Written by: Rich Terepak Jr.
Date: December 23, 2015
The Top Steak House has long been considered one of Columbus’ venerable dining institutions. Through many changes in ownership over the years, no one would dispute that the character of the establishment endured while food quality fluctuated.
The Top’s stewards for the last eight years, A Family Affair LLC, spearheaded by the vision of husband and wife team Denver and Jean Adkins, have managed to elevate a once hidden gem of the Columbus dining scene to one of the best regarded dining destinations in the Midwest.
From the moment patrons step through the doors they find themselves transported through time to another era, that of the neighborhood restaurant as a social club.
Nothing feels pretentious. Nothing is scripted. Nothing manufactured.
The scene is dimly lit, busy, crowded but at the same time comfortable. The original piano bar near the west entry gives life to place, with no shortage of talent at the helm, from Columbus musical legend Sonia Modes on Tuesdays and Saturdays to a new generation of talented kids with a flair for the standards.
While there may be nothing quite like the ambiance, the food in not to be missed. The menu reads like a classic Chicago steakhouse, with Steak au Poivre or Diane, to prime rib or any other cut one desires.
More than anything, the most enduring feature of the menu might be the fact that dinner still comes as a proper steakhouse set, with a salad followed by a steak and side dish, each included in the menu price, as opposed to a la carte, an unfortunate fashion of most other steakhouses in the modern era.
For a starter dish, The Top’s classic The House Salad with Italian dressing, served with a generous amount of dressing and topped with crumbled blue cheese, is the way to go.
The Caesar salad is excellent as well, but be prepared for a level of garlic that borders on spicy. If you’re looking for an appetizer, The Top’s jumbo shrimp cocktail is one of the best around.
When it comes to steak, while not listed on the menu, the dry-aged bone-in rib eye is without question the best cut of steak in the city of Columbus. This is not to say a 6 oz petit filet won’t do the trick, especially covered in béarnaise and asparagus and served with crab, Oscar Style, but the bone-in rib eye is an epic feast. If Oscar isn’t your style, the red wine demi glaze or blue cheese butter provide a nice touch.
As far as sides go, many of the classic Americana steakhouse sides are offered, but nothing compares to The Top’s baked potato. Baked and served lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, it is presented tableside with a generous dollop of soft whipped butter and sour cream.
Some desserts are made in house and others are locally sourced. If you have any room left, go for it, but it may be difficult.
The Top Steak House, located at 2891 East Main St., is open for dinner nightly at 5 pm. The dinner menu is available until 9 pm on weeknights and 10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. There is also a limited bar menu offered through 10 pm. The Top is closed for most holidays since after all, it is a family owned and operated establishment.
The Top Steak House
2891 East Main Street
Monday-Thursday: 5 – 10 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: 5 – 11 p.m.
Sunday: 5 – 9 p.m.