Groomsmen Grub: Top 10 Bachelor Party Restaurants
Rodizio steakhouses are everywhere these days, and if you’re familiar with this dining tradition, you know you’re in for meat coma. The meat is served tableside, by costumed “gaucho-chefs,” who walk around and shave it with long knives – as much as you want – off the bone onto your plate. All kinds of deliciously-seasoned meat, from flap steak to top sirloin to filet mignon, and probably a lot of other delectable non-beef, too. Sangria is generally a staple – cut the meat coma with several pitchers.
The “Bacon-in-everything” trend shows no signs of abatement. In fact, quite the opposite. Bacon-centric restaurants – meaning pretty much everything on the menu has bacon ingredients – are popping up across the country. And good news, boys: at most all of these spots, bacon has finally found its true soul-mate in beer. Flights of bacon and beer at New York’s BarBacon (with a bacon-lobster roll entrée, perhaps?). A self-service beer station at Las Vegas’ BaconBar (to wash down your “man candy” apps). Paddy Long’s in Chicago has a five beer/five bacon “challenge,” not to mention The Bomb: five pounds of sausage… wrapped in bacon. What says “hedonism and excess” (the official bachelor party mantra) better than that?
First, there’s the smell: beef and pork, slow-smoking over oak, hickory, mesquite or some glorious combination thereof. Then the taste: smoky, tender brisket or rich tangy pulled pork, rubbed so right, you’ll devour them without any sauce. In fact, in most serious barbecue joints, reaching for the sauce could earn you a scowl. The style of barbecue is different, wherever you go, from North Carolina to Texas, so an advance reconnaissance mission to familiarize yourself with the flavors certainly couldn’t hurt. Other staples include ribs, the bigger the better, and goopy sides like mashed sweet potatoes, collards or maybe just slaw. At many spots, booze is tertiary to barbecue at best, so if you’re a drinking crowd, make sure they serve or you can BYOB.
All You Can Eat Sushi
A regular sushi spot doesn’t quite scream “bachelor party.” All-You-Can-Eat Sushi, on the other hand… is all about unapologetic gluttony. And it might not break the bank so badly, either. Go for big rolls to share, the more decadent ingredients the better (as in exotic seafoods and sauces, and outlandish ingredient pairings). Referee a sushi scarf-off. And, of course, punctuate the party with loudly-announced sake bombs!
Eat at a Club/Cabaret/Supper Club
Maybe your groom sees dinner – any dinner – as a forgettable warm-up to the real fun, later in the evening. Why blow the bank trying to win over his wan taste-buds? Instead, bring the second act into the first, as they say in screenwriting. A jazz club that serves dinner. A cabaret with elaborate apps. Perhaps a supper-club, the old-school variety or the snazzy re-invention you’d find in Vegas, pairing steaks and, say, a nude contortionist. In cities like Miami and Portland, you’ll find first-class eateries paired with night-clubs, live music venues, and – drum-roll! – strippers!!
Eat What You Kill
From a quaint old trout fishery that cleans, cooks and serves your own catch to a hunting resort that makes your freshly-shot grouse the centerpiece of a 5-star meal. The “eat what you kill” trend is “eating local” taken to its logical extreme. For bachelor parties, it kills two birds with one stone – the daytime fun and the dinner – and it is pretty much as butch as it gets. For campers, try the lower-budget option: cook what you kill, over an open fire.
Anything New Orleans
New Orleans cuisine is defined by its ornate decadence. Here you’ll find a restaurant exclusively devoted to making all parts of a pig taste delicious. Esoteric appetizers like foie-gras cotton candy. A crab-stuffed rack of lamb. A foot-long sandwich stuffed with fried oysters and beef, then slathered in gravy. New Orleans has astounding Gulf seafood, centuries of blended/re-blended Creole and French tradition, a flair for bold invention, and a decidedly boozy imagination. It is a category of dining all its own.
For those bachelors not dead-set on meat, the oyster bar can be just as manly. And, in fact, far more suave and sophistocated. Think: raw oysters and martinis. Almost every big city has a great spot, with seafood flown in fresh every day. A menu will certainly include sampler platters of raw oysters (try East Coast and West Coast, for comparison and variety). You might find oyster shooters and sliders, oysters smoked and served with saltines, oysters broiled with parmesan, or maybe even crispy oysters with beef tartare. And beyond the oyster, of course! Most fine seafood eateries offer some version of the Shellfish Tower, a tri-level raw extravaganza. Hear your credit card scream when the groom orders “three Towers, for the table.”
If you’re partying in a city with a Koreatown, Korean barbecue is an absolute must. It’s got all the perfect qualities of a bachelor party: communal, do-it-yourself, smoky, drinky, and of course, meaty. You’ll sit around a big table with a barbecue built right in. Mountains and mountains of deliciously-seasoned raw meat – all cuts and kinds of beef, pork belly, shrimp – will arrive for you to cook to perfection as you drink. The whole place will fill with meat-smoke and no one cares. Meat-smoke will waft from your clothes all night, a scent proven to attract women (or at least curious conversation). For a smokeless table (and smokeless clothes), go a bit upscale; you’ll find a corresponding uptick in drink menu and atmosphere, as well.
Old School Steakhouse
No, not some shiny clean chain restaurant on the perimeter of a mall. We’re talking: in old downtown, a faded first-ring suburb, or maybe even a tiny town out west. A steakhouse whose name exudes legend: Keens, Musso and Frank. White tablecloths, ancient waiters in dinner jackets, a red velvet/wood paneling interior that’s never been updated. Martinis. Giant bread basket with bread-sticks and butter packs. And Certified Angus Prime that has never and never will be ruined by the latest trends in gastronomy. These are the places that made the steakhouse a bachelor party classic. And why even try to improve on a classic?