March 31, 2010

Have you been to any of the 100 highest-grossing independent restaurants in the U.S.?

It looks like a good list of places to avoid, actually. I've been to exactly one: Cliff House (in San Francisco).

99 comments:

Hoosier Daddy said...

St. Elmos. Every 3 months we make our pilgrimage for the steak and shrimp cocktail.

Hoosier Daughter gets to go there in August for her 13th birthday.

DaveO said...

The Cliff House actually has two restaurants in it - Sutro's and The Bistro. They probably are taking both into account.

Beyond that, the other San Francisco places are actually worth going to - The Slanted Door, Scoma's and Boulevard.

DKWalser said...

You really should try Joe's Stone Crab when you're in Miami. Going to Joe's was the price my wife used to extract for attending a tax conference in Miami each January. It's expensive, but well worth it.

avwh said...

Yeah, I was surprised to see that such quality restaurants in SF do such volume.

I've been to 9 in total on the list.

Harris Ranch in Coalinga is a great stop on I-5 if you're doing the SF-LA trek.

pst314 said...

Bob Chinn's Crab House (Chicago area) is very good and reasonably priced. The only problem is having to wait for a table (so come before or after the rush.)

Eric said...

Yeah, I was surprised to see that such quality restaurants in SF do such volume.

There's a lot of money in SF, and the city is pretty small in terms of square footage.

Expat(ish) said...

Eight out of the first 25 or so.

Some of them are very good.

I'd pay my own money at Craftsteak - vegas not NY, but NY was good too.

Everyone should go to 21 and Delmonico once in their life.

And nobody should go to Auroele.

Yeah, I'm not slim, what's your point?

-XC

Michael Hasenstab said...

Let's see.

I've dined at Smith & Wollensky, in Chicago, though, not NYC. Excellent steaks, would eat there again.

Gibson's Bar and Steak House, Chicago. Damn good.

Shaw's Crab House, Chicago. Okay, but not spectacular.

Hugo's Frog Bar & Fish House, Chicago. Funky, fun, a bit touristy.

Harry Caray's Italian Steakhouse, Chicago. Fun. Good food. I've been back several times. I miss Harry.

Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare, Las Vegas. Haven't dined in the Vegas joint, but Bartolotta and his brother own four restaurants in the Milwaukee area. I've been to all four. Exceptional, worth the money and the awards. Althouse, you and Meade should try a couple of them.

Emeril's, Orlando. Not the Orlando place, but my wife and I went to NOLA the year before Katrina to try all Emeril's places and a few others in that lovely city. Incredible food and service; worth every penny. I'd happily return.

Lawry's The Prime Rib, Beverly Hills, Calif. Did the one in Chicago. Fairly good food. Very touristy.

Greek Islands Restaurant, Chicago. Eh, okay. Greek food prepared by Mexican cooks. Very touristy. I'd rather have a good gyro, a spanikopita or other Greek specialty at a small gyro shop. Better food, less pretense.

Harley Davidson Cafe, Las Vegas, Been to the HD Cafe in the new and glorious HD Museum in Milwaukee. The cafe is a tourist trap. $25 dollar burgers on buns with the HD logo. Bleah. HD subcontracted the cafe work to a huge food service corp that also does school lunch contracting. Get the picture?

Looks like I've got some catching up to do. Or not. Top grossing is usually =/= exceptionally good food.

ricpic said...

Smith & Wollensky's a terrific steakhouse.

Elliott A said...

I have been to Mon ami Gabi several times, each one excellent. The prices are very reasonable for Vegas, the service is also top notch.

Blue Fin in New York was also excellent. The wife and I Had an all inclusive lobster dinner for 49.50.

The Manor in West Orange, NJ (exit 145 of the Parkway then down Central Ave 2 miles) was the site of several memorable meals for the wife and I in our Jersey days. Sadly, they no longer do their lobster buffet, but everything there is first class. They also have beautiful grounds and do a lot of Weddings.

I've been to Scomas and the Cliff House, but too long ago to remember well.

If anyone here visits DC please try to go to Ray's, the Steaks on Wilson Blvd in Arlington. Near the Clarendon metro and about one mile from Georgetown. By far the best steakhouse for the money I have ever had the pleasure to eat in, and I have been to most of the major independent ones all over the country as well as hte chains such as Capital Grill, Morton's, Ruth's Chris.

traditionalguy said...

#2 Tavern on the Green is a favorite, but we heard that it closed last month after 110 years. This New World Order may not leave many high priced places open.

Jeff V said...

Boulevard in San Francisco is one of the city's best restaurants (in a city full of them), and I believe it's finalist this year for a James Beard Award. I haven't been to The Slanted Door, but my friends in the city have sung its praises.

Brian Day said...

I've actually made it to two: Cliff House and Harris Ranch.

Ditto on the Harris Ranch if you are driving between LA and the Bay Area. Of course if you are taking the coastal route (US 101) then the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo is the place to stop - at least once. There are other great restaurants in the area that I prefer.

Any thoughts on chain restaurants? Personally I like Morton's Steak House (mortons.com) but they are pricey. I had a $200 gift certificate there and for two people it was not enough. And that was with one cocktail and one glass of wine total. I could have easily doubled the tab by imbibing generously.

rhhardin said...

I've been to McDonald's drive-thru lanes.

"One burger, no roll, no anything, just the meat, it's for the dog."

Nine hours with nothing much else to scent.

Elliott A said...

@Brian

Rays will be about $80 for two people with a glass of wine and dessert and is clearly better than Morton's

David said...

Been to 11 of them--mostly the Chicago places, since I lived there for 11 years.

First one ever was Four Season in 1965. I was a teacher in NYC making $4800 a year. It was pre credit card, and someone else was paying (my wife's father.) Four people--a bill of $100. I was astonished. All that money (pretty much a month's rent) for a meal.

The very worst on the list is Hugo's Frog Bar, where the desperate go to meet the devious. I went. I was desperate and devious at the time.

tim maguire said...

Interesting that #2 Tavern on the Green is bankrupt. Have eaten at #6 Carmine's--they cater to tourists who won't be back regardless of food quality. And so the food is not quality.

I don't think I've eaten at any of the others.

The Drill SGT said...

Three for me.

Cliff House and Scoma's

Both in San Francisco, both on dates in college about 40 years ago


Old Ebbitt Grill for brunch last year in DC, entertaining out of town relatives.

Trooper York said...

Since the list is heavy in New York, Vegas and San Fran I have actually been in 36 of them.

Balthazar is pricey for what it is but very consistent.

Sparks is great as long as they are not whacking Paul Castallano outside so avoid during Christmas.

Del Posto is very nice.

Stripsteak is one of the best steakhouses in Vegas and I had a great meal there. The service was outstanding.

Juniors is overrated dreck and a total tourist trap. As is Carmines and Virgils. It's boob bait for the bubbas.

What they don't list are the great ethnic restaurants that are tiny but have unbelievable food. The best place you can find is where the chef wants to bring the food of his country to you. You are assured of getting a great meal.
Much to be preferred to the corporate type joints.

Trooper York said...

The list is seriously out of date as the Tavern on the Green has been closed for months now.

David said...

The NY Smith & Wollensky was great when it was in the early years. You could eat alone at the bar, get a great meal and have some conversation.

The original Mon Ami Gabi was in Chicago. I went there a lot with my then girlfriend, who lived across the street. We were "regulars." They took good care of us, the food was real bistro food and reasonably priced for what is was.

Scoma's is fun--stick to basics.

My wife says she learned how to sit at a bar at Gibson's. Whatever the art of that is, she perfected it. (Not that she spent much time there, but she can bar sit like a champ.)

Trooper York said...

One dining tip though for you foodies....and I know Dust Bunny Queen will back me up...if you ask to share a steak and a glass of wine...you will wish you were Paul Castellano and all they were going to do is whack you.

Just sayn'

The Drill SGT said...

If anyone here visits DC please try to go to Ray's, the Steaks on Wilson Blvd in Arlington.

I second or third for Ray's great food, maybe 10-15 tables. They aren't ever going to make the list, (too small) but a great steak.

Elliott A said...

@Drill Sgt-

Ray's moved down the street and now have a much larger venue, but the menu, prices, service and quality are the same.

Titus said...

I have been to most of them but then again I am totally fabulous so it is a requirement.

But now that I will be turning 40 this year I am going back to my roots and will be endorsing the Wisconsin Supper Clubs of my youth.

Thanks so much fellow republicans and lovers of the bush doctrine. Have a super special evening.

bagoh20 said...

Been to 6 or 8 of them. They were all good enough, but none were a bargain.

Best View: Top of the World, Las Vegas: About 1100ft rotating view, great at sunset. Good Lobster, expensive.

Most relaxed: Gladstones, Malibu: Outside/inside Not at all classy, right on the beach and best of all 30 min. bicycle ride along the pacific from my house. Just far enough to feel deserving of a high calorie meal and just far enough home to burn off the buzz.

Cheapest: Lawrys, Beverly Hills: It was free; I had a coupon and it was worth every penny. Good steak.

Titus said...

I am also looking forward to not being fabulous and going to Wisconsin Supper Clubs.

I may regret it but it is only going to be a year.

Than I will be deciding, with my musclehead Indian husband where to live.

Right now Norway is tops on our list.

Thanks so much fellow republicans and lovers of the bush doctrine as well as fellow teabaggers. Have a fabulous night.

Mark said...

I'm surprised that I haven't been to any of them. I do tend to avoid anything I've seen in a movie, but I've been to some great restaurants. For instance, how Peter Luger's isn't on the list is beyond me.

bagoh20 said...

Titus, It's the Bush/Obama doctrine now. We still don't know what it is exactly, but now it's fabulous!

Jeremy said...

Restaurants are cool, but why, as a law professor aren't you discussing this?

Federal Judge Rules Bush Program Illegally Wiretapped Americans

Titus said...

I am tired of being fabulous.

I have been fabulous for the last 20 years and it is exhausting. The parties, openings, events, etc become too much. I say no more.

I am over it.

I want to wear sweats, gain weight and eat fried food. I am also sick of shaving.

Is there anything wrong with that?

bagoh20 said...

Ann, I miss your old comment instructions.

Christy said...

Phillips in Baltimore was fine for family dining when it was Phillips in Ocean City. Many, many better places to get great seafood in Baltimore. Throw a dart.

Titus said...

I am ready to attend softball games this summer and cheer my sisters and niece on to victory.

I want to go to some small town 4th of July fireworks show rather than attend the horrid event in Boston.

I don't want to be in traffic all day.

I don't want to pay ridiculous mortgage and condo fees. My condo fees are now $750.00 a month, that is just wrong.

I want to hear silence rather than non stop alarms/traffic/road rage people and fights.

Granted, I may experience it and hate it but it is only 1 year.

Titus said...

I will totally miss all the brownies though and probably be disgusted with all the whiteys. Some of the brownies are sooooo hot.

It really is a balancing act.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Restaurants are cool, but why, as a law professor aren't you discussing this?

And you wonder why everyone thinks your a complete dickhead.

PatCA said...

Location, location, location.

Been to Gladstone's--bad beachy food but you're on Malibu Beach. Also been to Harris Ranch, halfway between LA and Sacramento on the 5. So when you get hungry and have to go the bathroom, your choices are...Harris Ranch.

Scott said...

I've eaten at Smith & Wollensky one time, and at Junior's in Brooklyn and Times Square a couple of times each. S&W does a great steak, but you pay a lot for it. Junior's is okay. Their cheesecake is good, but it ain't all that.

On the list, the only restaurant that I haven't been to that piqued my interest was Morimoto's -- and that's because I'm an Iron Chef fan.

Just finished reading Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. And I will NEVER eat fish on a Monday again!

Christy said...

I'm a little surprised that no New Orleans restaurants are on the list. Some are pretty large and have long mid-week lines. Or at least they once did.

ironrailsironweights said...

It's surprising that the Hilltop Steakhouse north of Boston is not on the list. From what I understand, it's enormous and always packed, so its gross revenues must be high.

Peter

andrew said...

This isn't a 'best' list, simply top grossing based on volume of 'independent' restaurants. Peter Lugar's doesn't have the tables or total meals served to come close to cracking this list.

Ilona said...

I don't know why you would avoid an independent restaurant.. maybe they mis-used the word.
Bob Chinn's in Wheeling, IL is AMAZING. The majority of seafood is still swimming in tanks in the basement when you order your dinner. And their garlic rolls were the first and best. Good Mai Tai's too. I would highly recommend a dinner visit. Try to be there by 5:30, as by 6:30 it is an hour wait..

Titus said...

I have been to The Hilltop in Saugus.

They have a bunch of fake cows outside the place.

It is totally North Boston. Which means there are tons of hot Italian guys there. Going there makes me totally horny.

I will miss all the hot italians when I leave Boston.

JAL said...

What's with the double asterisks?

I note that the average meal at Wolfgang Puck's is supposed to be $22.00** (??)

The question is asked because I just came through the Atlanta airport today and the Wolfgang Puck's yogurt with fruit was $7.99. For one.

I could swear I paid at least $2.00 less in Charlotte 2 weeks ago

Sure that's not supposed to be $122.00? Or was that a "Starter" by its ownsome?

AJ Lynch said...

St.Elmo's is the only one for me. Great steaks at a landlocked reataurant named after the patron saint of sailors. It was a business trip- I did not pay. And it was very very good place. Hoosier the shrimp and hot sauce was excellent!

I highly recommend it to anyone going to the Final Four this weekend.

Jeremy said...

daddy jack's

Scott said...

A plug for New Jersey diners -- many are one and two star restaurants with huge menus of favorites with freshly prepared specialties.

If you're visiting the Garden State and you're near one of these places, you really have to check them out:

Park West Diner, Rt. 46, Little falls

Tick Tock Diner, Rt. 3, Clifton

Menlo Park Diner, US Hwy 1, Edison

Great New Jersey diners are always busy. Some are a little pricey compared to Denny's or IHOP, but in terms of quality there is no comparison.

edutcher said...

Way too much for The Blonde and me. Probably too highbrow, as well. Closest we've come is Brennan's in pre-Katrina NOLA. The Blonde has been rhapsodizing about the steak she had ever since.

rhhardin said...

I've been to McDonald's drive-thru lanes.

You and me both.

traditionalguy said...

#2 Tavern on the Green is a favorite, but we heard that it closed last month after 110 years. This New World Order may not leave many high priced places open.

It has, so they'll need another place.

Jeremy said...

Restaurants are cool, but why, as a law professor aren't you discussing this?

Federal Judge Rules Bush Program Illegally Wiretapped Americans


Federal judges are overturned all the time. Wait until it hits one of the Circuit Courts. Then you're on the map.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KLDAVIS said...

Yes, Bob Chinn's is great. It's less than a mile from the Palwaukee (Chicago Executive) airport, and they post the air-freight bills of the daily seafood shipments so you know what's freshest. They have the best crab legs I've ever had.

Others on the list that I've been to:

Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse, Chicago
Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab, Chicago
Shaw's Crab House, Chicago
Greek Islands Restaurant, Chicago
Morimoto, New York City

I think this list is more interesting.

Joan said...

Tavern on the Green, and the Four Seasons, both in NYC -- and both at least 15 years ago. The meals at both places were delicious, even if my memories are a bit hazy now.

We tried to go to Michael Jordan's Steakhouse -- it's in one of the casinos in Connecticut -- one afternoon a couple of summers ago, but it was closed for some reason, perhaps a private party. I was surprised to see it on this list.

Joan said...

Hilltop in Saugus is always packed, but their prices are very low. I'm the youngest of a big family, and when we all went out to eat somewhere, that's where we went. Of my earliest memories, I can only remember going out to eat a handful of times, and I remember going to the Hilltop twice for special occasions (Nana's birthday). My dad ordered me a Shirley Temple. We had to wait forever for a table and we amused ourselves by looking at the plaster cows.

Boston and Cambridge have some really lovely restaurants -- but as it is a college town, they're not going to do high-ticket, high-volume the way you'll see in NYC, Vegas, and Chicago.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Almost Ali said...

A bit surprised to see Junior's (Brooklyn) relatively high on the list (#31) - known for their bakery, particularly the cheesecake. Otherwise, menu/food more diner style - so-so. Best for desserts, massive(!) portions.

Mrs. Violetta Pennythumper said...

The Bistro has really gone downhill. Everything from the genteel menu, to the girl selling handtowels and scented soaps in the powder room....no longer exists !!!

They don't even have the Green Goddess salad dressing anymore, oh and the dress code has really lapsed. The days when the mater'd would pull out your footstool, and a red rose for every lady.....long gone.

The last time I was there, a pack of yutes, in jeans and untucked shirts, shuffled in and caused quite a ruckus with their boisterous conduct. I watched them devour a delicate osso-bucco like they were at a trough. Animals !!!

Yutes, these days, don't know how to comport themselves with even a modicum of dignity or decorum.

Cheers.

Beta Conservative said...

I just googled the Grendel Case. Pretty interesting stuff for a non-lawyer. Thanks for the tip.

Irene said...

"Michael Jordan's Steakhouse in one of the casinos": Tiger bait?

Seriously, Michael Hasentab mentioned the Bartolotta restaurants. They are exquisite. Bartolotta founded Spiaggia in Chicago, and it remains one of the best places in the city (that opinion is the only I have in common with the Obamas). My husband and I went there the day we got our marriage license. It was a memorable meal, and it was memorable that we left the license on the window sill.

Betsy said...

58 comments, and no one has a good word for the Frankenmuth restaurants, where their high rankings are all the more impressive considering that they get their earnings at $20 per person rather than $50. Yeah, sure, they're the favorite of grandparents everywhere, but you can't get more unpretentious and midwestern than the family-style fried-chicken dinner.

Seven Machos said...

All the places in Chicago are exactly the kinds of places you'd send tourists or maybe go with a big group.

Gibson's and Hugo's (same restaurant, basically) are actually pretty good but the scene is cigar-chomping fat guys and women who are almost certainly escorts.

Jasmina T. Boulanger said...

I've been to 11 of the 100 ... some great, some not. I've described my views at

http://eastofparis.blogspot.com/2010/03/100-highest-grossing-independent.html

Jasmina

melo said...

Shaw's Crab House in Chicago. Not bad. Not great. Not nearly as tasty as a Chicago style hot dog.

Chase said...

HOLD ON - Not all of the restaurants on the list are "independents": many listed are corporate chains with multiple locations. This list simply gives sales for certain single units.

Lawry's is part of a chain - I've eaten in Beverly Hills numerous times for special family occasions, as well as the Vegas location for my wife's birthday. But until about 3 years ago, the best of the Lawry's chain was the Five Crowns in Corona Del Mar. Best atmosphere, best food. Sadly, about 3 years ago, it became apparent that they were cutting costs and lowering quality on the menu - I had lunch with a Long Beach Beach hotel executive chef and the Prime Rib was tough and obviously not graded choice. When we complained, we were reserved and yet again the meat was poor quality. We chose the tenderloin, and again, not up to par. My company had it's Christmas luncheons there for years, but, as the one who did the company scheduling, I moved us to the Hyatt Newport Beach - wonderful experience for the last 2 years! Note: If you ever stay there, their breakfast menu is fantastic.

Fred4Pres said...

Everyone should eat at Sparks once in their life...and for some the last time in their lives. Seriously a superb steak house.

There are some very good places on that list. Some are just tourist traps. But a few are outstanding for a reason. They are fantanstic places to eat.

MadisonMan said...

None of them.

But I've been to the Tornado room in Madison, and to Crandall's in the same space a long time ago. I even ate at the Cuba Club!

One month, my wife and I went to L'Etoile, Luther's and Chez Michel. Only L'Etoile is still around. I miss Chez Michel.

fivewheels said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
peter hoh said...

Zero for me.

Am I missing anything?

Fred4Pres said...

Tao is way overrated. Skip it. But the Oyster Bar in Grand Central? I love that place. Get a dozen virginicas at the bar with a beer. I would encourage everyone to try that place at least once. Yum Yum.

The Four Seasons is a very classy power restaurant and I dig the setting at the Seagram Building. The art is decent too.

And if in Seattle, Salty's in Alki? Nah. I would go to the Metropolitan on 3rd Avenue. A steakhouse that can hold its own with the best. And the Space Needle? No. Not ever.

If you are in Disneyworld the California Grill in the Contemporary Hotel is okay. The Disney executives all eat there. It is a waste to bring the kids to that one.

The Manor in West Orange. Ha! Been to a few weddings there. Not exactly a place I would go out of the way for to eat at, but I did have fun at those weddings.

No Nobu? Nobu is very good. They do have Morimoto though. While not on this list because he shuns the volume, I would strongly recommend Mario Battali restaurants (any of them) and also his dad's lunch place Salumi in Seattle,

Fred4Pres said...

One of the best seafood meals I ever had was at this restaurant. My wife and I got the chef samples with wine pairing. A little pricy, but man was it good. I still dream about it.

Fred4Pres said...

Best chop salad in Los Angeles. A classic fifties style steak house. I love this place.

Titus said...

I want patriotic republican tits on this blog and I want them now.

Give me Katherine Harris riding a horse or Sara Palin gutting a moose.

Now give to us now bitch.

T J Sawyer said...

Have been to three. Joe's Stone Crab is worth any price or inconvenience. Was last there two years ago. Arrived at 8:30 to a 90 minute wait. Blogged about it here.

Bruce Hayden said...

I still have very fond memories of the Cliff House some 20 years ago, back when I was married. My great aunt, who lived downtown from 1941 through 1945 and 1960 until her death shortly after that, recommended the place. We got there before it opened, and hung out for an hour or two until it did. We were the first ones in line that night, and managed to talk the staff into the corner table.

Just the view of the sun going down over the Pacific from that vantage point was worth the wait and all the hassle. The food was good, but it was the view and the ambiance that we remembered.

themightypuck said...

I remember what I think was the Slanted Door somewhere around 16th and Valencia back in the day. I never ate there but I cheer them on. My experience with food is that good restaurants are hard to find and once they are found they slowly devolve into ok restaurants. The last time I ate at Mortons is was pretty terrible for 200 bucks a person. That is the problem with most steak houses--a grill in your backyard and a decent butcher will kill your average steak place. At least the frou frou places mess around with the food enough so you can't imagine making a better version yourself.

themightypuck said...

Interesting question that cuts against standard economic theory. Why is it that restaurants are good until they get a reputation and start to suck after. Is it just rent seeking or is there something else behind the phenomenon?

Joan said...

Theo, I'd heard about Grendel's Den but never went, and don't know the details. I went to the little technical school down the river, so I'm not as well versed in Cantabrigian lore as I might have been otherwise. (I just read the wikipedia stub - I was still in school at the time the decision was handed down -- but I usually went out for ice cream rather than drinks, which explains how I missed it.)

I took my kids to Mr. Bartley's Burgers in the Square a few years ago. They loved it, but I was somewhat flustered when I realized my oldest was getting a big kick out of reading all the stuff on the walls, much of which was not appropriate for a 10-year-old.

Ben said...

I've been to most of the ones in Las Vegas, and most of them are not fantastic. Fix at the Bellagio is quite good, particularly the Kobe beef sliders. The various steakhouses are not bad, but Delmonico's is overrated. I'm surprised Picasso isn't on the list -- it's one of my favorite restaurants anywhere food-wise, but it seems so generically commercial.

Alex said...

Federal Judge Rules Bush Program Illegally Wiretapped Americans

I guess this means Bush should be immediately frog marched into Federal Court and then we can have a show trial where Holder wags his finger at Bush and sentences him to summary execution.

/Jeremy Wet Dream

John Stodder said...

It says a lot about Los Angeles that the top restaurant on this list from my area is Gladstone's, which has a long-term deal with LA County to occupy a very choice piece of beach property in Malibu for decades, serving people who will line up just to sit by the Pacific Ocean to drink awful, pail-sized margaritas and eat fish prepared with recipes from your high school cafeteria. Awful place, but the right kind of visitor I might take there, just because of the beach scenery.

Beldar said...

Not a single one from Texas, although a few that were named (e.g., Smith & Wollensky) do have branches here.

Either this list or Prof. Althouse's comment about it surely must have been inspired by Yogi Berra ("Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded.")

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Abdul Abulbul Amir said...

Bob Chinn's Crab House (Chicago area) is very good and reasonably priced. The only problem is having to wait for a table (so come before or after the rush.)

Second that. A seafood joint that has high volume is IMHO a big plus for freshness.

rdkraus said...

I got three.

The Four Seasons. That's a great place for a special occasion meal, or anytime if you've got $$$ to burn (paid $40 for a Cosmo and a Manhattan at the bar a couple of months ago). Had the best duck ever there. They carved it table side, and were putting the skin over to one side; my wife told the guy that if he left the area with "her" skin, he was a dead man.

The Lobster House in Cape May. This is great, but in a totally different way, ie. great to sit outside in the afternoon, order from the raw bar, beer of choice, life is good.

The Manor House - wedding factory. Once upon a time a place for dinner too.

rdkraus said...

I might actually have been to some of those places in CA and Chicago. So long ago now I can't remember.

rdkraus said...

Random thought. The Manor House still had a dress code.

Jackets for men. If you "forget" yours, or didn't have room to pack it, they'll be glad to lend you one.

Susan said...

Before I looked at the list I tried to guess if any restaurants I'd been to might make the list. Joe's Stone Crab was the only one I came up with, but was surprised that it was #3! Worth it.

Betsy, the only other I've been to is the Frankenmuth restaurant Zehnder's. I'll take Joe's.

I haven't been to any that are in my own Orlando backyard.

Issob Morocco said...

7% covered here.

SarcastiCarrie said...

I live in Chicago. I have taken out of town guests to many of them.
And I've also eaten at the Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth. There's not much else to do in Frankenmuth once you've purchsed all your Christmas ornaments. I recall eating something with a side of green beans and gravy...maybe meatloaf or pot roast or schnitzel or something.

paul a'barge said...

Nothing in Texas
Nothing in Austin

cool!

Anthony said...

I have been to at least 17 on the list and to affiliates of at least 4 others. I gre up in New York and as an adult have lived there, Washington and Chicago, which is where most of the places are located. Some I went to once for the sake of going there (Carmines, Daniel) others were ones my family enjoyed (Milleridge Inn for example). Quite a few I went on work related events (eg the 21 Club)

Kylos said...

Only been to Frankenmouth Bavarian Inn. I have to say, I wasn't highly impressed. I think it was the chicken-suited employee strolling from table to table, and the distinct impression of an overly touristy establishment. I don't get much thrill out of Bronner's, either.

kimsch said...

Man, I've been to five!

#11 Joe's Crab in Chicago
#15 Bob Chinn's Crab House, Wheeling, IL
#47 Shaw's Crab House, Chicago
(I guess I like crab)
#75 Emeril's Orlando
#84 Greek Islands, Chicago

LordSomber said...

As a kid I used to love the Lobster House in Cape May. Raw bar, a view right on the wharf, and they even had their own fish market.

Oberon said...

The stonecrab at Joe's in Miami is amazing. Gotta check it out if you're on southbeach...

Roger J. said...

Re Joes stone crab: Wally's bistro in Marsh Harbour, Abaco, Bahamas does an equally great job for half the price.

howzerdo said...

I've been to many of the ones in NYC. Considering it is a list of the highest-grossing restaurants, it's no surprise I found most to be too crowded and loud!

vnjagvet said...

I have eaten many times at Joe's for over 30 years. It hasn't gone down hill at all. It deserves every penny it grosses.

When I made week-long trips to NYC, Smith & Wollensky was within walking distance of my hotel, and I went alone quite often. They had a little table by the window on 49th street which they usually had open, and let me sit there. Usually singles in high volume restaurants get the bum's rush. Not at S&W. They made me feel right at home, and I became a regular.

The Oyster Bar at GCS has great New York atmosphere and even better oysters. Try the pan roast and beer for a great lunch on a budget.

Chops in Atlanta is excellent, and I was surprised it did such a high volume.

I went to a party at 21, and its food was much better than its reviews said it was.

I was at Harry Caray's, but just for drinks and barfood.

I ate at Lawry's 53 years ago, and as a 17 year old roast beef lover, I thought it was the best restaurant ever.

Tony & Cindy said...

If you haven't tried Zehnder's in Frankenmuth, MI, you've missed out.

The best chicken dinner. Ever.

TV