Want to make the most of your next trip to the steakhouse? Rather than go through the same old routine, take a look at the following five ways to improve your steakhouse experience. You’ll probably discover something new, and enjoy your meal even more.
1. Ask the right questions
The waitstaff at steakhouses are one of the most underutilized resources in terms of going out for steak. If the establishment takes itself seriously, the waitstaff will be properly trained to answer all kinds of questions about the steaks on offer — as well as the sides and drinks that go best with each plate. When waitstaff claim to have tried various things on the menu, take their word for it. A good local steakhouse will make sure their employees have first-hand experience of the menu.
2. Know how you want your steak cooked
Do you want your steak cooked rare, medium rare, medium, medium-well, or well-done? This basically refers to the temperature and color in the center of the steak. A well-done steak will be hot throughout, and will not have any pink or red coloration inside. Most chefs will recommend less cook time, especially when it’s a really high quality cut of meat. Rare or medium-rare steaks will have significant pink or red coloration (and will also be cool) in the middle. Even a medium-well steak will have some pink coloration. It’s really only a well-done steak that is completely brown/gray all throughout. There’s another designation known as “blue,” which is cooked even less than “rare.” A steak that’s cooked “blue” is only seared on the outside, and is completely red/raw on the inside. If you want to go completely raw, there are dishes like steak tartare — but this is best left to a consummate professional.
3. Understand the differences between high and low quality steaks
What’s the difference between a quality cut like Wagyu or Kobe beef, or USDA Prime grade, and the legions of lower-quality steaks? Quite a lot, actually. Those higher quality cuts are generally from genetically superior animals who live natural lives and eat a natural diet. The result is a higher nutritional content, more marbling, more tenderness, and that dynamite flavor steak lovers are always chasing.
4. Try something new
Steak lovers often stick to what they know, and of course this is a good strategy. You’re likely to be satisfied when you know exactly what you’re getting, and you know you’ve been happy with it in the past. But steak is actually a diverse cuisine. There are a lot of different cuts to try, and a lot of different sides and beverages to go with it. Branching out and trying something new can be very rewarding. It can also remind you of why you go back to your old standby.
5. Be honest with wait staff
Many people have a hard time being honest with wait staff if something about their order isn’t right, or if they’re not really enjoying the food. More often than not, wait staff (and kitchen staff, for that matter) will be sympathetic and want to make things right. If not, the steakhouse in question is probably not the most reputable place. Being honest when asked about your meal is good for the steakhouse and good for you. But if you pretend everything is great, the wait staff will take your word for it — and they’ll never have a chance to make things right for you.
Find a high quality steakhouse
If you really want the highest quality steakhouse experience, there’s no substitute for finding an establishment that takes its work seriously. Sifting through the huge variety of steakhouses out there, and finding one that really offers a high level of quality, may require a little digging — but it’s worth it!