Since I’ve been going to the gym more lately, I’ve definitely noticed more of a craving for foods that are high in protein.  One of my favorites is a nice big porterhouse steak.  Tucson has what I had always considered the go to place for an affordable porterhouse steak, Pinnacle Peak in the Traildust Town.  However, I went there last week and I realized something interesting… higher prices.

There are actually very few choices for a good steak in Tucson.  They are Sullivan’s, Flemming’s, McMahon’s, Li’l Abner’s, Pinnacle Peak, El Corral, and the Silver Saddle.

If I wanted the best steak money could buy, the choice would be easy. Flemming’s features aged Prime beef steaks cooked to perfection by their trained and professional chefs.  The service is always attentive yet casual and all the extras are interesting and delicious.  However, don’t expect to walk out of there without paying $50+ per person.  In that price range the competition, Sullivan’s and McMahon’s, don’t really come close to the level of quality the Flemming’s offers.  The only downside is that they don’t actually offer a porterhouse cut, but the quality of their New York strip more than makes up for that.

This is why Pinnacle Peak was such a bargain.   A great 2lb porterhouse steak with salad and beans for $20.  The steak was perhaps never as good as high quality as it was at Flemming’s, and you had to be careful about how you order it (saying you want Medium when you really want Medium-Rare, but you know if you order it medium-Rare, you’ll end up with Rare) but for half the price no other restaurant in Tucson could touch the value they offered.  Even their sister restaurant, El Corral tries to offer a little more in the way of presentation for a higher price, without increasing the quality at all.  And Li’l Abner’s I’ve always felt was way overpriced for essentially the same thing.

But last week I found that the price had gone up $3, and the quality of the steak may have even gone down a bit.  To offset this they now offer a slightly larger salad… not very impressive at all.

So today I found myself craving a steak again and I decided to give Silver Saddle another try.  I had been there before several times for lunch and had always considered their steaks good but not really a great value considering the competition.  Today they have proved me wrong.  Their 1.5 lb porterhouse steak was reasonably priced at $25, and comes with a trip to the salad bar, beans, and a baked potato.  The steak was prepared exactly how I like it and the quality of the beef was definitely worth the price.  Also, the flavor of the real mesquite wood they use in the grill was unmistakable and delicious.  It was delivered to me right off of the grill, hot and sizzling.  And after it was all said and done I didn’t really miss the half pound extra that you are supposedly getting at Pinnacle Peak.

It turns out that Silver Saddle was voted the best steak in Tucson in 2009 by the Arizona Daily Star’s Cliente.  Its nice to see that they have maintained that level of quality 2 years later.  I will definitely be back there next time the craving for a steak hits.