When a restaurant calls itself a “steakhouse,” its intentions are clear. After all, a lot of restaurants serve steaks, but that doesn’t make them steakhouses. Ambiance plays a large part, as does the menu and service. Most important, of course, is the meal itself. When you go to a steakhouse, you have expectations.
Porter’s, located in the Sheraton Read House Hotel downtown, quite simply fits the bill. Even if you’ve never been there before, you get a warm sense of recognition as soon as you enter. A comfortable interior greets the eyes along with smartly dressed servers, and is the first clue that your expectations will be not only met, but exceeded.
The servers themselves are a testament to Porter’s thorough approach to dining. They average a four-year tenure, and are veritable fountains of knowledge about the menu. Pairings, naturally, are spot on.
Executive Chef John Palacio ensures that the menu similarly shines. Changing twice a day to suit the hour, each incarnation offers plenty of options, but being a steakhouse, the meat is obviously the star. The steaks at Porter’s are always prime beef, so-designated for its tenderness and marbling. Chef John personally handles the butchering, ensuring the highest care is taken from the time he receives your beef until it hits your table. A broiling process sears each one, locking in the flavors of the chef’s custom seasoning blend.
First up on my visit, though, was the Maytag bleu cheese salad. Vine-ripened tomatoes and touches of carrot and red onion joined mesclun greens, dressed with port-wine vinaigrette (made, like so much else, right in the kitchen). The namesake wedge of salty and tangy aged Maytag was propped alongside, and worked beautifully, its creaminess a perfect contrast to the fresh vegetables and sweetness of the dressing.
Next up was the star and house specialty, the Pepperloin. Garlic-rubbed and onion-marinated for 72 hours, the loin is then rolled in peppercorns for a final touch. The result was spectacularly tender and flavorful, and paired with a sweet, slightly tangy mustard sauce. I couldn’t have asked for much more.
It’s always nice to have a dining experience where everything is just right. Eating at Porter’s offers exactly that. You can even be in and out in 30 minutes if you stop in for lunch. For large parties, private dining rooms are available, and Chef John will gladly create an exclusive menu for special events. Vegetarians are welcome as well—just ask your server what the kitchen can whip up for you. Give them a visit and reward yourself sometime.
Porter’s Steakhouse, 827 Broad Street. Sunday to Wednesday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Thursday to Saturday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. For more information visit www.porterssteakhouse.com or call (423) 643-1240.