look at some of the grade-A steakhouses downtown:

Bogie’s Place (21 Temple Place, 617-338-6333, bogiesplace.com)

Steakhouses sometimes have a reputation for being staid, traditional, buttoned-up, and, well, a little old and crotchety. Bogie’s Place is exactly the opposite. It’s the “restaurant-within-a-restaurant” at jm Curley, the downtown spot where Sam Monsour has become a deservedly lauded chef for a generation that knows even meat-and-potatoes types often like their food prepared with a sense of adventure and even humor. So besides the selection of steaks, from 8-ounce hanger steak marinated in IPA (!) to a 12-ounce NY strip dry aged 30 days, you’ll also find a menu section dubbed “Hook It Up.” It lists inventive off-steak accoutrement like foie gras butter and bone marrow. Bogie’s is a quiet 20-seat den tucked to the side of Curley’s raucous main restaurant, like a steakhouse speakeasy; the vibe alone is worth the bill.

Grill 23 (161 Berkeley Street, 617-542-2255, grill23.com)

Okay, I’ll admit it blurs the boundaries of what constitutes downtown, but since Grill 23 is just steps from Park Plaza (and only two blocks from the Theater District) and often tops lists of the best steakhouses in Boston, it’s hard to ignore. This year, 23 celebrates its 30th anniversary. As those of us who have finally crossed the threshold of our third decade can now attest, this only makes it better, if perhaps a bit more prone to complaining about “the kids these days.” The same can be said of the 100-Day-Aged Ribeye, a legendary cut that’s worth a splurge.

Mooo (15 Beacon Street, 617-670-2515, mooorestaurant.com)

You have to love a steakhouse found inside a swank city hotel (XV Beacon, up on the Hill) that manages to sneak in a little humor. I mean, that name—come on! But chef Jamie Mammano, the Columbus Hospitality Group toque behind high-end dining such as Mistral, obviously takes the food quite seriously. You’ll find cuts and sauces, including Mooo’s signature house-made steak sauce, to suit all tastes. And if you’re the type to go whole hog (er, cattle), Mooo offers a 6-ounce cut of Japanese grade A5 100 percent Wagyu beef, a gold standard sirloin.

The Palm (One International Place, 617-867-9292, thepalm.com)

If you need more evidence that downtown is continuing to grow its dining scene, look no further than The Palm’s recent decision to relocate from its longtime Back Bay location to new digs at One International Place, overlooking the Rose Kennedy Greenway. The new location, which opened in May, is much larger than the old one and boasts an impressive patio overlooking the park. But some things never change: housed inside a high-rise full of law and financial firms, it continues to attract high-rolling deal makers. Hence the Palm’s cool 3-course Power Lunch menu, with limited options that includes two four-ounce filet mignon medallions, served with bordelaise sauce or crabmeat oscar, that can be cooked quickly for fast fine dining.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House (45 School Street, 617-742-8401, ruthschris.com)

A steakhouse inside Old City Hall? We think our forefathers would approve. (Hopefully, they also would take off that embarrassing “Kiss the Cook” apron before our friends came over.) Though it doesn’t always have the same immediate name recognition as say, Morton’s, Ruth’s Chris is actually America’s largest luxury steak company. Exhibit A that bigger can sometimes be better. Exhibit B: the Porterhouse for Two, the largest of several signature steaks served on a 500-degree plate—to keep things sizzling, of course.

Smith & Wollensky (294 Congress Street, 617-778-2200, smithandwollensky.com)

If you’ve ever wandered from the Theater District to Bay Village, you’ve probably acknowledged Smith & Wollensky as “that castle building on the corner.” Actually, it was built in 1891 as the First Corps of Cadets headquarters, but close enough. But the boutique steakhouse chain is more focused on the future than the past: In 2011, it moved its corporate headquarters to Boston, and last summer it opened a second Hub location on Atlantic Wharf downtown. The new waterfront spot has a lighter, airy vibe compared to that “castle,” but it still offers spreads fit for a king. That includes plenty of spices, rubs, and other regal bells and whistles. Wollensky’s filet mignon can come Cajun seasoned, gorgonzola crusted, or rubbed with cocoa and coffee then served with chile butter. Rib-eyes? They’re available cajun marinated or spice rubbed. Every king needs his castle—and his options.

Umbria

The dining room at Umbria Prime. Photo credit: Nicole Russo.

Umbria Prime (295 Franklin Street, 617-338-1000, umbriaprime.com)

Want your steak with a side of nightlife? Look no further than Umbria, owned by Boston restaurateur Frank DePasquale. By day and evening, the Italian-tinged steakhouse specializes in serving 35-day aged prime beef to local carnivores. But come late night, you’ll find party animals stirring it up at Prime Nightclub upstairs, a young professional hangout that hosts weekend DJs spinning house, Euro, and Top 40. Yum.

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