This Is The Best Steakhouse In Every State
The steakhouse is one of America’s most enduring and versatile culinary creations. Steakhouses range from leather-and-mahogany upscale to sawdust-and-Budweiser downscale, but they all exist for the same reason: to satisfy our insatiable craving for a perfectly cooked piece of meat. And sure enough, from coast to coast, from Alaska to Hawaii, there’s no shortage of truly great steakhouses out there. We’ve tracked down the best steakhouses in every state and the District of Columbia.
The Best Steakhouse in Every State Gallery
We’re lucky enough to live in a country that has more varieties of steakhouses (and restaurants in general) than previous generations could have ever imagined. There are the cavernous Wild West establishments where everyone seems to be wearing a Stetson and a pair of Lucchese boots; the power-broker-with-an-expense-account clubhouses; the joints that serve steak at the bar but don’t quite fall into the bar-and-grill category; and the modernist steakhouses that turn all these conventions upside down. But whether they’re clad in red leather or plywood, décor is only one aspect of the overall steakhouse experience. When it comes down to it, it’s all about the steak. And from ripping-hot broilers to mesquite grills, these restaurants do it right.
In order to track down the best steakhouses in every state, we started by consulting our annual ranking of America’s 50 best steakhouses, which is compiled by judging more than 200 steakhouses on strict criteria. But that only took us so far; to fill out the map we then took a deep dive into each remaining state’s culinary scene, grading all the leading steakhouses by those same criteria: Is the meat sourced reputably and USDA Choice or Prime? Is it dry-aged, and if not, is it as high-quality as can be? Is it served at the proper doneness without fail and with a touch of ceremony? How are the side dishes and other supporting players? Is it revered by locals and out-of-towners alike? We also considered the overall steakhouse experience. Because the goal is to showcase homegrown favorites, we excluded chains with more than a handful of locations, like Capital Grille, Fleming’s, and LongHorn.
In the end, our listing doesn’t just showcase great steakhouses, it paints a picture of the American culinary landscape. In the states with America’s major culinary capitals, like New York, California, and Illinois, the top steakhouses are refined fine dining institutions, confident in their legendary status. But in states that aren’t nearly as renowned for their wealth of culinary options, the steakhouses are far more casual and scrappy, but still serve steaks that are in many ways just as satisfying as their big-city brethren. Click here to learn about the best steakhouse in every state and the District of Columbia.
The Simple Method You Can Use To Upgrade Your Crab Rangoon
When it comes to unexpected recipes, the TikTok to Instagram to home kitchen pipeline seems to grow ever more recurrent. There are likely thousands of madcap food experiments that never make it beyond the walls of the metaverse, but the ones that do tend to rack up millions of views and nearly as many testimonials from home cooks and celebrity chefs alike.
Baked tomato feta pasta, whipped Dalgona coffee, and four-topping tortilla wraps have shared the stage with more questionable concoctions such as watermelon and yellow mustard, pickles and Kool-aid, and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and ranch dressing mix. In 2021, TikTok even went so far as to launch a national network of virtual kitchens, per Bloomberg.
Many TikTok recipes are novel inventions, but others are spins on retro dining trends. Crab rangoon, a mainstay appetizer on Chinese American takeout menus, is a perfect example. As of this writing, the hashtag #crabrangoon has more than 400 million views on the app. We can’t say what caused this sudden surge in fanfare for the dish on social media, but we’re not complaining. If you’re trying to perfect your own crab rangoon at home, here’s a simple tip to level up the end result.
Bring your cream cheese to room temp
Not every crab rangoon is alike, but they all share the same basic components of crispy-crunchy fried or baked wontons piped with creamy crab filling. Food blogger Julie Tran Deily of The Little Kitchen took to Instagram to share her recipe, which she first published in 2009. She even cites the dish as the initial inspiration behind her food blog.
For Deily, the trick to a perfect batch of crab rangoon isn’t a secret ingredient, but rather, a preparation step. She suggests bringing your cream cheese — the binding agent of the simple filling — to room temperature. “The texture of the filling will be so creamy and so irresistible if you do that,” she says in her Instagram Reel.
Letting your cream cheese shed its chill will allow it to mix more easily with its fellow ingredients, which in Deily’s recipe include imitation crab meat, scallions, and salt and pepper. The smooth texture will also make it easier to wrap the wontons before frying, which Deily says should resemble “little ghosts.” Don’t forget the sweet and sour dipping sauce.
A Chinese-American invention
Crab rangoon is to China what chicken parmesan is to Italy. Both were invented by immigrants living in America, but you probably won’t find them served in the countries to which they’re linked. Like kung pao chicken, orange chicken, and beef and broccoli, crab rangoon is wound up in the long and complex history of Chinese-American cuisine. According to Atlas Obscura, opening a restaurant was “one of the few ways for a Chinese American to own a business” in the early 1900s, back when anti-Asian exclusionary laws made it extremely difficult for Chinese immigrants to live in the United States.
The outlet writes that Chinese restaurants nearly quadrupled between 1910 and 1920, making Chinese food the first Asian cuisine to capture the attention of Americans. But many such Americans weren’t keen on introducing traditional Chinese flavors to their repressed palates. On top of that, ingredients such as Szechuan peppercorns were a lot harder to find in the U.S. than in China. Enter: “Americanized” versions of Chinese dishes, including crab rangoon.
The New England newspaper Sampan cites a popular theory that crab rangoon finds its roots in the onset of tiki culture capitalized upon by Trader Vic’s founder Victor Bergeron. When tiki bars and Chinese restaurants were sharing the popularity stage in the 1940s and ’50s, they also shared some menu items. Urban legend has it that crab rangoon was one of them, which explains the slight differences between the dish’s Polynesian American and Chinese American versions.