There are a lot of steakhouses out there, and let’s face it – not all of them are great. You probably only visit a steakhouse once or twice a month (unless you’re an aficionado, in which case once or twice a week might be more like it) – so when you do go out for a steak, it’s in your interests to pick a good one.

Sometimes you don’t know you’re in a shady steakhouse until you taste the food – other times, there are warning signs that can prevent you from going there in the first place. Here are 5 signs of a shady steakhouse.

1. Nobody’s there

This might not actually mean the steakhouse is ‘shady’; it could simply mean they’re brand new, or else they’ve had consistently negative reviews and people are avoiding the place. A consistently empty house obviously isn’t a good sign for a steakhouse. The old saying “go where the crowds are” is often a good rule of thumb – but not always!

2. The waiter doesn’t know much

Normally, a good quality steakhouse will make sure that every waiter is properly schooled in the various menu items, the sources of the different steaks, the best combinations, side dishes, and so forth. Once in a while, you see a steakhouse waiter that doesn’t seem to know much about any of these things. They might have just started, in which case, it’s always good to cut the waiter some slack. But if it seems like the waiter doesn’t really care, or doesn’t know much about the food, you have to wonder what’s going on in the kitchen.

3. The menu doesn’t give detailed information

A good steakhouse menu will give you information about where the various steaks come from, and how they are graded – this is important stuff when you’re hoping for an excellent steak. If the menu doesn’t say anything about the steaks other than “filet mignon, T-bone, porterhouse,” and so forth – then the steakhouse you’re chosen probably does not take their steak very seriously!

4. The reviews aren’t great

Before you even go to a steakhouse, you might see a pattern of negative reviews on important sites like Google or Facebook. This is definitely not a good sign, especially if the reviews contain detailed information about why the experience wasn’t great.

5. The interior is shabby

There are examples of good steakhouses out there that make a point of not doing much with the interior of the place. If the quality of the steak is really good, this might work for people. Usually, however, a good steakhouse will put a lot of thought and care into the décor, furniture, lighting, and of course the cleanliness of the dining areas and restrooms. If any of these elements are lacking or not up to par, there’s a great chance that the food will also be disappointing.

Steer clear of shabby steakhouses!

With all the amazing variety out there, there’s no reason to settle for a subpar steakhouse. Recommendations from friends, online reviews, and of course your own experiences are the best way to create a personalized map of which steakhouses in your area are worth visiting.