If you live in a major commercial center like New York City, you’re bound to run up against a good steakhouse sooner or later – whether or not you really love steak. But this is not only true for the big apple: Steak is truly everywhere. It has become a part of the American tradition, and steakhouses are popping up (and disappearing) all the time.

Those steakhouses that stick around tend to do so for one of two reasons. Either there isn’t any decent competition in the area, or the steakhouse is exceptional, and has therefore been able to continue and thrive when other steakhouses folded and failed.

But have you discovered the best steakhouse in your area? This may not be something you’ve thought about – or you may assume you’ve found the best in your area. But it’s always worth asking yourself again, because the best steakhouses are usually miles above the competition.

What sets them apart?

The quality of the beef is obviously a big part of the answer to that question. When ultra-premium beef is purchased from reputable sources and transported quickly and safely, the freshness and quality are unbelievable in and of themselves. Throw in an expert steakhouse chef’s methods of preparation and a number of hearty sides; now you have a truly exceptional meal on the table.

It’s all about the details when it comes to serving a meal like this – but all roads lead back to the source of the beef, and the quality of the beef, an everything else about the beef. That’s the fundamental building block of a great steakhouse experience, and if your steakhouse isn’t sourcing a curated and high quality selection of exquisite cuts of steak, then it doesn’t matter how fancy the atmosphere or how good the cocktails. Not even a really good bunch of side dishes can make up for a steak that just doesn’t make the grade.

The best steakhouse in your area understands this very well. They’ll obviously source the best steaks around, and will strive to give their customers a unique and curated selection, just as a sommelier does with wine. Not only that, the good steakhouses want you to know about their steaks. The menu should make it clear where the beef came from, and should tell you something about the level of quality.

Beyond the steak, creative yet timeless side dishes are indispensable. A good bar that mixes quality cocktails, a carefully chosen wine and beer list, and plenty of family friendly options are also important details.

Finally, a word about service. The best steakhouse in your area, whatever it happens to be, will not skimp on service. This is a hugely important aspect of the dining experience. To be served a great steak by a rude waiter may be more pleasant than being served a bad steak by a friendly water, but there’s not reason to have on or the other. The service rendered by the waitstaff should always be consummate to the quality of the steak on offer.

Good luck finding the next great steakhouse in your area!