Steak Shapiro's 5 legendary steakhouse side dishes

Chop's creamy curly mac and smoked gouda.
Chop's creamy curly mac and smoked gouda.

Credit: Courtesy of Sara Hanna Photography

Credit: Courtesy of Sara Hanna Photography

Atlanta is a city that has evolved into one of the country’s most exciting restaurant towns. While food lovers across the nation often shortchange the ATL, there is one area where Atlanta always gets its due credit: steakhouses. No one who has rolled through our fair city would argue that we have as impressive an array of quality steakhouses as any city in the world.

So how do you make the right choice for a $40 steak on that special night out?  What am I craving the most with that perfectly cooked New York strip?

The sides make the meal.

Here are the 5 sides that separate themselves from the rest…It’s the first ever Hall of Fame of steakhouse side dishes from a guy named Steak (go figure).

1. Kevin Rathbun Steak's charred jalapeno creamed corn
The Charred Jalapeno Creamed Corn is simply a show stopper at a Kevin Rathbun restaurant.  While the dish first came to life at Kevin's original restaurant "Rathbun's," it seems a more natural and perfect fit at his acclaimed steak house.  Kevin once told me his job is to make stuff taste amazing, not to keep you on your diet plan and this dish is the epitome of that.  You don't need to see how Kevin's team puts this together, you just need to revel in its yumminess and put it on your plate next to any steak on the table.

2. New York Prime's onion rings
What list would be complete without the presence of some massive onion rings to weigh down a table?  NY Prime gets this distinction and because everything seems to live larger than life at this Buckhead staple, it makes perfect sense.  Make sure you congratulate GM and proud Bostonian Bobby Donlan on the Pats' Super Bowl win; it was "wicked awesome" and so are these perfectly breaded sweet onions that make up this side to pair perfectly with first class steak and lobster.

3. Hal's on Old Ivy's  pasta asciutta
What am I doing going to Hal's for pasta? I'll tell you what I'm doing, I'm getting the perfect complement to the finest filet on the planet. This perfectly cooked angel hair pasta is as simple and perfect as it gets. Olive oil, reggiano parmesan and a beautifully light marinara help make a perfect Atlanta night out even more special.  Martinis flowing, piano man playing, pasta swirling on my fork… ahhh, all is right in the world.

4. The Palm's creamed spinach
The late GM Willy Celucci was the legend that put the Atlanta Palm on the map. But it's the quality and care they still give their customers and insane creamed spinach that keeps the regulars coming back. The creamed spinach at The Palm is as it should be, full of butter and cream and dare I say a hint of cheese that makes this as delectable and decadent as one could imagine.   I like to include it on virtually every bite, from dipping the fresh bread in it to adding it to the end of your fork with your NY strip attached. It all works. Oh, and the secret ingredient, believe it or not, is nutmeg!

5. Chop's creamy curly mac and smoked Gouda
The beauty of a night at Chop's comes from a million places, but when you are sinking into one of the greatest steaks ever, how can you not want a little mac n' cheese to take it up a notch?  The highlight of your evening may be when you dip your spoon in this bowl of creamy, cheesy comfort food and lay it down on your plate.  The dish always works but that Gouda, mmmm. That is what gets it in the Hall of Fame.

To be fair, there are countless steakhouse side dishes we may have missed and that is the beauty of our town and this type of food.  I always love to hear about ones you think should have made the cut, pun intended.