Modern steakhouses tend to follow a template: dark wood, dim lighting, slick luxury, and a menu where practically everything is a la carte. Nothing wrong with that, we suppose, but for our special-occasion meals, we want an experience that you can't find all over metro Phoenix. What sets the Stockyards apart isn't just its history, which is long and fascinating (the restaurant, which has been around since 1947, stands on what used to be the world's largest cattle feedlot). The service is outstanding; listen to a waiter discuss where cuts of beef fall on the spectrum of flavor and tenderness, and you can tell that the staff really know their stuff when it comes to steak, and perhaps just as important, care deeply about the diners' satisfaction. The interior is classy without being pretentious, and the food is just what you want from a steakhouse meal, from the basket of biscuits and cornbread that come out first; top-quality, expertly prepared steaks in a variety of cuts that come with a first course and a side (try the Parmesan potato stack); and a satisfying dessert menu. And to top off the experience, go to the 1889 Saloon on the far side of the restaurant for a nightcap in the lap of Gilded Age-style luxury.