Serious carnivores will go to the ends of the earth to seek out a perfectly marbled, expertly seared steak. And so, it seems, will we. We’ve visited the best butchers in France, reacquainted ourselves with the idea that everything (steaks included) is bigger in Texas, eaten at celebrated parrillas of Argentina, and enjoyed the elegant ambiance of metropolitan steakhouses. We’ve tried dry-aged and wet-aged, beef from corn-fed cattle in the U.S., and grass-fed pure-bred organic cattle raised on small farms in Europe. The cuts may vary from country to country, but these 11 steakhouses — our favorites in the world — all have one thing in common: They are uncommonly superb.
Chicago has no shortage of fine steakhouses, but the candlelit atmosphere of Bavette’s makes it far more appropriate for couples than for businessmen. We had a wonderfully decadent dinner of cognac-infused foie gras with a tart blackberry compote, garlicky shrimp de Jonghe, tender lamb T-bone with rosemary and garlic, and flawless filet mignon with savory roasted tomatoes and spicy watercress. A few other Chicago steakhouses serve comparable or perhaps even better beef, but none is as romantic as Bavette’s.