While many local restaurants struggle to find a balance between the latest food trends and their tried and true favorites, Porter’s Steakhouse continues to confidently serve up a traditional steakhouse menu with their own contemporary twists while never compromising the flavors and expectations of what makes a great steakhouse, well, great. Located in the historic Sheraton Read House Hotel on Broad Street, Porter’s has been a favorite of mine since it opened in 2004 because of their unwavering commitment to everything I love about the classic American steakhouse and their uncanny ability to predict exactly what I want to accompany my oversized cut of glistening beef.
When you first walk into Porter’s, the comfortably contemporary decor is upscale enough to remind you that you are in store for a special meal, but not so pretentious that it feels stuffy. Clean lines and dark woods hearken back to the golden era of the American steakhouse while the spacious open dining room and modern fixtures keep the atmosphere up to date—even within the more than 100-year-old Read House building.
But as beautiful and inviting as the decor is, if I came to Porter’s simply to admire the stunning architecture and decor, Steve McQueen would rise from the dead to personally revoke my man card and shave my moustache. Thankfully, I am here for the steaks—and the steaks are here for me. Porter’s claims the distinction of being Chattanooga’s only prime steakhouse, meaning they only serve prime steaks, USDA certified and hand cut on site by their chefs.
My steak of choice is the Flintstone-esque 16-ounce, bone-in ribeye. This hefty slab of meat starts out flavorful enough thanks to its generous marbling, but in the hands of a skilled lead chef like Ed Careathers it becomes a culinary work of art. Careather’s seasons each steak with a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper before placing the meat on Porter’s blazing 1,300-degree broiler to be seared to perfection. Each steak is then given a moment to rest, assuring the flavorful juices remain inside the meat, before being plated with a side of Executive Chef John Palacio’s signature mustard sauce. The tanginess of the mustard pairs beautifully with the bold flavors of the steak, especially the richness of a well-marbled cut like my perfectly cooked, medium-rare ribeye.
If you prefer something a bit more refined, Porter’s famous Pepperloin is a prime tenderloin of beef that’s been marinated for 72 hours, generously seasoned with Porter’s proprietary peppercorn mixture, then seared to your desired doneness. If you’re having trouble deciding on just one steak, there’s always the massive 24-ounce Porterhouse that gives you tenderloin on one side of the bone and a New York strip on the other.
If you’re in the mood for something a bit lighter, then Porter’s has a satisfying selection of chicken and pasta dishes as well as an impressive array of seafood choices such as their Blackened Rhode Island Scallops and Shrimp Scampi, fresh Atlantic Salmon and a King Crab platter. And what steakhouse menu would be complete without Dungeness Crab Cakes? Check.
An important part of any classic American steakhouse experience are the family-style side dishes that accompany your main course. Porter’s tips its hat to the classics with Creamed Spinach made from fresh spinach and heavy cream, an Iceberg Wedge Salad complete with blue cheese and bacon, and a fresh twist on a favorite with their Tabasco Fried Onion Rings. I usually depart from these traditional sides and opt for Bacon Brussel Sprouts when they’re in season or a dish of creamy Potato au Gratin to round out my own personal feast.