Designed by David Rockwell, the hottest restaurant designer in the country, the Strip House steak house makes a double entendre of the restaurant's name by using erotica as a theme. The banquettes are red leather. The ceiling is red. The sofas, carpets and throw pillows in the bar are red. Pretty much everything is red, except for the dozens and dozens of photos on the walls, which are black-and-white. They come from Studio Manasse, a Viennese photo studio of the 1920s and 1930s that attempted to capture the erotic spirit of the cabaret era in its dreamily retouched photographs of nude or partially clothed women. Together the ruby-red colors and nude photos create an ambience your parents might have called "French whorehouse." To modern sensibilities, the decor might be better described as "ironic, retro-1950s French whorehouse." Or as one male friend put it, "Steak and tits, what's not to like?"
Readers' choice: Vargo's