Best Steak House - 2009
The Charcoal House
Each passing year brings more steak houses hell-bent on outdoing the competition, whether it's by offering sweeping city views, sparkling new digs or star power in its very name. But the Charcoal House is old. There's old Saabs and BMWs (probably bought with old money) in the lot, driven by old patrons whose old asses are parked in the Charcoal House's single room. The brick space is decked out with mirrors, stained glass and divided by spindles. The waitstaff wear white collared shirts beneath black vests; if you sit at the bar, the bartender almost immediately asks whether you need an ashtray. The black-and-gold menus, too, seem like relics from the past: A few sirloin strips, filets and straightforward chicken and seafood entrées is pretty much all she wrote, and yet it's enough to draw crowds from the nearby country clubs, as well as the occasional local celeb. Owner George Angelos is from Kalamata, Greece, and he's been at the helm for 30 years. Though the dismal economy has slowed business down quite a bit, he seems happy as ever. "I want to be here. I love it here," he says. Charcoal House sells the steak, not the sizzle — precisely as it should.