One Fine Meal: Classic meets contemporary at Kaiser’s Chophouse in Sandy Springs

From Keen’s in New York to Bern’s in Tampa, the classic American steakhouse abides, embodying both history and indulgence.

Newer places, like Kevin Rathbun Steak in Atlanta, celebrate that same tradition, while offering menu items you don’t always see on steakhouse menus, including sushi and contemporary seafood dishes.

Kaiser’s Chophouse in Sandy Springs, from veteran Atlanta chef Peter Kaiser, is another example of that trend. And, not surprisingly, Kevin Rathbun, a longtime colleague and friend of Kaiser, is an investor and consultant in the business.

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Credit: Bob Townsend

Credit: Bob Townsend

I wrote about Kaiser’s a few weeks after it opened in May 2017, and I quoted its mission statement, about offering “an elevated dining experience with quality cuts of meats, superior ingredients and a boutique wine and cocktail program.”

Kaiser, who originally is from Liechtenstein, came to Atlanta in 1986, and worked as an executive chef for both the Buckhead Life and (now defunct) Here to Serve restaurant groups, before finally opening a restaurant of his own.

Some four years on, Kaiser’s can be a tough reservation, drawing the kind of classy, clubby crowd that used to be exclusive to Buckhead. And, though it faces a strip center, the design by the Johnson Studio creates an elegant mix of contemporary and traditional elements that matches the sprawling menu.

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Credit: Bob Townsend

Credit: Bob Townsend

Steak is the star, of course, and the novel and expensive 8-ounce spinalis cut is prized for its sublimely rich, tender meaty essence. Other options range from a barrel-cut filet to a big prime dry-aged cowboy rib-eye and a bigger prime dry-aged porterhouse for two.

Many of the starters are large enough to share, with grilled thick-cut bacon, fried calamari, wagyu short rib dumplings and pan-seared foie gras among the decadent treats. From there, you’ll find chilled seafood, sushi, soups and salads.

Kaiser’s specialties include roasted Bay of Fundy salmon, caramelized diver scallops, and pappardelle Bolognese, a house favorite. But, the big bargain is the Kaiser burger, served with grilled Bermuda onions and Gruyere on a brioche bun.

Recently, I ordered a three-course meal, with some of my menu favorites.

To start, fried Gulf oysters Rockefeller was a brilliantly deconstructed version of the classic, featuring plump, briny oysters with crunchy shells, perched on a bed of sauteed spinach, and topped with a wide strip of bright hollandaise sauce and crumbled bacon. It was pretty much a perfect pairing for a dry martini with a twist.

The main course had to be steak, and, for my money, there’s nothing better than a prime New York strip. Kaiser’s procures them from Allen Brothers in Chicago, and the cut and quality are, well, prime. The 8-ounce was just enough, with a beautiful sear, juicy center and end-flap of crispy fat.

To go with it, I ordered hand-cut fries with garlic-pepper dust. Piled on a plate with the steak, and a pool of pan sauce, it was everything, as they say nowadays. Maybe only a giant onion ring could have made it better.

Dessert was something of an afterthought, but the heavy flourless chocolate cake traveled really well, with dollops of whipped cream and chocolate sauce packaged on the side.

Certainly, Kaiser’s Chophouse is expensive, but, when it comes to a treat-yourself meal, you get what you pay for. And, when it comes to steak, prime has a price.


Menu: classic-meets-contemporary steakhouse

Alcohol: of course

Recommended dishes: prime steaks; seafood specials; Kaiser burger; pappardelle bolognese; sides, such as hand-cut fries and onion rings

Price range: soup, salad and appetizers, $9-$75; dinner entrees, $29-$102; desserts, $9-$12

Service options: dine-in; call to order takeout; curbside pickup available

Outdoor dining: patio with seven tables

Experience: This may not be the perfect place for takeout, but the quality and attention to detail are what you’d expect for the price. Also, steak travels surprisingly well. Order it rare, and give it a quick sear as soon as you get home. And, if you’re comfortable dining in, try to score a patio table on a weeknight, and prepare to indulge.

Address, phone: 5975 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs; 404-549-2882

Hours: 5:30-9 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays, 5:30-10 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; bar opens at 5 p.m.


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