If you’re like most people, there are two types of steakhouse experience that stand out in memory. The first is a really great experience. We’re talking about a meal where everything was spot on, from the host who led you to your table, to the atmosphere and ambiance, to the wait service and ordering process, all the way to the amazing quality of the steak on your plate.
The other type of steakhouse experience people tend to remember is one that lands on the opposite end of the spectrum. From the moment you walk in, the service and atmosphere seem off. The waiter seems disinterested, and may not even know the answers to your questions. When the steak is set down in front of you, both the presentation and the taste are uninspiring. Then the bill comes, and the whole things seems to cost far more than it was worth.
All of the mediocre experiences that land between those two extremes are easily forgettable. Why? Because it’s really those great experiences you’re after, those steakhouses that leave an indelible mark on your memory — in a good way.
So how can you spot a “bad” or mediocre steakhouse before you walk in the door, and save yourself the trouble? Here are five signs of a bad steakhouse:
1. No information on where the steaks come from
One thing that definitely separates a high quality steakhouse from everyone else is the pride they have in the different cuts of meat they serve. Bad steakhouses don’t know much about the steak they’re offering — probably because there isn’t much to know.
2. Uncomfortable atmosphere or ambiance
It’s not just about the food — a good steakhouse experience is also about the surroundings, the tables, the cutlery, the décor. If a place looks drab and uninviting, chances are the rest of the experience will be on par with that — including the food.
3. Low ratings
Online ratings are perhaps your biggest ally when looking for the best steakhouses in your area. Look for establishments that earn consistently high scores amongst clients, and read the details of the reviews. You should be able to get an idea about the steakhouse fairly quickly from reading what other people have said.
4. Bargain basement prices
If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. This saying applies to so many different things, steakhouses included. If the cost of your steak dinner is unusually low, corners are definitely getting cut somewhere. A good value is one thing, but ultra-cheap steak dinners rarely satisfy the discerning patron.
5. Usually empty
One of the sure signs of a good steakhouse is a constant flow of customers in and out. If you walk by a steakhouse and it always seems to be empty, this is a strong sign that people are staying away for a reason. You might find a diamond in the rough that no one knows about yet, but in general, be wary of steakhouses that are constantly sitting empty.