Connor Concepts began as the brainchild of veteran Knoxville restaurateur Mike Connor in 1994. Since then the Chop House and Connors Steak & Seafood restaurants have grown into a multi-state success story, based on a commitment to fresh seafood, top-of-the-line aged steaks, and “guest-obsessed” service.
Connors Steak & Seafood in Turkey Creek bustles with customers. The visible flames of the kitchen grill near the entry area hint at the hickory mesquite wood and charcoal that give the steaks their distinctive flavor. Chefs and servers are in constant motion. As patrons move into the dining area, dark wood shoulder-height walls create intimate dining spaces, warmed by multiple fireplaces, with privacy available in booths. The lighting is low, contributing to the aura of relaxed elegance. This is a place for a business meal, a dinner with friends, or a celebration.
Connors’ wait staff is assiduously attentive to diners, even on a busy evening. Our waiter Darren knowledgeably described each appetizer, entrée, side, and dessert to make sure we ordered what we truly wanted. Darren managed to strike the magic balance of being there exactly when we needed and giving us enough space to enjoy our meal.
Among the appetizers, it’s hard to choose between the Fire Grilled Pork Belly ($14) of Kurobuta pork, braised in sweet tea and served with creole mustard and Asian buns or the Tenderloin Crostini ($12), a chilled sliced filet of beef complemented with goat cheese, fresh basil, cherry preserves and red onion. Connors’ Signature Lobster Crab Bisque ($6) is thick, creamy, and exploding with flavor and generous pieces of lobster and crab as well as the requisite hint of sherry.
Red meat lovers can pick among a glorious selection of well-aged cuts of prime beef, notably the Prime Rib (8, 12, or 16 oz. at $23, $26, and $29), the Filet Mignon (6 or 9 oz. at $27 and $30), a deliciously marbled 14-oz. Ribeye ($30), or a 14 oz. New York Strip ($30). Medium rare is medium rare: moist and flavorful. The wedge salad ($5), with blue cheese dressing, bacon, and drizzled in a wine reduction, is a crisp companion to the beef selections.
Australian Lamb Chops ($27 for four 3-oz. chops and mashed potatoes) arrive grill-crisped but a perfect medium rare with a rosemary and mint-infused demi-glace. A seasonal vegetable, broccoli in our case, completes the plate.
The mesquite-grilled Chilean Sea Bass Oscar ($34) exemplifies Connors’ creative presentation. Split stalks of asparagus top the delicate fish, resting atop blue lump crab meat, couscous, and broccoli finished with hollandaise sauce.
The fresh seafood section of the menu ranges from Shrimp & Grits ($17) and Blue Lump Crab Cakes ($25); to mesquite-grilled Atlantic Salmon ($22) with fennel peperonata topping, couscous, and broccoli; baked Parmesan-Encrusted Alaskan Halibut ($28) in lemon wine sauce with couscous and asiago creamed spinach; Alaskan King Crab Legs; and Cold-Water Lobster Tails—the last two served with drawn butter and grilled asparagus (at market price).
Connors offers a tempting dessert menu. Options include a large and creamy Strawberry Shortcake ($7), Bananas Foster ($7), Crème Brulee ($6), German Chocolate Upside Down Cake ($6), and homemade ice cream ($5).
For what Connors delivers—the dessert selection above, for example, is worth a visit—it offers some of the best values in town. Most entrées include a soup or salad, as well as a side item. Consistently high quality, as well as tremendous value, explain its loyal and consistent corps of customers.