Steak-onomics: Is a $70 steak worth it?

Vegetarians, step aside. This article is for carnivores, and there's nothing meat eaters love more than a nice big, flavorful steak. Sure, you can buy a $10 slab of beef at the supermarket and sear it at home in a pan or grill, but steak connoisseurs know that the most brag-worthy meats are found at steakhouses that only use prime cuts and grill them to perfection.

But those dry aged, fine cuts of meat can cost a pretty penny. And since steakhouses source their beef from different butchers, prices can vary immensely. For example, a 16 ounce strip sirloin at Bern's Steakhouse in Tampa, Fla. costs about $69, but at Jess and Jim's in Kansas City, Mo., a 16 ounce strip steak will run you about $28 — a $42 difference. Both of these steakhouses have been featured on "best" lists, and have received rave reviews from diners, so here's the million (or at least seventy) dollar question: Is a $70 steak worth it?

To answer this question, we looked at 20 of the best steakhouses and restaurants in the U.S. that have steaks praiseworthy enough to be make it on best lists from Gayot, Esquire magazine and Made Man.

We examined menus to see how much each restaurant typically charged for a 16 ounce strip steak, or when that cut wasn't available, we substituted a comparable T-bone or house cut. We then plotted out the 20 restaurants by the typical price of their steak and by their Bundle score, which is based on the popularity of a restaurant, the restaurant's number of repeat customers, and the amount people are willing to spend there (learn more about Bundle's ratings here). Restaurants that score between 50 and 80 are highly rated and may be worth a visit, but we decided that to be "absolutely worth it," the steaks must be from restaurants that achieve our highest rating, between 80 and 100:


Click here to see the chart in high resolution.

Bern's, which had the most expensive 16 ounce strip steak on our list, has a score of 52, which makes it less worth it than most of the other restaurants on our list. According to our methodology, the winner is Gibson's Bar and Steakhouse in Chicago, Ill. With a near perfect score of 98, diners are willing to pay $48 for a steak, and come back again and again. Getting your diners to shell out $50 for an entree and return the following week? Like, a really good steak, that's rare.

Here's a closer look at the 20 restaurants we examined:

Very High Rating

1. Gibson's Bar and Steakhouse
City: Chicago, Ill.
Steak Price: $48
Bundle Score: 98

2. Lawry's The Prime Rib
City: Bevery Hills, Calif.
Steak Price: $39
Bundle Score: 94

3. Andrea's
City: Metairie, La.
Steak Price: $30
Bundle Score: 93

4. Benihana
City: Las Vegas, Nev.
Steak Price: $23
Bundle Score: 93

5. Red Primesteak
City: Oklahoma City, Okla.
Steak Price: $45
Bundle Score: 91

6. Palm
City: New York, N.Y.
Steak Price: $48
Bundle Score: 90

7. BLT Prime
City: New York, N.Y.
Steak Price: $48
Bundle Score: 89

8. Bone's Steakhouse
City: Atlanta, Ga.
Steak Price: $65
Bundle Score: 88

9. One if By Land
City: New York, N.Y.
Steak Price: $35
Bundle Score: 86

10. Steak Frites
City: New York, N.Y.
Steak Price: $32
Bundle Score: 82

11. Jess & Jim's
City: Kansas City, Mo.
Steak Price: $28
Bundle Score: 81

High Rating

12. Z's Oyster Bar and Steakhouse
City: Louisville, Ky.
Steak Price: $37
Bundle Score: 79

13. Macelleria
City: New York, N.Y.
Steak Price: $42
Bundle Score: 78

14. Churrascos
City: Houston, Texas
Steak Price: $56
Bundle Score: 76

15. Alexander Steakhouse
City: San Francisco, Calif.
Steak Price: $60
Bundle Score: 72

16. Strip House
City: Houston, Texas
Steak Price: $42
Bundle Score: 68

17. Fleur De Lys
City: San Francisco, Calif.
Steak Price: $49
Bundle Score: 62

18. Bern's Steakhouse
City: Tampa, Fla.
Steak Price: $69
Bundle Score: 52

19. Smith and Wollensky
City: New York, N.Y.
Steak Price: $52
Bundle Score: 50

Moderate Rating

20. Oak Steakhouse
City: Charleston, S.C.
Steak Price: $49
Bundle Score: 35