If a major Midwestern city doesn't have a good steak joint, it's time to call in the Department of Agriculture for a full-scale investigation. There are about 40 steak houses listed in the St. Louis Yellow Pages, give or take a few. But there are only a handful of really good, genuine ones. Most serve top-notch beef, and all charge top dollar. Where you go when that primal urge for steak hits depends on what type of atmosphere you want. You can go for the '40s-red-leather-booths setting, the sports theme, the jackets-only place or the casual smokehouse feel. When all is said and done, we prefer the turn-of the-century ambiance of owner Frank Kane's restaurant, located in an old home nestled on a tree-lined street off of Kirkwood Road. Appetizers like chilled shrimp cocktail and sautéed mushrooms are from simpler times. Desserts are hearty excursions into gluttony. But you've come for the steaks, which are hand-cut to generous proportions and seared to perfection. The rib-eye, about an inch and a half thick, is full of well-marbled flavor. Order one anything past medium-rare, and you should be forced to dine at Ponderosa for the rest of your meat-eating days.