Dining in Florida
Steaking their claim: Steak houses in Florida
Florida’s appetite for steak houses just gets bigger.
In Florida’s newest steak houses, bigger, thicker steaks are on the scale. And in the best, chefs have new brags on beef sources and dry-aging and sophistication on the rest of the menu — more seafood is a must, and side dishes, vegetables and desserts are smarter, too. The new energy means the price of the favorite luxury is going up: Appetizers and sides are often $10; steaks start at $35 and flirt with $50. Most places still feel like a big-bucks club too, dark polished wood and brass with spots of rich red and baize green.
» PB Steak, Miami Beach
The Pubbelly gang has taken the traditional steak house to the most dramatic extremes high and low at PB Steak. Better known for pork-centric gastropubs with Latin and Asian accents, the Pubbellies took to beef with the same wit and barnwood informality. The space was the former Joe Allen’s in Pubbelly’s quiet, quirky neighborhood. "We want to satisfy the purist," says Pubbelly’s Andreas Scheiner. "But if you’re a foodie who wants something more risqué … ."
Like steak tartare sliders, bacon confit (with poached egg), pork cheeks with green pea ravioli and sweetbread a la Buffalo.
You can get big beef, too, dry-aged and sourced from small Florida ranches and big brands up to a $52 porterhouse or a $58 cowboy steak. To garnish, or as Pubbelly graffiti has it, "pimp it up," add bone marrow, foie gras mousse or wild mushroom fricassee; sauce with red miso jus; or short rib marmalade.
Diners can have a whole baby chicken, black cod or a hanger cut. Or they can nibble through prized oysters, curried mussels and small plates of crab bread pudding or chorizo with dates.
Beef prices, much higher than pork, are daunting, but PB still eats high off the steer and has a wild time of it.
» Bull and Bear, Orlando
Chef Francis Metais took the classic formula at the Waldorf Astoria at Walt Disney World to extravagant heights.
The menu may sound familiar, but just wait. When the monstrous tomahawk steak ($130 for two) arrives, the bone-in ribeye with the long Frenched rib comes with a candle for the waiter to carve by. And then pour its melted remains over the beef, for the "candle" is made of seasoned tallow.
That’s typical reinvention from Mattias, a Frenchman who trained under Paul Bocuse and Gaston Lenotre and now heads all food and beverage for the luxury chain.
His huge lobster, for instance, is spit-cooked vertically and served upright, its head stuffed with meat and butter that drips down to the tail onto a piece of bread.