Charlie’s Steakhouse

For my birthday dinner, my folks came into town and we went to Charlie’s Steakhouse. Located on Dryades in Uptown, it is only open for dinner, Tuesday through Saturday. This is an old school steakhouse with no menus because there not much else on the menu but steak and sides. Exactly what I was looking for in a birthday dinner.

We started with onion rings. Thinly cut and deep fried, they were quite delicious. We all ate more than we should have based on how big the steaks were going to be.

Dad had half a wedge salad with bleu cheese dressing. He used some of the left over onion rings as a crouton.

We all went for 14 ounce ribeyes. Simply prepared with just salt and pepper, they came to the table still sizzling. All were cooked perfectly to order (from blue to rare to medium rare to medium) and were very succulent.

The sides were choose potatoes au gratin and sauteed button mushrooms. The potatoes were a little over salted but quite good with hunks of potato and lots and lots of cheddar cheese. They paired well with the lightly salted steak. The mushrooms and onions went very well with the steaks with their buttery flavor.

As it was my birthday, they brought out spumoni, a very rich ice cream. And, yes, I did share.

We finished every last  bite of dessert (although, we each had some steak left over for sandwiches the next day – and the day after that).

The atmosphere is relaxed and casual. The server was polite and very attentive. Everyone we came in contact with was friendly and personable. We even got a history lesson from the manager/owner about the original family, the restaurants they opened and were related to– so basically a success story of immigration to America. Oh, and a couple fun ones about bootlegging during Prohibition.

I would definitely recommend Charlie’s steaks. I know I’m not going to wait for another major milestone to go back again.

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La Boca

My parents are in town for my birthday weekend and we went out to La Boca for steaks to celebrate. I’m so glad we did!

I started with a pisco sour – more Peruvian than Argentinian but, close enough! It was very good, nice and limey.

Dad went for the 14 ounce New York Strip. It was cooked to medium rare and he ate more of it than he expected, it was so tender.

Mom and I splurged on the 24 ounce cowboy cut Ribeye Steak – it was ordered rare and came out nearly blue. One of the few times I haven’t had rare steak come out more medium than rare. So nice and tender, there was no talking, only moans as we chewed.

As you can see, we only had a little left on the bone at the end. Just perfect to take home in a doggy bag. Not that my dog got to gnaw on it until I had done so!

Accompanying the meat were some super good mashed potatoes. Creamy and buttery, it was some of the best I’ve eaten that I didn’t make myself.

As it was my birthday, the waiter brought me a piece of flourless chocolate cake. So very dark and delicious.

We also shared some dulce de leche ice cream. Decadently smooth and rich. I could see myself stopping by the restaurant just for the ice cream.

This is the top rated Zagat steakhouse in New Orleans and it shows. The cuts of meat were cooked perfectly and the portions sizes were immense. The waiter was very knowledgeable about the wine list and helped us find perfect pairings with some glasses of Malbec. I highly recomend La Boca.

Crescent City Steaks

I had wanted to try another New Orleans steakhouse for my birthday and finally found the time to visit Crescent City Ste81st anniversaryak House almost two months after my actual birthday with two good friends, Charlotte and Thomas.

Talk about stepping back in time. From the subway tile on the floor to drinks that were almost entirely too strong, this place is a hold over from an earlier era. Luckily the bartender was fine with adding more ginger ale to my pisco based cocktail. They even have a few private, curtained booths for romance or confidential discussions (the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court is just down the street).

We, of course, all ordered steaks. I had the ribeye that was a bit more gristly than I expected for the $28 price tag but it came out sizzling with butter and was very lightly seasoned so the taste of the dry aged meat shown through.

Both Thomas and Charlotte had the filet and thought it cooked to perfection. The sides come a la carte and we ordered potatoes au gratin and shoestring and they had the spinach au gratin. Lots of gooey, cheesey, starchy goodness.

table of steaks

For desserts, we tried them all – bread pudding, creole cream cheese cheesecake and the Z pie. The bread pudding had a hint of peach in the sauce and a heavy hand with the all spice. We all expected a little more tang from the creole cream cheese but the cheesecake was still pretty good on its own. The ice cream Z pie with the oreo crust was my favorite, though. I mean, how can you go wrong with a dessert that has both caramel and chocolate sauces on it?

table of desserts

The wait staff is old school and most of them have been there for a decade or longer and know the menu backwards and forwards. They are quick with refills and know when to swing by to check in and when to let the conversation go on with interrupting to remove empty plates.

This is not a high end steak house (although the prices show how proud they are of their food) but a friendly place where the owner swings by to chat and to even lead the singing of happy birthday to patrons. I enjoyed my meal and would recommend it for the meat lovers out there.

Thanks so much for the lovely meal, Thomas and Charlotte. I just love celebrating my birthday with y’all!

Max Lager’s Wood-Fired Grill & Brewery

The conference participants went out to dinner tonight at Max Lager’s Wood Fired Grill and Brewery on Peachtree Street. It is in a cool old building and within walking distance of the hotel.

I was looking for meat, so I went for the Cowboy steak – a bone-in ribeye, grilled with Max Beer, balsamic butter, whipped potatoes, grilled asparagus. Beautifully marbled and nicely seasoned, it was a little more medium than the medium rare I wanted but still, it was a terrific steak.

steak

The service was a little uneven as there were three servers dealing with our large party and we’d be asked several times for the same thing but they got all the orders right and delivered correctly.

The Ranch – Hayward



Hayward is not on anyone’s list as the place for haute cuisine but they can rustle up some darn good grub.

The Ranch is on Mission Street and serves absolutely excellent steaks. I had the Rib Eye and my dining companions had the NY Steak. Mine came out perfectly medium rare and melted like butter in the mouth. Unfortunately, the corn they served with it came straight out of the can and the center of the baked potato wasn’t cooked. We also ordered the fried zuchini appetizer and the spears were large and pretty darn tasty. As I was mainly focused on the meat, I’m willing to overlook the veggie issues.

When we were there, the parking lot was full as it was the Oakland Raiders first preseason game. The bar was packed with rednecks and Raider’s fans who got a little noisy. The dining room wasn’t too full, though, and we got our food very quickly from the attentive servers.

Second Birthday at Mr. John’s

I so enjoyed my first visit to Mr. John’s Steak House that when a friend asked me where she and her husband could take me to dinner, I told them I wanted to go back for another meal. Being used to spoiling me on my birthday, they agreed.



This visit was just as good. The cocktails we started with (sidecar and sazerac) were perfectly blended. My friends enjoyed some French Onion Soup which was rich and hearty and no-one choked on the cheese (my paternal grandmother was forever warning anyone who ordered such a soup as to the dire consequences awaiting you). I had the ribeye again and they went for the filet mignon and the petite filet. The filet was just a little dry for my taste but that could have been because the marbling on my piece of meat made mine extra juicey! The sides of potato au gratin were super hot but filled with creamy, cheesey goodness. I only had a bite of the spinach au gratin to reaffirm how much I hate cooked spinach.

As they had told them when making the reservation that it was my birthday, we enjoyed another complimentary bread pudding with our tawny cinnamon port. Not a bad ending to any meal.

I’ve also got to give kudos for the service–the waitstaff is attentive without being obtrusive, water and iced tea is filled before the level drops below the half way line, all the plates are delivered to the table at the same time. We got there at 7:30 and were the second to last table to clear at 10pm and they never made us feel rushed or that we should take our conversation elsewhere.

Mr. John’s Steakhouse

OMG! Seriously, oh my God! The steaks at Mr. John’s Steakhouse are absolutely incredible. We all got ribeyes and they were cooked to perfections–I got mine medium rare, Dad rare and Mom blue and you could totally see the difference. Flavored with just a touch of salt and pepper, the meat stood on its own in a sizzling, lightly buttered plate. Exquisite! The potato sides (twice baked and au gratin) were delicious. Very creamy, with a broiled bit of cheese on top. The Cabernet that I got with the meal matched perfectly the fine cut of meat.

As it was my birthday (ratted out by my Dad), they gave a complimentary bread pudding. I’m not a fan of raisins in mine but the pudding was very good and the rum sauce nice and hard.

Very much a place to take my next celebratory meal.