Lap of luxury

With extravagant décor and steaks that will have you talking months later, Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse presented another fine-dining option to the Columbus culinary scene this year. The traditional, Cincinnati-based steakhouse is a throwback to a time when martinis were ordered “shaken, not stirred.” With a full bar, a patio for cigars, a front-facing sushi bar and plenty of steaks, Jeff Ruby's specializes in piquing diners' senses.

Service is formal, adding to the expense-account experience. (It's conveniently located near the Greater Columbus Convention Center, providing business travelers with a place to spend their per diem.) Jeff Ruby's showcases portraits of past celebrity guests on its walls. Don't expect to walk in. Reservations are strongly suggested, even for eating at the bar, and Jeff Ruby's is one of the few Columbus restaurants where a pair of jeans and an OSU shirt may feel disturbingly out of place. In short: It's fancy.

The steaks (ranging from USDA prime to Japanese wagyu tenderloin) start at $44 and can cost more than an annual Netflix subscription. (How do you define entertainment?) But these are steaks not easily forgotten, with a crispy exterior and a tender interior that almost melts in your mouth. Traditional steak toppings—like sautéed mushrooms and onions or béarnaise sauce—are decadent and worthwhile. But a $4 addition of roasted garlic butter will make the experience unforgettable.

Sides are meant to be shared, come in generous portions and are heavy on dairy (think: mac 'n' cheese and creamed spinach). There are other options, such as French green beans, that can make the meal less gout-inducing.

On the lighter (and more affordable) front, there are a variety of seafood entrées, salads, nigiri and sashimi available. But while they're quite good, at Jeff Ruby's, it's all about the beef.