No reservations needed. (And you can dine in your pjs!)

Nicole McLaughlin, aka NicoleMcmom, shows you how to create a fancy steakhouse dinner at home, on a budget. What's on the menu? A thick, juicy steak, of course, along with classic steakhouse sides: potatoes Romanoff and creamed spinach. With all the money you'll save making this restaurant-quality meal at home, you can spend a little extra on the wine.

Steak for Two

If you're cooking dinner for two, you can splurge on one big top-quality steak to split between the two of you. Suggestions include a porterhouse steak, a ribeye steak, or a New York strip steak. For her demo, Nicole goes with the New York strip, although you could apply her cooking method to any steak you choose.

Tip: Whatever steak you go with, get one that's thick and nicely marbled. The thicker the steak, the more wiggle room you have with the overall cooking time.


  • Steak of your choice
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Vegetable oil
  • Butter (optional)
  • Minced garlic (optional)
  • Fresh rosemary and/or thyme sprigs (optional)


  1. Let the meat sit out at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before cooking. This helps the meat cook evenly.
  2. Pat the steak dry with paper towels and season one side generously with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  3. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. (Cast iron is ideal for this kind of steak preparation because it holds the heat the cooks evenly.) When the skillet is hot, add a little oil and let it heat. Add the steak, seasoned side down. Add salt and pepper to the unseasoned side. Let the steak sear, undisturbed, for 3 to 5 minutes or until it develops a deep brown crust and pulls away easily from the skillet. Turn the steak over and let it cook undisturbed for another 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. When your steak is about 2 minutes from done, add a couple tablespoons of butter, some minced garlic, and sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme to the hot skilled to make a basting sauce. This step is entirely optional, but it does give the steak an extra layer of flavor. Tip: Nicole also likes to brown the strip of fat along the side of the steak. Watch the video above to see how she does it. #goodtoknow
  5. For best results, use an instant-read meat thermometer to determine when the steak is cooked to your liking. Tip: The steak will continue to cook and rise in temperature another few degrees even after you remove it from the skillet, so take that into account.
  6. Remove the steak from the skillet and let it rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Steakhouse Side Dishes

For this menu, Nicole's going with two popular steakhouse sides: potatoes and vegetables. But in true steakhouse style, these are just a little fancier than your everyday sides. Fancy doesn't have to mean expensive, though. Take a look:

Get the recipe: Steakhouse Potatoes Romanoff

Steakhouse Potatoes Romanoff
Credit: Chef John

Plan ahead when you make this show-stopping but budget-friendly potato casserole. You'll cook and cool the potatoes overnight before shredding them into this creamy, cheesy baked dish, but you can do all the prep ahead of time and pop it into the oven about 30 to 35 minutes before dinner.

Tip: You can skip the prep and buy a bag of shredded potatoes. We won't tell.

Get the recipe: Fast and Easy Creamed Spinach

close up of Fast and Easy Creamed Spinach and steak on a plate
Credit: Chef John

You can whip up this rich and creamy side dish in the time it takes for the steak to come to room temperature. Nicole likes to add a little cream cheese to the sauce because...well, cream cheese.

Tip: Don't skip the freshly grated nutmeg — it really makes all the difference in the fragrance and flavor of the finished dish. No, don't use powdered nutmeg; it's just not the same.


You can connect with Nicole as NicoleMcmom on Allrecipes and on Instagram @nicolemcmom.

More tips, tricks, and ideas from Nicole: