There are, although some will refuse to believe, some pretty darn good steakhouses in Atlanta.
Rathbun’s Steakhouse: Atlanta, GA, USA
This year is probably the first year that I have actually started going to these steakhouses despite having lived here for over twenty years. Twenty years! Part of the reason is that my family never really truly ate a lot of meat, at least not in large hunks. Sadly to say, that is what a steak is. A honking large (unless you get a 6oz) slab of beef that is seared to juicy goodness on the inside with the slight burnt flavor on the outside. YUM.
I’ve been told by many a friend that Rathbun’s Steakhouse is considered to be one of the, if not the best, steakhouse in Atlanta. Recommendations were made for me to try their Aged Cowboy Bone-In Ribeye (22oz). It was by luck that a friend of mine chose this restaurant to celebrate her birthday. The prices are pretty hefty on the wallet, but I guarantee that it is worth the cha-ching you will put on your credit card for this restaurant. Initially, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to go all out for the cowboy ribeye (~$50), because there were all sorts of condiments that you could add for your steak. My eye was falling on the seared foie gras (seared fattened goose liver). I know that some of you may be grossed out, but it is truly an amazing thing to eat with each bite of your steak. In the end, I ended up splitting the porterhouse with my friend and going for the Aged Steak for Two: one half is a NY Strip and the other is a fillet mignon. I wasn’t too sure about this as I do like my steak a bit more “flavorful” and therefore will go for a rib-eye since it has more marbling (in other words, it has more fat), but to split the Steak for Two would mean $32 out of pocket. I think that is much more of a deal for me. In addition, I also added the foie gras butter for an additional $4.
Sides are the same as that of Ruth Chris: they come out in individual dishes and are meant to be shared by a few people. Each dish was approximately $7. Our table ordered the mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, and an appetizer of eggplant fries. Other dishes that were sampled that night (ordered by others) included the Rathbun “bacon”, the seared foie gras appetizer, the french onion “soup”, mac n’ cheese side, the cowboy ribeye, and the “hamburger” which I believe is the hunk of meet that is used to make hamburger if you were to mince it.
So here we go:
Bread basket: by far one of the best bread basket starters that I have had. There is a small variety of breads that comes with a little tub of butter. Breads included a raisin bread of some sort, a basic white french bread of some sort, and the most amazing herb foccacia sliced bread that I have yet to find at a fine dining restaurant. It was a tad bit on the salty side as I have had the luxury of tasting freshly-made onion foccacia at Rosa Mia (located in Alpharetta). They make a mean foccacia that is warm and thick and generously portioned. However, Rathbun’s does a good foccacia which normally isn’t found in many bread baskets. Props for that.
Eggplant Fries: this was a very interesting dish and a recommendation by our server. The eggplant is cut into steak-fries size and lightly battered, then fried. It is served with a small side dish of…tabasco sauce and powdered sugar. There is also an additional dusting of powdered sugar on the fries themselves. The combination is very surprising and quite tasty. It is a bit of a spicy sweet kick with the tabasco sauce concoction, but when paired with the saltiness of the eggplant batter, it is a great combination. There are however, other things on the appetizer menu that I would want to try on my next visit as this dish did not wow me considerably upon first bite.
Rathbun “bacon”: now this is the real deal. It goes beyond fatback pork. It is a delectable hunk of fat and pork that is so seared that you can taste the burnt bits melting into the pork fat. There is a slightly light coat of barbecue sauce that is wrapped around these two pieces. I only had a very small piece per the graciousness of Mr. Sulabh for fear that my heart would stop the moment I swallowed this tasty morsel. Needless to say, my heart did not stop, but I guarantee you I will have to wait at least one month with strict dieting before I call my doctor for my annual checkup and bloodwork.
Seared Foie Gras: this is a serious kicker. It is the running back that takes it home because when paired with steak, it is pure tastebud heaven. A small piece of seared foie gras with a juicy piece of steak leads to one concoction: a piece of soft and tender meat that is filling your mouth with warm juices as you slowly roll it around your tongue followed with the savory but mild aftertaste of a creamy roasted pistachio. That is what seared foie gras can do to your steak. It is also $15 additional to your steak, but guaranteed a great companion, especially if you were brave enough to fork over the dough for the Aged Cowboy Rib-eye.
Aged Steak for Two: NY Strip and fillet mignon. Overall I would say this is a pretty good bargain. For two girls it was definitely a perfect amount of steak and cash out of the wallet. In the end, we barely managed to finish our steak. We ordered it medium and it came out perfect. There was no blood, the center was perfectly bright pink, it was tender and not overly seasoned. The au jus was pooled to one side as they had tilted the plate up to let it do so – this allowed the diner to dip pieces of each cut into the au jus to create an even juicier sensation in the mouth. Key factor: FOIE GRAS BUTTER. This melted goodness of calories and fat just made each piece of meat literally melt in my mouth. It gave a hint of a creamy flavor with the foie gras but a good overall slickness and oily saltiness that can only be found in melted butter. It doesn’t compare at all to the seared foie gras, but it does a good job on giving a bit of taste without breaking the bank. However, if two people were to go as a couple and split the Steak for Two or even the 22oz Cowboy Ribeye, the seared foie gras addition might actually be worth it.
Mac N’ Cheese: I have to say, while I did like the mac n’ cheese, the best mac n’ cheese I’ve tasted is actually in Seattle at Beecher’s Cheeses. I like to have a bit of crumble at the top of my mac n’ cheese, but that isn’t to say that this was subpar by any means. It has the right consistency of cheese “sauce” meaning, it isn’t too runny like most places but it isn’t congealed like the kind that you find at the Farmer’s Basket stall at the mall foodcourts. It’s got a great gooey texture and each macaroni is evenly coated. If you combined the texture of this mac n’ cheese to the flavor of the blue-cheese mac n’ cheese at Grace 1720 (located at the Forum), I think you would have a great side dish.
Regretfully, I did not get a picture of my bff’s aged cowboy ribeye. It truly was amazing. A very top-notch steak to match a top-notch restaurant. The picture on the right is from Mr. John’s “hamburger” – look at all that pretty marble-ing that makes it super tasty! His meat agrees so much with us that it was smiling! It was pretty dim inside the restauranta which made the atmosphere very calm and collected. Our table was located downstairs which had a bit more ample lighting as it was placed next to a large bookshelf with cookbooks. I very much like the lighted table because it is easier to slip out of an oncoming food-coma with a bit more light. Guaranteed I would probably have passed out or nodded off at least once if we had been seated upstairs. Parking is a pain as there is no real parking lot. We saved ourselves the hassle by going valet, but if you are eager to spend time looking for street parking, knock yourself out!
Finally, the summary:
- bread basket: ***.75 (3.75 stars)
- eggplant fries: ***.75 (3.75 stars)
- mac n’ cheese: ***.75 (3.75 stars)
- Aged steak for two: **** (4 stars)
- Seared foie gras: ***** (5 stars)
- Rathbun “bacon”:****.5 (4.5 stars)
- Aged Cowboy Ribeye: ***** (5 stars)
If you wanted to try Rathbun’s Steakhouse:154 Krog Street (@ the corner of Krog and Irwin) Atlanta, GA 30307 404.524.5600