If I had to pick one meal that I enjoy the most, it would be a good steak, medium-rare. The side dishes that go with that great steak are very important to complete the ultimate meal.
We have some very good restaurants here in New Jersey that serve wonderful steak. The problem is that you have to take out a second mortgage on your home to enjoy the meal. I realize the cost is exorbitant but I indulge in the finest of steak dinners every once in a while to celebrate a special event that justifies the expense.
I realize many might disagree with me, some may have other favorite places to go for steaks or maybe there is a place or two that I overlooked but that’s the beauty of sharing your favorites with others.
In absolutely no particular order here are my top 7 restaurants in New Jersey that serve up a great steak along with side dishes that make these locations a Big Joe destination.
Roots is a little bit of old school and it reminds me of Peter Lugers in Brooklyn. I enjoyed splitting their 42-ounce porterhouse steak with a couple of guys. The steak came out cooked a perfect medium-rare, sizzling and juicy. It was a great steak.
We also added some scallops to the meal, which were a nice addition. I like their creamed spinach and the potatoes au gratin. One of my friends ordered the onion rings and they were also very good. As I said earlier, dinner at these fine restaurants is not cheap. Our 42-ounce steak was over $110 and the wine cocktails and sides made this dinner expensive but well worth it.
The Butcher Block - Long Branch, New Jersey
I’ve been to the Butcher Block a few times. They have renovated the restaurant to accommodate the large number of patrons that crammed into the previous layout. They recently got a liquor license, which will be a welcome addition to the Monmouth County steakhouse.
I’ll be honest with you, the old layout was way too crowded, and people were on top of each other but the steaks were worth the discomfort.
They have a butcher shop where you walk in point out the cut of meat that you want and they’ll cook it to your liking. They do steaks from the farm to their butcher shop. They also have a delivery service that will mail steaks and other cuts of meat to your home or your cousin in Minneapolis. The sides are a little off the traditional fare but they were enjoyable.
Piccola Italia – Ocean Township, New Jersey
Piccola Italia is a destination place. It’s nestled in the back of a strip mall in Ocean Township. Trust me, find this restaurant.
They get their steaks from Allen Brother’s meats in Chicago. Some of the best steak houses in the country use Allen Brothers and I have ordered directly from them for steaks for my home. When the chef cooks the bone-in rib eye or the porterhouse or tomahawk steak, which is usually a special item, it is an outstanding steak.
You have your choice of the traditional side dishes that come with the meal or drift slightly off and pair it with one of their homemade pasta dishes. They have an incredible wine list and this remains one of my all-time favorite restaurants. I don’t say that often but I am being quite transparent.
Morton’s - Atlantic City, New Jersey
This iconic steakhouse chain was started in Chicago by restaurateur and entrepreneur Arnie Morton. I had the chance to talk with Arnie a couple of times when he was at the original Morton’s back in the 80s. He was such an interesting man and I enjoyed our conversation. The original Morton’s was in the bottom of an office building with limited room. They didn’t take reservations and the line to get a table was always long. I worked in Chicago and at that time there was only the original Morton’s.
Arnie Morton would expand to seven Morton’s restaurants, which he sold in 1987 for $13 million. I went often to enjoy a great steak, incredible sides and their famous soufflé’ to top off a wonderful meal. I’m thrilled that they franchised the restaurant, which has restaurants in most major cities throughout the U.S. and worldwide.
We are fortunate to have a Morton’s right here in Jersey in Atlantic City. There are a few changes from the original but the basics of a great steak dinner are all there from the colossal shrimp cocktail to the huge porterhouse cooked perfectly and a wine list and desserts that will make you want to go back. I’ve been down to their Atlantic City restaurant a few times and have enjoyed all that it has to offer. Morton’s is located in Casers.
The Library 2 - Voorhees, New Jersey
I know that this is a post about my favorite places to get steaks in New Jersey but I have to include the Library 2 in Voorhees. While their steaks are good, their prime rib is on my list as one of the best. It is a popular item on their menu and is served cooked exactly to my liking and not dried out. They sell so much of the prime rib that you‘re going to get a great cut. The Library 2 is an award-winning restaurant that has a great salad bar and I’m not a fan of salad bars. The sides are good but the prime rib is worth the trip from anywhere in the state.
Fleming’s Steakhouse – Marlton, New Jersey
I like Fleming’s for the classic steakhouse look and feel. Their steaks are very good and the selection of different cuts of steak is impressive. I’m a big fan of their bone-in rib eye served the way I like it. I like to start with their seafood tower; it’s fresh and a great way to start a wonderful meal. They have great sides including their Fleming’s potatoes, which are an au gratin recipe that is cheesy and good. You’ll enjoy the experience — I have!
Wolfgang’s Steakhouse – Somerville
I was very pleased when they opened Wolfgang’s in Somerville. I had been to the original Wolfgang’s in midtown Manhattan and enjoyed the experience.
Wolfgang has a great story, after many years as a head waiter at the iconic steakhouse Peter Luger’s in Brooklyn, Wolfgang tweaked what he wanted to improve and he nailed
it. The steaks are outstanding; the sides are spot-on, including Wolfgang’s German potatoes. If you can make it to Wolfgang’s it’s a trip well worth it.
These are my top seven favorite steakhouses here in New Jersey. They are restaurants that I go to for special occasions. They are expensive, every one of them, but if you’ve saved for a special occasion to share with that special someone, I highly recommend any one of these destinations.
I want to make it very clear that I have not received any compensation for listing the above restaurants; they are based clearly on my opinion and experience.
Go out and enjoy a good steak and if you’re fortunate to try any of the above drop me a line about your experience.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.