As anyone who's ever dropped way too much cash on a steakhouse meal can tell you, steakhouses are some of the most expensive restaurants around. If you've got a hankering for a nice dry-aged Prime New York strip, you're going to have to be prepared to drop at least 50 bucks on it. But this doesn't mean that you can't get a dependably solid restaurant steak if you're on a budget, not by a long shot.
Even the most unremarkable of restaurants always seems to have a steak of some sort on the menu, usually geared toward picky eaters who have money to burn. We'll be the first to tell you that it's not especially difficult to find a restaurant that sells some sort of reasonably-priced steak; what is tough is to find a steakhouse that's downright affordable across the board.
These steakhouses are in general pretty casual affairs, and a visit will set you up with a very nice steak for a very reasonable price. We're not including chain steakhouses in this list; these are all independently-owned and operated, and committed to serving some seriously good steaks at price that's much lower than what you'll see at your average steakhouse. iStockPhoto
Columbine Steak House & Lounge (Denver, Colorado)
This low-slung, no-frills Denver legend has been going strong since 1961, and its main claim to fame is how amazingly inexpensive it is. Fried chicken costs $8.75, a steak sandwich costs $7.95, pork chops $11.75. And most impressively of all, there are six steaks on the menu, and the most expensive one of the bunch, an absolutely massive porterhouse, costs just $20.75. As for the rest: the large fillet is $18.25, a T-bone is $16.25, sirloin and New York strip are $13.95, and a small fillet is $12.75. Tax is already included in the price, and all steaks also come with salad, potato, and toast. Yelp/ Carlos M.
Dunston's (Dallas, Texas)
Dunston's has been around since 1955, making it the city's oldest steakhouse, and it's also its least expensive. Six- or nine-ounce bacon-wrapped fillets go for just $13.95 and $17.95, respectively; an eight-ounce New York strip costs $17.95, and their signature 14-ounce bone-in ribeye costs just $27.95 (the steak also comes with a potato, salad, and three vegetables). And if you want to try one of the city's finest chicken fried steaks, that will set you back just $8.95. Yelp/ Joe W.
Ray's The Steaks (Arlington, Virginia)
This casual Northern Virginia steakhouse offers some truly awesome steaks, cooked in ways you don't often see - Brazilian picanha (top loin cap) is served with a spicy sauce, for instance, and The Diablo is a top sirloin glazed with a smoky sauce and topped with garlic - and all steaks are rubbed with a secret spice mix and grilled over an open flame. They're also quite affordable; L'onglet (a hanger steak) only costs $19.99, and all steaks are served with endless homemade mashed potatoes and creamed spinach. Yelp/ Dustin T.
Quality Eats (New York, New York)
Quality Eats sent shockwaves through New York's carnivore community when it opened a few years ago, thanks to owner Michael Stillman's decision to offer lesser-seen cuts of steak like flatiron, hanger, and skirt at shockingly low prices (it's still packed every night of the week, leading Stillman to open two additional locations). The bavette cut (pictured), the least expensive steak on the menu, costs just $26. Quality Eats
DeSimone's Steakhouse (Henderson, Nevada)
Located inside the 87-year-old Railroad Pass Hotel & Casino, the recently renovated DeSimone's Steakhouse serves a traditional steakhouse menu in every aspect but the prices. A 12-ounce New York striploin costs just $16, a 14-ounce rib-eye costs $26, and a 12-ounce prime rib will set you back just $24.
Gaslamp Strip Club (San Diego, California)
Guests are invited to grill their own steak at this unique restaurant (not an actual strip club!), and the savings are passed down to the customer. Choice Angus beef is dry aged for 21 days and marinated in olive oil and garlic, and all entrées are served with salad and garlic bread. A 10-ounce skirt steak costs $16.95, a 10-ounce steak marinated in Guinness and garlic costs $18.95, and a 14-ounce bone-in rib-eye costs just $21.95. Yelp/ Christina A.
The Big Steer (Altoona, Iowa)
Picture in your mind your idea of a restaurant called The Big Steer in Altoona, Iowa, and we bet you'll come pretty close to what this place actually is, starting with a giant painted cow advertising its Sunday brunch and dinner specials and a sign in the front window hawking "Iowa's Finest Prime Rib." The interior is charmingly dated, but you don't come here for the décor; you come here for the Iowa beef. That prime rib is, in fact, paradigm-changing, and very well might be Iowa's best. The homemade bread is legendary, the steaks are spectacular (order yours "Deburgo," in a butter-garlic sauce that's a regional specialty), and the Iowa pork is also worth sampling. It's also downright affordable: A 12-ounce top sirloin costs $23.95; a 10-ounce New York strip costs the same; a 16-ounce slab of prime rib costs $27.95, and their two most expensive steaks, a 20-ounce porterhouse and a 16 ounce bone-in rib-eye, cost just $30.95. Yelp/ Clem M.
Cattleman's Club (Pierre and Mitchell, South Dakota)
Cattleman's Club is exactly the type of steakhouse you'd hope to find while ambling through Pierre, South Dakota. Celebrating its 32nd year, this legendary steakhouse goes through an average of 60,000 pounds of USDA Choice beef a year, and is located on an expansive tract of land overlooking the Missouri River. Today it's run by founder Myril Arch's daughter, Cindy, and the menu has changed little over the years: Eight-, 12-, or 16-ounce top sirloins ($13.99 - $20.99); 10-, 16-, or 20-ounce prime ribs (ranging from $18.99 to $31.99); a $19.99 bacon-wrapped filet, a $23.99 12-ounce New York strip; and a $33.99 24-ounce T-bone. Yelp/ Loyce D.
T-Joe's Steakhouse & Saloon (Cheyenne, Wyoming)
This Wild West-themed saloon, complete with swinging doors and mounted stag's heads, is about as Wyoming as it gets. The menu is primarily comprised of bar food, sandwiches, and burgers, but its steaks and chops are beyond reproach. Slow-roasted prime rib costs $25, a 16-ounce rib-eye costs just $24, and a 14-ounce marinated rib-eye costs $22. All entrées come with your choice of two sides. Yelp/ Dilan A.
Cattlemen's Steakhouse, Oklahoma City
This 107-year-old gem, located in the heart of famed Stockyards City, is Oklahoma City's oldest continually operating restaurant. The no-frills temple to the noble steer is as popular with cowboy-hatted locals as it is with former president George H. W. Bush when he's in town. One look at what's on everybody's plate - beef for breakfast, lunch, and dinner - will tell you what this place is all about, as will the giant illuminated photo of grazing cattle along the back wall. The beef here is sourced locally, aged "according to a closely guarded house secret" (according to the website), portioned out on-premises, broiled under an intense charcoal fire, and served with natural jus. It's also surprisingly affordable: An extra-thick top sirloin costs $22.95 (a smaller portion is just $18.80), a bacon-wrapped small filet is $22.95, and the most expensive steak, a giant T-bone, only costs $31.25. You can also sample the restaurant's signature lamb fries, but make sure you know what they are before you order them!
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Yelp/ Jennifer G.