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A good steak is hard to come by. You want just enough char on the outside of the meat but still tender enough that once you cut into the meat you can see the juice. There are many many different cuts of steak, one of the most popular kind is the filet mignon. Everyone has their own specifications to how they want the steak to be cooked ranging from rare to well done and even overcooked.

Two places that I had the pleasure of visiting and get a steak at in Ann Arbor is the Chop House and Gratzi. Both places are definitely not for the daily visit, but rather for more special occasions.

ATMOSPHERE

Both places are located right next to each other on Main Street. The Chop House is an elegant and high class restaurant that is perfect for special celebrations and gatherings. It features the finest mid-western grain-fed USDA prime beef, fine wine, and flawless and considerate services. Inside, every decoration and detail is carefully considered. The restaurant is dimly lit, which gives all customers a soothing dining experience. Each table is covered with white table cloth and candle lighting. The service is prompt and competent.

Gratzi has been a part of Ann Arbor since 1987. It is an upscale Italian restaurant that features Italian food from mainly the northern provincials of Italy. The restaurant is decorated with Renaissance-style mural and wood finishes covering a majority of the restaurant giving it a homely and classic feel. The restaurant has two levels. The second floor is  right above the bar, overlooking the main dining room. The dining room is not as spacious as it could be. The tables are more clustered together, which makes moving around difficult, but the atmosphere is still pleasurable.

SELECTION

Of course the Chop House is most famous for its steak. It has a variety of different cuts and portion sizes offered such as an 8 oz filet mignon, 15 oz New York Strip steak. There’s a wide range of tenderness of the cut and the size of the steak. You will probably find a cut that will suit your desire.

At Gratzi there is more of a focus on combining a traditional Italian style cooking to all types of dishes, but they do offer a selection of meat dishes in their menu.

TASTE

At the Chop House, I got the classic 8 oz. filet mignon. As always I order my steak to medium-rare. I need enough cook through of the meat, but not too much that it takes away from the tender texture of the meat. When I cut inside of it, the meat is slightly pink but not raw. The meat was cooked just right. The tenderness of the filet mignon was not ruined at all. It was juicy and well seasoned.

I have to say though, I expected a little more from such a high class restaurant to work on the presentation. Just having a slab of meat in the center of the plate really wasn’t as appetizing as it can be.

Filetto di Manzo at Gratzi was served on portebello mushroom and garnished with various vegetables. The meat was just a little over medium-rare, but still tender. The glaze over the portebello along with the stuffing was overly seasoned. It was stronger than I preferred. The natural taste of the meat was detracted by the strong taste of the stuffing. Overall the presentation of the dish is much more visually pleasing than that at the Chop House, which makes the food seem more appetizing.

WHO REIGNS SUPREME?

THE CHOP HOUSE!

Both the Chop House and Gratzi are very excellent restaurants, but each has their own specialty. I would definitely focus on more traditional Italian dishes at Gratzi and enjoy a nice cut of steak at the Chop House. Even though the presentation of the dishes could be better, the chop house won in terms of service and taste. Next time parents come to visit, ask them to treat you to a nice dinner at either place!

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