Oak Steakhouse

Downtown. 17 Broad St. 722-4200

The most depressing part of Best of Charleston comes when chain restaurants, based on sheer volume and name recognition, beat out local establishments that make a name for themselves based on quality, innovation, and the skill of their chef. That’s why Oak Steakhouse’s Best Steak win is so gratifying this year. Chef Brett McKee’s skill with the grill is clearly the driving factor in overcoming some steep corporate competition (Outback Steakhouse, anyone?). McKee has ended the reign of the blooming onion with a tripartite coup de grace — the gorgeous space at 17 Broad, an undying devotion to the best meat available, and a deliciously creative approach to the art (including a delectable espresso bean-laced rub) that have pushed his steaks over the top. His menu features a laundry list of gut-busting cuts — a 16-oz New York strip, a 28-ounce Porterhouse, an astonishing 36-ounce bone-in marinated ribeye — that are complemented by classic and creative sauces — au poivre, bearnaise, veal demiglace, foie gras black truffle butter, gorgonzola cream, balsamic barbecue. A la carte sides range from whipped potatoes and hashbrowns to fried onions and creamed spinach and come in large enough portions to share with the table. Of course, we’ve known that for a long time; looks like the word is getting out.

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