Iconic downtown restaurants Dakota's Steakhouse reopens on September 13 with a new owner, chef, and enhanced menu. (Photo by Kevin Marple)
When Dakota's shuttered last year, we wonder what would become of this iconic subterranean spot. (Courtesy of Dakota's Steakhouse)
Dakota's Steakhouse was built underground for a reason. It features a fire pit, waterfall, and greenery. (Courtesy of Dakota's Steakhouse and Kevin Marple)
Dakota's Steakhouse is coming back with new ownership after shuttering during the pandemic. (Courtesy of Dakota's Steakhouse and Kevin Marple)
The jumbo lump crab cake is a great place to start at Dakota's Steakhouse. (Photo by Megan Ziots)
A favorite entree of the night at Dakota's was the short rib agnolotti. (Photo by Megan Ziots)
Don't leave Dakota's Steakhouse without ordering the lavender creme brulee for dessert. (Photo by Megan Ziots)
In May 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, we reported that iconic downtown restaurant Dakota’s Steakhouse had shuttered. Thankfully, someone took the helm and decided to revive the favorite subterranean spot. Meredith McEneny, wife of local restaurateur Tim McEneny (Sloane’s Corner), has brought the steakhouse back to life.
Thankfully, the elements that made the nearly 40-year-old Dakota’s timeless remain the same. You still take a glass elevator 18 feet down to the subterranean dining room. The 20-foot waterfall still beams its way down to the outdoor patio. New to the exterior, however, is a brand new bar with a large TV (to watch sports and such).
But don’t worry, the New Orleans-style vibes are still very much intact. McEneny was adamant about preserving the historic dining room including its original black-and-white photographs, hand-cut Italian Carrera marble, dark-wood paneling and New Orleans-inspired gas lamps.
Chef Ji Kang (Sloane’s Corner) has crafted a new menu filled with classic Allen Brothers steaks and seafood, as well as new dishes. At a preview visit, we got a first taste of some of the new appetizers, signature entrees, sides, and desserts.
First off, make sure to start with one of the bite-sized hor d’oeuvres. From a deviled egg to oysters Rockefeller, you get just a taste per order, but it’s enough if you want to save room for everything else the menu has to offer. The potato “tater tot” with white cheddar and aioli was a favorite, as well as the smoked salmon tartlet. For appetizers, don’t miss the jumbo lump crab cake. It’s shareable and deliciously topped with grapefruit, frisée salad, and green goddess dressing.
Of course, there are so many great steaks to choose from, including filet mignon, New York strip, and Japanese Wagyu. But if you want to switch it up, the short rib agnolotti is stunning. Topped with Bordelaise, cherries, and aged parmesan, it’s one of the new menu items chef Kang crafted for the revamp. Another signature dish of the new menu is the lobster and king crab rigatoni.
The sides menu is also a beast of its own. We opted for the lobster mac and cheese (addicting), cauliflower gratin, and Brussels sprouts. I could’ve eaten these all together as a meal.
And for dessert, don’t miss the lavender crème brûlèe. It comes with two white chocolate and pistachio covered madeleines. You can’t pass on a madeleine with crème brûlèe.
Reservations are now open for lunch and dinner at Dakota’s Steakhouse starting Monday, September 13.