Stephen+P.+Karlisch
If+a+restaurant+wants+three+stars+from+the+%3Ci%3EMorning+News%3C/i%3E%2C+it+had+better+be+as+good+as+the+Waffle+House.

Al Biernat's

Al Biernat is the czar of the front door, the dining room sheik, and that's all you need to know. Bred at The Palm where he held court as frontman for some 22 years, Al Biernat knows that great steaks and fine seafood vibrate beyond their requisite flavor profiles when jolted with charm. Al Biernat's is riddled with all of the staples: the jumbo shrimp cocktails and the jumbo lump crab cakes; the fried calamari crusted in potato; the iceberg wedge with the blue cheese gravel, the creamed spinach and creamed corn, and potatoes in six guises. Surprises bud from the uniformity. Al features elegant caviar service, blackened sea scallops with Polynesian rice, and Colorado elk to pair with his thick roster of prime Allen Brothers steaks (one of them, a Kobe-Black Angus hybrid filet). Plus, Biernat's diverse but tightly constructed wine list means that every bite will finish in vintaged savor. It's the epitome of meats and greets.

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