Steak is often seen as an indulgence, or something you have only once in awhile, on a special occasion, and so forth. But the word “steak aficionado” is there for a reason, and there are a lot of folks out there who eat steak a lot more than “once in awhile.”
Either way, when you have steak, you want to make it count. What’s the point of ordering a steak at a place that’s going to serve low-quality beef that’s been frozen a long time? When you have a steak, you want it fresh, grilled to perfection, and from a reputable source.
Here are five things to look for in a steakhouse:
1. A smaller menu
We don’t mean that every steakhouse menu should be a single card with one or two options – it’s nice to be able to choose your steak from many options and pair it with sides and appetizers of your choice. But often times, when you see a “steakhouse” with an expansive menu offering every kind of cuisine, it means you’re not really in a dedicated steakhouse. The best steakhouses use quality ingredients and design their menus carefully, to reflect the style and creativity of that particular steakhouse.
2. A knowledgeable waiter
The waitstaff at high quality steakhouse really have tried everything on the menu. This is usually a mandatory part of their staff training; to try small portions of everything, and have the chef explain what it is they’re tasting. That’s how they’re able to pass that information onto. That doesn’t mean you can’t visit a great steakhouse with a clueless waiter, but it’s often not the best sign when your waiter doesn’t know much about what’s on the menu.
3. A comfortable atmosphere
There are actually a lot of good steakhouses out there without any TVs. This makes for a dimmer, calmer, and more conversation ambiance overall. Again, there are also many great steakhouses with plenty of TVs. But in either case, the atmosphere should be stylish and comfortable. Traditional steakhouses with dim lighting and posh furniture are always classic; but contemporary designs with neutral colors and brighter lighting can also work very well. You’ll know a comfortable and stylish steakhouse when you see it; and the proof will be in what’s on the table.
4. High quality steaks
This one is obvious. It is possible for a steakhouse to be too “over the top” and descriptive about their steaks, but some vital information is nice. Really good steakhouses will tell you where the meat comes from – and if the menu doesn’t tell you how it was fed and raised, the waiter will be able to fill in the blanks with true information.
5. A good value
Some steakhouses deserve to charge a thousand dollars for a meal, with the effort and attention they put in. But the real art is in bringing an incredible experience down into the realm of a great overall value. That value is determined by all of the factors listed here – but there’s really nothing better than a steakhouse experience that satisfies on all levels and doesn’t break the bank.