Stark’s Steakhouse | Santa Rosa

Top dry-aged steaks, sides and cocktails in a retro-chic setting.

The fourth of the Stark Reality Restaurants, this classic steakhouse emphasizes organic, dry aged, grass-fed cuts of beef. The menu has expanded to include plenty of other Stark-tastic entrees –from crab “tater tots” to black and blue ahi tuna steaks. The restaurant continues to evolve, with a loyal “uptown” happy hour cocktail crowd and steakhouse fans who crave their meaty burgers and buttery Parkerhosue rolls. Don’t skimp on the sides, they’re all worth the calories. And, of course, the Stark’s are known for their creative cocktails.
MORE: If the shark has indeed jumped on retro-chic steak joints, nobody told Santa Rosa. Mark and Terri Stark’s Railroad Square steakhouse is The Place to pony-up for organic, dry aged, corn and grass-fed cuts of beef hand-picked by the city’s favorite chef.
You’ll get the Bogie-and-Bacall vibe right away. Manhattans, aged whiskies and absinthe are served by white-coated bar staff. The seats are leather. Wedge salad and creamed spinach are side staples. A baby grand sits in the corner waiting to tinkle out a tune or two.
Housed in the former Michele’s restaurant, the couple (who also own the highly-rated Willi’s Wine Bar and Willi’s Seafood in Healdsburg) gutted the historic spot, pretty much starting from scratch. It’s still a massive space, divided between white-tablecloth restaurant service and a happy-hour friendly bistro/lounge with frequent live music.
Steaks are what you’re here for. Don’t be shy if you don’t know the difference between filet mignon, ribeye, New York Strip, grass-fed or corn-fed. Staff are happy to explain the cuts and preparation. Guild the lily with a topper of foie gras, roasted bone marrow or a blue cheese butterball along with a side of Béarnaise, Boursin cheese or truffle aioli. (We won’t tell.) Don’t miss the sides — a Stark staple — in your hurry to order. Creamed spinach, truffled fries and mac & cheese are more than just add-ons. They’re a requirement.
The restaurant has some amazing happy hour deals during the week and a special favorite is the Chef’s Happy Meal: Steak tartare, fries and a toy.
A steak dinner will put you back a couple Benjamins, easily. But what’s it worth to be whisked back to a time when red meat, butter and whiskey were practically health food? A time when bartenders dressed in white coats. And going out for dinner was an event, not an excuse.
Stark’s Steakhouse, 521 Adams St., Santa Rosa, 707.546.5100. Weekday lunches , 11:30am to 2:30 pm; dinner Sunday through Thursday from 5pm to 9pm and Friday and Saturday dinners until 10pm.

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13 thoughts on “Stark’s Steakhouse | Santa Rosa

  1. Stark’s grills up the absolute best steak on the planet. The 28 day, dry-aged, bone-in ribeye. Expensive, but well worth the money if you’re in the mood to splurge. I look forward to trying some of their new menu items to go along with my steak next visit. Great images Heather! Gastronomically porno-riffic.

  2. Papa Doble by Dale DeGroff
    1 1/2 oz Ten Cane Rum (yum)
    1/2 oz lime juice
    1/2 oz sweet grapefruit juice (I use red variety)
    3/4 oz simple syrup (I use lots less or even agave syrup)
    1/2 oz maraschino liquor (delish and not sweet–don’t confuse with the electric red fruit)
    Shake over ice and pour into a stemmed cocktail glass

  3. MMM… The new menu items sound yummy, can’t wait to try them! I just wish Stark’s would lower their prices a bit. We’d eat there more often if it was a tad more affordable.

  4. Heh. Thanks. Just to be clear (because I’m absolutely sure people will nail me for it), I did go over without announcing myself to eat a couple times (though Mark and Terri usually spot me immediately) and made an appointment to come photograph the food at a later date.
    With that said, it was natural light, oddly enough (I’m not smart enough to understand much about studio lighting) and my old Canon 20D. I used my macro lens for some of the shots. Thanks for indulging me, john. 😉

  5. Made you click on it!
    I’m being glib. You’re probably right, but i’m pretty stoked about these photos, because I went over one dark and stormy afternoon to take these. I’m super impressed with their new chef (who is a soup superstar).
    No offense intended, but come on…I gotta say that these pictures get my heart pumping! And no one was harmed or exploited in the making of them! I see it as a win win.

  6. Recently asked for a Hemmingway cocktail (Papa Doble) and gave them a recipe. It was very good unlike the Ritz Carlton bartender who couldn’t do one. I was very impressed. BTW it is a not too sweet margarita favorite of Hemmingway.

  7. Heather, is “porn” necessary to the title. You are imaginative enough to come up with another term to describe the new menu.

  8. @ Spin:
    I’d made that same presumption when the Dow first crossed 10,000. I was told by their staff that they were honoring the happy hour prices despite the Dow’s recent move into the 10,000’s. Go Stark’s!!!

  9. Well Heather,
    I guess their prices listed on the Starks menu you linked are invalid. Dow is over 10,000. Nice way to draw customers in, then wham! prices went up.

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