The Top Steak House
The bone-in strip topped with Maytag blue cheese, along with a side of asparagus and au gratin potatoes. Photo by Jeffrey A. Rycus/Rycus Assoc.
Bexley’s Top Steak House has come full circle, in both décor and food. The once stylish hot spot became outdated, but now, under new ownership since 2006, is heading back to being, well, a stylish hot spot again. The food here is not great—never has been—but it comes close at times, mostly if you like the sort of thing a 1950s steakhouse serves in a throwback space that could be called romantic.
Some of the best offerings were the steakhouse classics, including shrimp cocktail, with its traditional sauce of ketchup and plenty of horseradish. The crab cocktail was good, too—served with a decent tartar sauce, but perhaps best with just a squeeze of lemon.
Other classics included a garlicky Caesar salad and an iceberg salad that seemed to be merely an excuse to indulge in the rich blue cheese and sour cream dressing (which I did).
Though the menu offered good fish, fine fried shrimp and decent soft-style barbecue ribs, among other items, most patrons come here for steak or prime rib. The Top’s meat was very good or better. My favorite cut was the hefty bone-in strip, which for me and most diners is two meals—the one at the restaurant and a nice sandwich later at home.
Vegetables naturally included creamed fresh spinach—not too heavy on the cream—baked potatoes, steamed broccoli, roasted asparagus and extra cheesy au gratin potatoes. One order of plain sautéed spinach had way too much garlic, which may just have been that night’s error.
Desserts were big, rich and first-rate: a tasty cheesecake, an excellent crème brûlée flecked with vanilla bean and a dense, dark fudgy chocolate cake. All are definitely for sharing.
The wine list was well above average, with mid-range prices compared to similar restaurants, and featured lots of big California cabernets (a good choice with steak).
There seemed to be younger servers than in years past, when the Top maintained a cadre of middle-aged and older women, many of whom had worked there for years, if not decades. The younger servers were just fine, but I did miss the motherly ministrations.
I really enjoyed my two recent visits to the Top—it felt like home, even though I don’t live anywhere near. My dinners were made even more enjoyable by the meanderings of a fine pianist, accompanied by electronic drums and bass, in the lively bar area.
The Top Steak House
2891 E. Main St., Bexley
Price range: Dinner for one can go from $30 to $50.
Hours: Monday through Thursday 5 to 10 pm, Friday and Saturday till 11 pm and Sunday till 9 pm. Bar opens daily at 4 pm.
Rating: *** 1⁄2