Special Issues » Bite

Where sides go over the top

Vines Grille and Wine Bar
  • Vines Grille and Wine Bar

Channel your inner Don Draper at a dimly-lit steakhouse filled with suit-wearing servers, floor-to-ceiling wine storage and lush leather banquettes (sit on a cow and eat one, too!). Though its origins verge on old-fashioned, the steakhouse still remains the place to schmooze clients or wow a date, though without all the pesky sexism. With perfectly marbled, dry-aged, ultra-rich cuts like ribeye or porterhouse, you’d think something lighter on the side would complement the meal a bit better, but not so. Traditional à la carte sides like creamed spinach, lobster mac & cheese, potato gratin and Caesar salad (tossed tableside, of course) reflect the bygone excesses of fine dining.

“Sides with rich flavors are perfect accompaniments because the flavors will shine next to a robust, well-seasoned steak. They enhance the experience instead of getting lost in it,” says chef Kevin Spencer of Spencer’s for Steaks and Chops at the Hilton Orlando. The three-martini power lunch might be long gone, but the longing for a place where gluttony and luxury combine is still fulfilled at the grand salons of steak.