As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, rating and comparing steakhouses is a Fool’s Errand. These high end restaurants are more akin to pieces of art where the artistic beauty, craftsmanship, and experience is in the eye of the individual experiencing the restaurant. So, it makes more sense to describe the experience than to attempt to measure it in any conventional manner. Meals are pieces of art, and should not be judged otherwise.
Why Steak 44?
My father was traveling on Father’s Day this year, but we had planned to celebrate when he returned later that week. I asked him where he would like to have dinner, and he said Steak 44 Phoenix because he had heard many people rave about it (including me!). Full disclosure, I had visited three times prior. (I generally only review a restaurant if I have visited it three times, unless I am traveling) And I never need a reason to return to Steak 44. I am hooked.
I love the entry of Steak 44. If you’re familiar with this area of Phoenix, you’ll notice that this building has been re-purposed and renovated, and it’s one of my favorite characteristics of the restaurant. Many steakhouses feel sterile, which is tough to “design” out when you have a new building. But Steak 44 really benefits from residing in a building with considerable character, which the owners of Steak 44 augmented with their overhaul and re-design of the old building.
The entry includes rich and deep wooden walls with elegant wine storage and a wonderfully artistic wall of butcher knives, which illustrate the attention to detail and the long and layered history of the butchery trade – an homage to a past that set the stage for the present steakhouses. To your left, there is a roomy and tastefully designed lounge and additional dining area. The main restaurant is connected by a long and dignified hallway with a stunning stone archway – which I absolutely love. You really feel like you’re in an Italian grotto, and it also frames your view of the kitchen at the end of the hallway and the view of the kitchen, which is punctuated by a view of the chilled seafood. Super cool.
The Dining Experience
We were extremely fortunate to be seated at one of the tables in the restaurant, which had a view through glass of the kitchen. I’ve dined at many restaurants around the world, and this is one of the most unique and enjoyable tables I’ve ever experienced. You have a full view of the kitchen, seeing the cooks move and prepare the food. It is unbelievably cool, and very private. Really, hard to top this experience.
Our server Ryan was superb – timely, courteous, helpful, respectful of our time, and a great sense of humor. Serving at a high end restaurant is not easy. The menu is extensive, the guests have high expectations, and it can get very busy and hectic. So, hats off to Ryan, excellent work. Thanks very much.
The menu at Steak 44 is very impressive – a large and varied selection of salads, pasta, sides, etc. But the Raw Bar, Seafood, and Steak selection is exceedingly impressive. Click here to view the menu. It’s very difficult to choose items, and we relied on Ryan to guide us around the menu.
We both chose to start with Caesar Salads, which were simply phenomenal. Topped with a Poached Egg, the dressing was flavorful, the lettuce was cold and crunchy, and the combination was virtuoso. Mmm-mm!
We each ordered steaks. I’m sure many of the non-steak menu items are phenomenal, but come on, what are we talking about? It’s Steak 44! I’m getting steak! Especially since all of the Steak 44 steaks are “wet aged” and cut in-house. Again, you are welcome to order what you’d like, but I’m ordering steak. You’re welcome.
My dad ordered the Bone-In NY Strip, and I ordered the Steak Farina – a Bone-In Filet topped with a Fried Egg. Yes, that’s right, and you need to order it immediately. Now, my father absolutely adored his steak, but I have to tell you that this was the third time that I’d ordered the Steak Farina, and it’s consistently one of the best pieces of steak I have ordered – anywhere. It is sublime. We also added some Sauteed Mushrooms, which I consider a mandatory accompanying dish to steaks. My dad’s steak is on the left, and mine are in the two images on the right.
As you can see, all is very well with this meal; which is really one of the best meals I’ve ever had. And my dad is unbelievably impressed, and loving every minute of it. My favorite memory from this meal is my dad saying that he couldn’t remember a better meal, which is saying something because he’s been all over the world.
I also need to thank Frank Schneider – the General Manager of Steak 44. He stopped by the table and made certain that we had everything we needed. Also, Frank insisted that we enjoy an off-menu dessert. Of course we were all in! A few minutes later, a member of the Kitchen staff delivered what can only be described as one of the most over-the-top, ostentatious, and exquisite dessert ever served. I never heard a name for it, but I would call it the “Beignet Tree.” It’s amazing, and I’ve never seen anything like it. Wow, superlative.
My fourth experience at Steak 44 was probably the most enriching, enjoyable and memorable because I was able to enjoy it with my dad.
To me, this is why we dine at restaurants. Places like Steak 44 allow us to connect with friends and family on a level that is the most enjoyable and memorable; and probably the number one reason I love to dine out. Do yourself a favor – take one or more people that you love to Steak 44, sit back, and allow the evening to flow over you like a warm bath – eat, drink, laugh, take pictures, and make memories. Your life will be better for it.
Here are the details on Steak 44:
Northeast Corner of 44th Street and Camelback, Phoenix, Arizona