The Indispensable Steakhouses of Detroit
A new class of steakhouses has reinvigorated the city’s red-meat scene.
But in the Midwest, every town is a meat town at heart. And Detroit is no exception.
The city has its stalwarts—white tablecloth joints that serve up great pieces of beef with a side of tradition and history. But a handful of new steakhouses has reinvigorated the city’s red-meat scene. Throw in a standout from the suburbs, and Detroit diners have plenty of ways to scratch their protein-and-iron itch.
Here are the best of the best.
The London Chop House
Any list of great Detroit steakhouses has to start with this Downtown institution. Founded in 1938 and dubbed by some “Detroit’s 21 Club,” the London Chop House was once named one of the best restaurants in America by James Beard. After closing for two decades, it reopened in 2012 and resumed serving drool-inducing steaks to the city’s powerbrokers. If you’re looking for classic steakhouse cuts, styling and service, you won’t go home disappointed.
Two of the founders of this Midtown hot cut their teeth in Chicago’s culinary scene, and it shows. From the “Chicago style” oysters served with hot dog garnishes to the industrial-chic metal-and-brick décor, the place has a Windy City vibe. And the steak dishes—many of which are served with surprising and inspired sides—are also up to Chicago’s high standards.
This combination restaurant and butcher shop opened last year in the West Village to instant acclaim. While the dinner menu always features one or two traditional cuts, it also tempts you with more adventurous selections. Tongue and offal are frequently featured, along with apps and mains with some Singaporean flair.
Prime + Proper
Replacing white tablecloths with white marble is just one of the many Instagram-friendly upgrades on display at this high-end take on a classic steakhouse. But Prime + Proper has a lot more going for it than its looks. The service is consistently excellent, and so is the dry-aged beef. It isn’t cheap, but you get what you pay for.
Back in the early 1950s, the London Chop House was so packed that its owners opened up this sister to accommodate overflow. The Caucus Club soon became an institution in its own right. Like the London Chop House, the Caucus Club recently reopened after being shuttered for years. And like the LCH, the Caucus Club is a high-quality homage to the clubby steakhouses that ruled in the '50s and '60s—and that still delight today.
Celebrity chef Michael Symon opened this Downtown steakhouse more than a decade ago, and the interior feels a little dated. But focus your attention on your plate, and you won’t be disappointed. The steaks and chops are stellar, and the weeknight happy hour is one of the best (and most popular) deals in town.
Clawson Steak House
Venturing out into the ’burbs and to this throwback steakhouse is a trip—in more ways than one. Step inside, and you’ll feel like you’ve walked into some kind of 1980s hotel ballroom. But what the lacks in polish it makes up for in price and quality. As long as you know what you’re in for, it’s hard not to love this place.
Soon after it opened in 1982, this east-side favorite made a name for itself by selling steak priced by the ounce—an appealing quirk that continues today. Marketing tactics aside, Capers is a no-frills, priced-right choice for those looking for a juicy steak, a stiff drink, and a relaxed place to enjoy both.