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10 Steakhouse Chains That Serve the Best Appetizers

Before you cut into your main course, ignite your appetite with a savory starter at one of these popular chains.
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While the meat is always the main event when dining at a steakhouse, don't overlook appetizers and sides when ordering. For the indecisive, ordering a smaller steak and a couple of appetizers can make a meal more interesting, offering a chance to sample more than just one or two of the chef's creations.

When dining at a steakhouse you love, it's safe to assume the steaks will be solid, so why not branch out and see what other culinary tricks—beyond a good sear—the cooks in the kitchen have up their white sleeves?

Steakhouses often offer incredible cooked seafood appetizers you might not find anywhere else, flavorful bacon bites and rich, decadent dips for the whole table. Below, find our picks for the best starters at any steakhouse. Be sure to leave room for the main event though!

BLT Steak: Lobster Cobb Salad

BLT Steak Lobster Cobb Salad
BLT Steak/Facebook

What better way to prepare your stomach for a hearty steak than a steakhouse salad? This lobster cobb salad from BLT Steak goes the extra mile, and could be a light meal all by itself. For this hearty salad, romaine, iceberg, and watercress are topped with lobster, avocado, egg halves, bacon, and fried shallots, all tossed with a buttermilk dressing.

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Black Angus: Crispy Hot Honey Brussels Sprouts

Crispy Hot Honey Brussels Sprouts at Black Angus
Black Angus

Brussels sprouts have had a glow up since you were a kid, and chefs have been adding them to menus as creative sides and appetizers at restaurants across the country. Black Angus has a version that turns these miniature cabbages into crispy, sweet, and tangy bites. The sprouts are crisped in the oven, tossed with applewood smoked bacon and blue cheese, and then drizzled with hot honey for a decadent starter.

The Capital Grille: Cherrywood Smoked Bacon

Bacon at Capital Grille
Capital Grille/Facebook

Not many people can pass up bacon, and Capital Grille's appetizer, made with premium brand Nueske's cherrywood smoked bacon, is an indulgent delight. The bacon, served in thick, bite sized chunks, is tossed with a richly sweet Korean BBQ glaze and topped with pickled shallots to balance the sweetness.

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Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar: Crab Cakes

Fleming's Crab Cakes
Fleming's

Crab cakes are a steakhouse classic, and Fleming's take is one of the best. To kick off your meal, you'll get two crab cakes that are packed with crab. The delicious duo sits in a rich, creamy sauce made from roasted red peppers and lime butter.

LongHorn Steakhouse: Parmesan Crusted Spinach Dip

Longhorn Steakhouse Parmesan Crusted Spinach Dip
Longhorn Steakhouse

This creamy classic is such a beloved appetizer at LongHorn that copycat recipes have popped up on the internet. But, if you don't feel like cooking, order this starter at lunch or dinner, and indulge in the house made four cheese dip with spinach baked in and topped with even more cheese: Parmesan and garlic cheese create a crunchy top. Scoop it all up with fresh fried flatbread chips.

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Morton's the Steakhouse: Wagyu Meatballs

Morton's Steakhouse Wagyu Meatballs
Morton's Steakhouse/Facebook

Starting your meaty meal with meatballs might sound over-the-top, but you should never skip anything SRF on a menu. Why? Snake River Farms is one of the best beef purveyors in the world. Its beef is the result of cross breeding Japanese Wagyu cattle with continental breeds of cattle, which is prized because of its intense marbling. These rich meatballs are seasoned by the Morton's kitchen with a blend of spices and served with just the right amount of red sauce.

The Palm: Clam Platter

The Palm Clam Platter
The Palm/Facebook

What's not to love about broiled clams? They're perfectly mouth sized, with loads of butter and a nice bite of crustacean. With an Italian inflected menu, it's no surprise the Palm offers two takes on classic broiled clams on one platter: clams oreganata with breadcrumbs and seasoning, and clams casino, which adds bacon, peppers and onions.

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Saltgrass Steakhouse: Queso Fresco

Saltgrass Steakhouse Queso Fresco
Saltgrass Steakhouse/Facebook

Founded in the Lone Star State, Saltgrass Steakhouse leans heavily into Texas influences, especially with its ooey-gooey queso blanco appetizer. Served in a cute cast iron pan, queso blanco is melted and mixed with flavorful pico de gallo, cilantro, and green onions. Scoop it all up with crunchy tostada chips before getting to the main event.

Smith & Wollensky: Burrata

Smith & Wollensky Burrata
Smith & Wollensky/Facebook

Burrata, which is essentially a shell of mozzarella wrapped around a lush mixture of cheese curds and cream all formed into a supple ball, has seen a burst in popularity over the past decade. Get this starter at Smith & Wollensky, and you'll get your gooey cheese ball served with basil and cilantro pesto, tomato chutney, and crostini. You can add prosciutto for an extra kick of salty protein.

Texas Roadhouse: Rattlesnake Bites

Texas Roadhouse Rattlesnake Bites
Texas Roadhouse

Fried cheese is always satisfying, and this starter from Texas Roadhouse is an excellent example. For these kicky bites, jalapeño peppers are diced and mixed with jack cheese, which is then deep fried. Finally, they are served with a spicy Cajun sauce for dipping.

Tanya Edwards
Tanya Edwards is a seasoned food and health journalist, who has held roles at Yahoo Health as Managing Editor and at Food Network as Programming Director. Read more about Tanya