From January 2006 100 Very Best RestaurantsTHE SCENE. This small, barebones dining room with an open kitchen, tin ceiling, and granite floors pulls off a smooth trick: It's both a casual neighborhood bistro and a prime-time steakhouse. Owner Michael Landrum wanders the packed dining room with a beatific air, chatting up customers who rave over his steaks--farm-raised, corn-fed Hereford and Angus from Iowa, Nebraska, and Washington state--and his gentle prices.
WHAT YOU'LL LOVE. The emphasis is where it should be--on the meat, which is butchered on the premises daily. The sides are no slouches, either--terrific creamed spinach and hearty mashed potatoes served up in cast-iron skillets. And unlike the chain steakhouses, the owner is always on the premises taking a proprietary interest in the happiness of his customers.
WHAT YOU WON'T. With nothing to absorb sound, the dining room can get deafening. In cold weather, it's drafty inside. And there can be service lapses when it's really busy.