Whether for dad’s birthday or a special anniversary, a steakhouse can be a great place to celebrate and enjoy a delicious meal with friends or family. Ideally, the food, ambiance, and service will all be perfect. Sometimes, though, things don’t turn out as planned. When it comes to dining at a steakhouse, there are plenty of complaints that diners may have, especially when expectations (and prices) are high. Read on for three of the most common complaints against steakhouses and some ideas for how to avoid them.

1. Steak wasn’t cooked right

A nice steak dinner isn’t cheap. So when something isn’t just how you’d like it, it can be especially frustrating. Any steak enthusiast knows the pain of a poorly cooked steak, especially if it’s overcooked because the damage is done and there’s no undoing it. Steak that spends too long on the grill or in the oven can be tough and chewy, a far cry from the tender melt-in-your-mouth steak you were expecting. A high quality steakhouse should have chefs in the kitchen that are experts in what they do and for whom cooking steak to perfection is second nature. Aren’t sure how to order your steak? Don’t be afraid to ask the waiter what the chef recommends and then adjust to fit your personal preferences.

2. Service was slow

If you’re shelling out big bucks for a steak dinner, you expect phenomenal food and great service. And nothing can kill the mood like a painfully slow wait staff. When it comes to taking orders, refilling drinks, delivering food, and clearing plates, an attentive wait staff can make a dining experience exceptional. On the other hand, sluggish service can ruin the evening. Don’t forget that when you’re looking for the perfect steakhouse, service matters just as much as food.

3. Waiter was clueless

High-end steakhouses distinguish themselves with impeccable attention to detail. This applies to the décor, food preparation, and wait staff. As with any nice restaurant, any waiter or waitress at a good steakhouse should know the ins and outs of the menu, including the cuts of different steaks, recommendations for how well a given cut should be cooked, and appropriate wine pairings for different items on the menu. A steakhouse that invests time and training in their wait staff is bound to provide a much better experience than one that doesn’t.

Choosing the Perfect Steakhouse

Given that there are plenty of things that can ruin a steakhouse dinner, it’s important to invest some time into finding the perfect option near you. Read reviews online looking for trends in customer satisfaction both with the food and with the service. Don’t just look at ratings, but actually read a range of reviews to find out what diners loved and hated about a given steakhouse. Spending a bit of time on the front end to research your options will increase the likelihood that your steak is cooked to perfection and your experience does not disappoint.