Nothing beats a good steak and some outstanding sides. It is by far my favorite meal but that doesn’t mean I order it every time I go out unless I head to one of my favorite steak houses.

With the outstanding restaurants that we have here in the Garden State that serve a wonderful steak, I like to rotate my steak dinners at these 8 great restaurants.

In an effort of transparency my trips to these steak houses are not as frequent as I prefer because the cost of a good steak house dinner can run very high, especially if you want to do the “full” experience. Many of my friends save this experience for a special occasion.

The following are my choices for the best steaks in New Jersey. I realize there are many who 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 8 restaurants in New Jersey that serve up a great steak along with side dishes that make these locations a Big Joe destination.

Roots Steakhouse – Summit, New Jersey

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 that 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 are 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 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 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 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 80’s, 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 eight Morton’s restaurants which he sold in 1988 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 US 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 is 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 even 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 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 really 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.

Rare The Steak House – Little Falls, New Jersey

Their motto is “It’s all about the meat experience” and they are correct. They cook a perfect steak that is seasoned and cooked exactly the way I like it. They have the standard steak house apps and sides and I’m a big fan of their whipped potatoes with crème fraiche. The apps are very good and the iceberg with house roquefort dressing is worth the try. Rare has a good wine list and I like their choices of wine by the glass especially if you don’t want to make a commitment to a full bottle. They have pasta dishes on the menu and I must admit I haven’t tried them so I can’t really comment but I assume they are as good as the rest of the choices that I have enjoyed there. Rare was voted by a survey as the best steakhouse in New Jersey. I can see why they received that honor because it’s certainly one of mine.

These are my top eight favorite steakhouses here in New Jersey. 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.

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