There's an old trope among food lovers that it's a waste to order anything but a New York strip or ribeye at a steakhouse. Chefs and gourmands will almost always steer diners to USDA Prime, Wagyu, and other fine cuts of meat. However, while sticking with what a restaurant does best is usually a good bet for a great meal, many steakhouses pride themselves on high quality ingredients and product for all of the meals they're creating in the kitchen, not just their steaks.
It's a point of pride at a quality steakhouse for many chefs to showcase creative dishes beyond the beef. "When dining at a steakhouse, obviously the vast majority of the clientele is gravitating towards prime steaks and sides, which is great and delicious, however there are a lot of benefits to ordering seafood at a high-end steak house," says Ryan Marcoux, executive chef at Boston's Grill 23 & Bar. "From a chef's perspective, you can showcase more creativity and seasonality with seafood items as opposed to an à la carte steak."
Whether you're avoiding red meat for health or personal reasons, or just feel like having a nice piece of fish, there are plenty of steakhouses that will serve diners a variety of seafood and shellfish options. Here's the part where we suggest that you enjoy the ambiance and hospitality of a steakhouse, even if you skip the beef!
Read on to discover the best seafood choices available at steakhouses around the U.S.
Although Mastro's is a smaller steakhouse chain with just under two dozen locations, it is critically acclaimed for its "masterful, high-end" experience, continually labeled as one of the "top 10 steakhouses in the world." It's also a celebrity favorite. The Mastro's restaurant group also operates a handful of seafood restaurants, and it shows in the extensive seafood selection at the steakhouses.
What's on the menu? Lobster cocktail, bigeye tuna tartare, and sautéed scallop appetizers, and exclusive sushi rolls developed by chef Angel Carbajal of Nick-San in Cabo San Lucas, including a crispy garlic tuna sashimi. Finally, the entrée menu offers a nice cross section of seafood, including twin lobster tails and herb roasted branzino.
This Italian-leaning steakhouse chain has locations in Virginia, Georgia, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Texas. While the main focus is well-seasoned, prime aged steaks, the chain's Italian leanings lend toward a wide range of seafood selections. While menus vary, start with one of the three raw bar towers, then select from either an à la carte seafood filet (think salmon, scallops, tuna, swordfish, dover sole) or one of the restaurant's Italian entrees with seafood like Chilean sea bass with saffron risotto, or rich squid ink gemelli topped lump crab.
Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse
If ever there was a universal favorite among steakhouses, it's Fogo de Chao. One of the most popular steakhouses in America, with annual sales upwards of $200 million, this Brazilian-influenced bastion of beef is beloved. But it's not just roasting meats, the churrasco-style steakhouse also offers a selection of light, classic seafood dishes with a Brazilian twist.
The chain's approach is rooted in the Brazilian gaucho tradition of nurturing and harvesting food with respect. As part of its well-curated salad bar, called the Market Table, Fogo de Chão offers smoked salmon with homemade basil sauce. The menu also features raw bar offerings like a seafood tower with split cold-water lobster tails, full lobster claws, jumbo shrimp, snow crab legs, green-lipped mussels, as well as entrées like Chilean sea bass and pan-seared salmon.
This Massachusetts-based steakhouse, with its primary location in Boston's Back Bay and a summer pop-up on Nantucket, always delivers incredible seafood. Why? Because chef Marcoux prioritizes it, saying, "I want the guest who ventures beyond steak to really be impressed with the quality and flavors of our seafood dishes at Grill 23."
The restaurants serve a spectacular seafood tower, and that's Marcoux's recommendation for a seafood splurge at any steakhouse that serves it. "I would always go with the shellfish tower. The shellfish tower fits the grandeur and luxury of the steakhouse ambiance, it's shareable and interactive between your guests and any high-end steakhouse is certainly going to showcase the best quality seafood available to them."
Delmonico's Italian Steakhouse
An Italian-inspired steakhouse restaurant that first opened in 1998 in Syracuse, N.Y., this chain now has locations across upstate New York and Florida. The restaurant's emphasis on high-quality, fresh ingredients extends to an extensive seafood menu, and the casual, clubby atmosphere is one the whole family can enjoy. Start your meal with a shared plate of kicked-up calamari or shrimp cocktail, then move on to Italian-inspired seafood dishes, such as shrimp scampi, frutti di mare and linguine with clams. Mangia!
Ruth's Chris Steakhouse
With over 130 locations around the U.S., it's not difficult to find the oddly, double-first-named restaurant (the result of a merger) that was originally founded in New Orleans in 1965. And, if you're in the market for great seafood to go with your steak, or stand as its own meal, this is one of the best major restaurant chains to try. The menu offers traditional and southern-inspired seafood, including seared ahi tuna or Louisiana-style barbecue shrimp, lobster bisque, crab cakes, garlic crusted sea bass, and the chef-selected seafood special every night.
With over 1,000 locations in 23 countries, Outback Steakhouse is one of the largest steakhouse chains in the world, making it an easy stop for most people to enjoy a steak in a casual atmosphere. The chain also has a nice selection of seafood, from indulgent fried menu items, to simple grilled preparations served with seasoned rice and a veggie side. While menus vary, the Toowoomba salmon, topped with seasoned shrimp and mushrooms in a creamy sauce, is a dish you can only get at Outback, and of course there's the famous Grilled Shrimp on the Barbie, featuring seasoned flame-grilled shrimp served with a rémoulade sauce. For lighter options, the chain offers steamed lobster tails and grilled salmon.