BEST STEAK HOUSE ON A BUDGET - 2003
Softly lit, velvet draped, appointed with vintage posters and paintings, erté conjures an era both gracious and unpretentiously chic. Its steaks are prime examples of how good such classic American fare can be. USDA Prime and Choice Angus beef sirloin, filet, and special cuts are charbroiled to tender, juicy perfection. Not just for beefeaters, the menu covers a range of chicken, fish, and vegetarian selections: plump, buttery shrimp scampi with a garlic wallop, pasta with seasonal vegetables or alla puttanesca, and an assortment of grilled and sautéed fish. Dinners range between $10 and $20 (for daily specials), with sides big enough for a four-top to share (do try the skillet-sized hash-brown cake). Among the appetizers, crab cakes or shrimp wrapped in crispy smoked bacon could also make a light meal. Baskets brim with freshly baked French baguette (not squishy rolls), and for openers there's a salad of crunchy head lettuce with real blue cheese dressing (no fancy field greens here). The bar is meant for lingering (a cigarette and a cocktail would look just right). Upbeat, lively erté is a genuine American steak house for all generations.