Classic Columbus Haunts: The Top

From the 10/06/2010 edition

First meal served: 1955

Down Memory Lane: Only one restaurant in this city can transport you back to the finger-snapping Rat Pack-run Vegas Days, and that's the titillating Top Steakhouse. This Bexley bastion of beautiful beef has seen just three owners in its swingin' 55 years, and fortunately none has been so shortsighted as to drastically tamper with the Top's long-cherished cool-cat look and personality.

This perfectly named cow palace is snazzy proof that sometimes the only change you need, man, (and here, imagine Sammy's mouth working sideways), is that crazy, crazy stuff jangling in your pockets, baby.

Between the aisles: It's provocative and supper-club dark inside the Top. When your eyes adjust, they'll see a sleek, copper-topped bar full of stylish, fun-hunting, seen-it-all-before partiers. There's also an attention-grabbing piano (great live music) that likewise serves as a bar and table for your glorious steak. Near that is a Jetson-y inverted dome of a mod light fixture. Otherwise, there's lots of vintage touches like paneled wood, theatrical red curtains and a catchy black-and-white thing going on.

On the plate: The best steaks in town - they're prime, aged and seared at extremely high, crust-ensuring temperatures. Another big-Top plus is that entree prices generously include sides - no gouging a la carte markups here! Obviously one side is going to be a sublime baked potato, because the Top makes 'em better than anyone else in Columbus.