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8 Steakhouse Chains That Serve the Best Prime Beef

Discerning diners are getting savvy to the splendors of well-marbled beef and the spots that serve it.
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Not to burst your steakhouse bubble, but you shouldn't expect an elite steak experience at chains specializing in Bloomin' Onions. Steakhouses, after all, run the gamut in terms of quality, atmosphere, price, and overall experience. There's undoubtedly a niche out there for every type, and it's important to note the differences between prime beef and, well, less-prime beef.

Steaks come in a variety of different grades. Much of that grading system hinges on inter-muscular fat—aka the white striations permeating the meat. Even though fattier cuts may not be the most nutritious, they earn higher marks for flavor. There are three different gradients: USDA Select, USDA Choice, and USDA Prime. USDA Select is the leanest. USDA Choice is the middle ground. USDA Prime has the most marbling and is considered the highest quality, beloved by butchers and chefs.

Commonly, steakhouse chains such as Texas Roadhouse and Outback Steakhouse serve USDA Choice, which makes sense considering those chains' something-for-everyone environments. However, discerning diners are getting savvy to the splendors of well-marbled beef. Nowadays, home cooks can order Prime beef through the mail or find superlative cuts at Target. For a meal out, head to a higher-end steakhouse where USDA Prime beef is the norm.

Ruth's Chris Steak House

ruth's chris t-bone steak
Ruth's Chris Steak House / Facebook

Newly minted as America's favorite restaurant chain, Ruth's Chris Steak House earned its reputation the good old-fashioned way by talking the talk and walking the walk. This means assembling a top-notch menu that doesn't skimp on quality and serving Prime steaks that need no seasoning beyond salt and pepper. That's thanks to the inherent marbling that comes with Prime beef, here served sizzling on 500-degree Fahrenheit plates like an extravagant fajita.

Particularly renowned for its chef-approved T-bone, Ruth's Chris carefully sources its beef and upholds high standards. That means working with purveyors who raise cows on grass-fed diets before finishing with corn. In addition to that T-bone, the menu features New York strips, porterhouses, and 40-ounce tomahawk ribeyes.

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Smith & Wollensky

smith and wollensky filet
Smith & Wollensky / Facebook

An iconic steakhouse worthy of a beefy bucket list, Smith & Wollensky ranks among the very best. The brand's reputation for quality is well-earned, considering the extra mileage it puts into ensuring its steaks are the cream of the cattle crop. At locations including Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, and Miami Beach, you'll find an array of USDA Prime classic steakhouse cuts on the menu, ranging from a boneless New York strip to a dry-aged bone-in ribeye.

Smith & Wollensky is the rare breed partnered with ranches to calcify its commitment to sustainability, consistency, and, of course, well-marbled quality. By working directly with farms, the chain has a more hands-on approach to sourcing. It can also focus its efforts on animal wellness and social responsibility. Thankfully, social responsibility tastes delicious, especially after aging on-site for upwards of a month to develop that natural flavor and texture.


stk holiday meals

Among the fastest-growing steakhouse chains in the country, STK is worth a visit. Don't let the brand's famously clubby ambiance fool you. STK is a steakhouse where you can have your cake and eat it too—or, in this case, eat Prime beef while DJs spin bangers. The chain is so proud of its steaks that it launched an online Meat Market where customers can get marbled cuts shipped to their door (DJ not included). The beef hails from the Midwest, and most are USDA Prime that are wet-aged for a minimum of 30 days. Also unique to STK is that customers can select their desired cuts—e.g., filets, ribeye, porterhouse—in various sizes from small to large.

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Morton's The Steakhouse

Bone-in strip steak at Morton's
Courtesy of Morton's The Steakhouse

A place known for its meat and potatoes, Morton's The Steakhouse is bold enough to declare itself as having "the best steak anywhere" on its website. The highest designation of beef is the steak of choice here, and it's custom-cut to Morton's specs and aged upwards of a month. Of the numerous primo steaks to select from, cuts include Prime bone-in ribeye, Cajun ribeye, New York strip, and two sizes of filet mignon, with optional enhancements like sesame ginger butter, Béarnaise sauce, black truffle butter, and Cognac sauce au poivre.

Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse

del frisco's tomahawk for two
Courtesy of Del Frisco's

The wine list gets a lot of attention at Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse, as it should, with more than 2,000 selections on the menu. But the beef receives the same level of dedication and care. Billing itself a "classic American steakhouse," the chain seamlessly straddles the line between old-school and contemporary, with the crux of the menu focusing on USDA Prime beef. Even the meatballs are made with coveted Wagyu, so you know the steak choices are going to be good. They run the gamut from Prime tomahawks and porterhouses to bone-in Prime strip and ribeye.

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The Capital Grille

The Capital Grille / Facebook

The ritzy and well-traveled motif at the Capital Grille rightfully portends a dinner menu filled with Prime cuts. Here, African mahogany paneling and art deco chandeliers set the tone for an upscale evening where the beef gets the same level of detail as the decor. While not all of its steaks are Prime cuts, the chain nonetheless earns points for its diligent dry-aging regimen (on-premises for 18 to 24 days) and the use of in-house butchers. Plus, the Capital Grille offers Steak Grille Boxes for home cooks looking to beef up their cookouts, which include Prime options.

Fogo de Chão

Fogo de chao wagyu ny strip
Courtesy Fogo de Chao

A steakhouse chain where chefs eat, Fogo de Chão is a rapidly expanding brand with mass appeal. And rightfully so, considering its commitment to quality, no matter how widespread the brand gets. The Brazilian-style steakhouse starts by pouring considerable efforts into sustainability and animal welfare, aligning with purveyors who uphold those standards. This means that all beef at Fogo de Chao is responsibly sourced and aged for 21 days, and you can taste the difference. Feel good about endless portions of Prime filet mignon, ribeye, and picanha, the chain's signature cut.

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Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab

joe's seafood, prime Steak & stone crab steak
Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab / Facebook

Surf may be front-and-center at Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab, but don't skip the turf. Ingredient quality is of the utmost importance at this swanky mini-chain. After all, sandwiched between seafood in the title is Prime Steak, a nod to the company's commitment to forging relationships with farms and purveyors.

"They are the ones we rely on when it comes to consistently sourcing the highest quality beef and butchering it to our specifications," chef-partner Justin Diglia says of the company's suppliers. "When the meat arrives at the restaurant, we have a highly trained receiver that weighs and inspects every steak to ensure it's up to Joe's standards."

All that Prime beef, free-range and corn-finished, is sourced from Midwestern farms, and the menu boasts abundant cuts, from petite filet mignon and New York strip to an elite assortment of bone-in Signature Prime Steaks, such as the meltingly tender and unabashedly marbled bone-in ribeye.

Matt Kirouac
Matt Kirouac is a travel and food writer and culinary school graduate, with a passion for national parks, all things Disney, and road trip restaurants. Read more about Matt