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Top 5 Signs you are in a Great Restaurant

If you take your meals at restaurants on a regular basis, chances are that you have overheard a few complaints regarding the service, food quality, arrangement, and many other things. These issues might have made you think twice about visiting that facility again. So, what really makes a good restaurant?

Is it the food, the surrounding, the service, the general staff, or the ambience? All these factors are very important to look at when searching for an incredible restaurant. Nevertheless, there are a few signs that can automatically tell you that you are in an outstanding restaurant, as discussed in this article.

Outstanding Food

The only reason why people go to restaurants is to get food, and these people expect to enjoy a great meal. A great restaurant does not take chances when it comes to serving high-quality food. Such a restaurant sets high standards in regards to the quality of food served. The restaurant works hard to ensure customers get the same high-quality service every single time.

Most restaurants pay a lot of attention to the ambience, forgetting the food. Many people like fresh homemade food. In fact, the simpler the menu, the better the food. Good food makes people feel comfortable visiting the restaurant, and they gain more trust in the establishment. Fancy and complicated dishes create a bad customer experience, as they will have no idea what dishes to choose.

Tasty food and great service makes a restaurant earn good reputation, making customers return to the facility regularly and even bring their friends. Furthermore, an outstanding restaurant will have a professional chef that prepares meal using the best possible ingredients, all the time, to ensure a consistent service. If the restaurant you go to does not offer fantastic food, then that is not a great restaurant.

Excellent Service

A great service can lift up average food. However, tasty food can never make up for a bad restaurant service. For you to know whether you are in a great restaurant, the staff must show passion in the service their offer. They should exhibit a work ethic that aims to make their customers happy. Floor staff members that are experienced and know their job, see the most fleeting expressions of frustration, and even the slightest issues such as a napkin drop.

Great floor staff is never intrusive and barely breaks in a conversation before the right moment. They get the atmosphere of your engagement with loved ones, and will get the sense to stay away if you look like you are having a romantic moment or an argument. Moreover, the staff will have a deep understanding of the menu and will explain it without using notes. The wait staff should never raise an eyebrow if you ask them to take back a pie to be cooked the way you want it, or bring you ice-cubes. Such a service will mean that you are in a good restaurant, which you should make your regular spot.

Great Restaurants are Comfortable

Another thing you need to look at when evaluating whether you are dining in a good restaurant is the quality of comfort offered. The food can be amazing, but the restaurant has to be properly designed to bring offer the best possible experience to its customers. Good restaurants are unique and work hard to incorporate the design into the food and service. They should reflect a mindset and personality of the customer.

Chairs should be comfortable to sit on, and should never be in a high-traffic area or offer a bad view. A great restaurant pays attention to details and sets the right mood for its customers. Noise is another essential sign to look at. Noise control for restaurateurs can be tricky, and only a few restaurants get this right. Even if the restaurant plays some music, you should still be able to hold a conversation without struggle. There should be a balance between awkward silence and having to scream at your loved ones.

The temperature is another essential element. The restaurant should have good interior design and the right equipment to make sure there are no drastic temperature changes.

The Level of Cleanliness

A clean restaurant indicates that its owner has high standards and cares for your health too. It also probably shows that the restaurant offers outstanding food and great service. Cleanliness contributes greatly to the restaurant’s overall ambiance. When you get into a restaurant and realize the tables are not properly cleaned, or the floors are full of debris, then you should automatically know that you are not in a good establishment.
The level of cleanliness extends to the bathrooms, where clean and fresh bathrooms indicate a restaurant’s standards. A great restaurant should look clean and well structured. This helps create a positive mood that ensures a good dining experience.

Great Wine Service

Great restaurants often have a list of wine at a variety of price points. They do this by mixing up recognizable names and boutique drops, created by an expert instead of working with a product from a single wine representative with their own objective. Good restaurants serve wine at the table with the right glassware, and at the correct temperature. The staff serving should understand the different brands available and should guide you to ensure you make the right decision. This will depend on your budget and preferred taste.

Every person has had an experience in dining at a restaurant. Whether good or bad, people have their own unique standards and opinions when it comes to restaurants. Nevertheless, there are basic rules that great restaurants abide to, which enable them to be successful. The most important factor to pay attention to is the food. Without good food, a restaurant can never be great. Other essential elements include customer service, ambience, and overall comfort. These and many more factors can make or break a restaurant, making them great signs to consider when evaluating whether a restaurant is great.

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Top 5 Side Dishes to go with a Perfect Steak

For a special dinner at home, or just a random night at your favorite restaurant, there is no better meal to have than steak. However, although steak might be your main attraction, it is always better to have it with something else. Keeping this fact in mind, we have come up with awesome ideas for tasty side dishes you can have with your favorite piece of steak.

Dishes that go well with Perfect Steak

1. Potatoes

Nothing goes better with a prime cut of steak than potatoes. Whether mashed, baked, or roasted, potatoes are guaranteed to make a steak dinner more delicious.

Potatoes of any kind go well with perfect steak. However, if you would like a more sophisticated touch, we recommend that you try out truffle-mashed potatoes. They offer a rich flavor, and truffle, which combine to create a savory and creamy side dish to consume with your steak.

Potato Side Dishes for Steak

  • Sweet Potato Fries
  • Sweet potatoes are incredible wedges, and work well with steak.

  • Crispy Hassel-back Potatoes
  • These potatoes offer both taste and novelty to a dish, and add visual contrast to your steak.

  • Traditional Chips
  • If you feel like you can handle it, you can consider deep-frying your chips and enjoy them with your perfect steak.

  • Baked Skinny Fries
  • If you are concerned about the calorie content of your dinner, you can consider baking your fries.

  • Mashed Potatoes
  • If you want a classic steak-and-potatoes meal, you cannot get something better than what this recipe offers.

    2. Asparagus

    Asparagus is a healthy vegetable that makes steak taste delicious.

    Asparagus Variations for Steak

    Here are a few examples of how you can consume steak with asparagus.

  • Roasted Asparagus and Steak
  • As you cook your steak, consider roasting the asparagus in your oven to accentuate the sweet flavor of this vegetable. You can add balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, or Parmesan cheese to boost the overall taste.

  • Seared Steak with Basil Butter, Spring Onions, and Asparagus
  • This outstanding dish brings the steakhouse home, offering a combination of pan-grilled asparagus, a compound of basil butter, and spring onions.

    3. Salads

    Consuming steak with salad offers you a lighter option compared to starchier and heavier dishes like mushrooms and potatoes.

    For salads, we recommend that you prepare a simple arugula salad with tomato on top. If you would like to go with veggies, consider going with a summer squash salad or grilled zucchini. To do this, just throw some zucchini and squash on the grill with the steak, and allow them to get nice and charred. You can also use toasted pecans to add flavor to the grilled veggies. Using toasted pecans helps add an intense nuttiness, which shines through the subtle flavor of the grilled vegetables.

    Good Salads for Steak

  • Potato, Snap Pea and Pickle Salad
  • This is a delicious version of a warm potato salad, but with lots of little bites and scallions.

  • Warm Chicory Salad with Mushrooms
  • You can use this salad with wild mushrooms, or consider substituting with sliced pears.

  • Grilled Zucchini Salad
  • Place zucchini slices on the grill and allow them to hang out in a lemon oregano dressing to absorb the rich favor. Let the zucchini absorb as you prepare the steak, and serve the two together.

  • Broccoli Salad
  • Broccoli salad provides one of the best light crunches to go with your steak.

  • Tomato Chickpea Salad
  • You can make this salad while the steak is in the grill. While preparing it, be sure to crisp up the chickpeas, as this will help add an extra crunch.

  • Minty Snap Pea Salad
  • This refreshing salad comes with bite-sized balls of milky mozzarella that ups your overall steak experience.

    4. Rice

    Rice is the number one grain that fuels the world. It is easy to grow, nutritious, and cheap to purchase. This is the main reason why it is a staple food for numerous people around the globe. A combination of rice and beef offers a tasty meal that is not only a favorite for many, but also quite economical.

    Rice Variations for a Perfect Steak Meal

  • Cilantro Lime Rice
  • If you would like to dress up your steak with some chimichurri sauce, then you must consider cilantro lime rice to go alongside it.

  • Fluffy Rice with Peas & Potatoes
  • A great way to add vegetables into your meal is to include them in your rice. Most of the flavor comes from added spices like turmeric, curry leaves, and cumin seeds, but what really makes up the dish are potatoes and peas. This side dish goes incredibly well with some good steak.

  • Butter Squash Rice Casserole
  • You do not have to worry about preparing rice and vegetables differently. Instead, you can consider making them together in this butter squash rice casserole. While this is cooking, you can be preparing your steak. Just serve the two together when done.

    5. Mushrooms

    Mushrooms are loved for their butter and beefy richness that they possess. These characteristics make them delicious side dishes for all kinds of meals. Although mushrooms can be very easy to make, they can turn out gummy and terrible if not perfectly done.

    If you love mushrooms, you will have an awesome experience consuming them with your favorite piece of steak. Mushrooms make the whole meal heart, rich, and delicious.

    The Best Mushroom Variations to go with Steak

  • Garlic Parmesan Tuscan Mushrooms
  • This offers a delicious and easy to prepare side dish to go with steak. The good thing about this diet is that you can do it very quickly, and it does not break your low carb diet needs.

    Having the perfect steak requires you to dedicate some time to select a good side dish to go with it. Adding some puddles of sauce or fries makes the meal decadent, while serving it with a simple salad leads up to a lean and nutritious supper for you to enjoy. Your cut of steak needs a good plate mate. So, choose wisely.

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    Top 3 Cuts of Steak and Why

    The steak aisle is one of the most loved sections of a local supermarket. Well, there is a good reason behind this – a big, beautiful slab of beef is not only appealing to the eye, but also nutritious during either lunch or dinner time.

    To ensure you have the best possible beef on your plate, you need a great understanding of steak cuts. This is because a steak cut can make or break your mealtime. Different cuts have distinct qualities. This article will look at the top 3 cuts you need to know about and why.

    Selecting the Best Cut of Steak

    Before looking at the top steak cuts, you need to understand a few things regarding choosing the right cut of steak. First, you need to understand that not all steaks are equal. Some steaks like blade steak, tip steak, sirloin steak, and even round steak are not good options for cooking the best steak. Instead, consider going with options like porterhouse, ribeye, strip steak, and tenderloin. These steaks have great tenderness and marbling to give you that outstanding flavor.

    Some important factors you need to look at when purchasing steak include:

    Marbling

    One thing you should consider looking at when purchasing a cut of steak is those white lines running through the beef. Marbling is another name for fat running through the beef, which almost looks like thin veins. Many people hate having fat in their steak. However, marbling offers your steak with flavor and tenderness. In addition to this, it offers your beef with the perfect texture you expect. The more marbling your cut of steak is, the better it is. At most times, the amount of marbling goes with the price. Therefore, a steak with more marbling will often be pricier than the one less.

    Thickness

    For any cut of steak you plan to purchase, one important factor you should consider looking at is the thickness. Although thinner cuts are easier to cook, they can be quite hard to master. An extra minute while preparing, and your delicious meat can turn into a mess. With thicker cuts, you get more time to work with, meaning you can achieve that perfect meal without overcooking.

    If you are purchasing your steak at the local supermarket, you might find that you have limited options, in terms of thickness, to choose. However, if you are buying at a specialty meat store or butcher shop, you will be able to specify how thick you want your steak. Consider going for an average thickness, between 1-2 inches. This is a great option because too thin steak might cause you to miss on the luxurious experience of consuming perfect and juicy steak. On the other hand, if your steak is too thick, you might undercook it. In addition, too much thickness makes your steal a bit awkward to eat.

    Our Top Cuts of Steak

    This is one of the toughest parts when choosing the right cut of steak to cook. There are many different cuts of steak, which are ideal for pan-frying, grilling, or baking. Grill experts can make any type of steak cook perfectly. However, there are cuts that we prefer over others. Here are our top 3 cuts of steak, and the reasons why we chose them:

    T-Bone

    T-bone steak is cut from the front part of the short loin, which is close to the stomach than the rear. T-bone cuts are very popular at steakhouses due to their wonderful flavor and tenderness. Some of the best ways to cook this type of steak include broiling and grilling.

    Pros

    • A T-bone provides you with two steaks in one. This is a great treat for anyone that loves steak.
    • As far as it is cooked correctly, T-bone provides a nice and juice flavor.
    • T-bones are quite thick, making them incredible for the grill.

    Cons

    • The T-bone is quite expensive compared to other cuts of steak.
    • T-bones are two types of steak, making them difficult to prepare.

    Ribeye

    Also referred to as Delmonico steak, Scotch fillet, market steak, and beauty steak, ribeye is steak cut from the front part of the longissimus dorsi, around the rib area. This cut is highly marbled and has fat separating the spinalis from the longissimus. The ribeye’s distinctive flavor comes from this fat, which makes it one of the richest and beefiest you can purchase. Grilling and pan-frying are all great ways to cook this cut of steak.

    Pros

    • Ribeye steak is flavorful and tender, when properly prepared.
    • Ribeye is ideal for the grill because it can cook over high heat and remain tasty.

    Cons

    • Due to its high marbling, ribeye requires extra care when cooking.

    Strip Steak

    Also known as Kansas City strip, shell steak, top loin, and New York strip, the strip steak is derived from the longissimus dorsi muscle, close to the rear part of the steer, and behind the ribs. Since strip steak has a tight texture, it is moderately tender. It also has a strong beefy flavor, courtesy of good marbling. Although strip steak is not as robust as ribeye, it is very easy to trim, cook, and cut into small pieces. Broiling, pan-frying, and grilling are some of the best ways to prepare this cut of meat.

    Pros

    • Strip steak is the most affordable cut on this list.
    • Strip steak offers many cooking options and can be prepared on the grill, pan, or oven.

    Cons

    • Since the short loin occupies a large area, it can be hard selecting the right strip steak.

    The first step in cooking steak is selecting the best cut. With so many steaks to choose from, selecting the best cut can be quite overwhelming. Luckily, we are here to help you out. You want a steak that is not only tender, but also has plenty of marbling. T-bone, ribeye, and strip steaks fulfill all the needs of a good steak. With these three options to choose from, your meal will barely go wrong.

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    Does “Bone-In” Steak Have Better Flavor?

    Although steak is a culinary area that prides itself on maintaining high standards (at least amongst serious steakhouses), it’s still an area where tastes and traditions vary wildly. Dinner at a lauded Brazilian steakhouse, for example, will (and should) be a different experience than dinner a classic American steakhouse, or a Japanese steakhouse, or a French steakhouse – the list goes on.

    The one thing we all have on common, both as lovers of steak and as creators of the steakhouse experience, is beef. We need the quality of the meat to be high, with specific qualities that translate to better flavor – such as marbling. We like steak that comes from reputable sources that use high quality practices in order to raise healthy cattle. When it comes to steak, this is where quality begins.

    But let’s explore the question at hand: Does bone-in steak have a better flavor? The answer is entirely dependent on the quality and source of the beef – as well as the chef who is preparing it. No matter what, a high-quality T-bone steak from a reputable source, prepared by an expert chef, is going to taste better than a filet mignon that’s low on the quality spectrum. Steaks are so complex and variable that it’s sometimes futile to make broad characterizations about what cuts of steaks are better than others.

    Some people swear that flavor from the bone actually gets into the meat during the cooking process. This is a nice idea, but is it true? Believe it or not, researchers have actually studies this, and seem unable to find clear evidence that the flavor of a bone-in steak will be different or altered somehow by the bone itself.

    It’s worth noting, however, that the rib-eye steak (which obviously is an example of a bone in steak) is consistently at the top of lists that rank the best cuts of beef. Again, these things are a personal preference; but ribeye is definitely a favorite amongst steakhouse chefs and steak aficionados. The deep marbling of that particular cut of beef makes the meat incredibly tender and flavorful; but as to whether it takes so good because they’re a bone inside, that will probably always be cause for debate.

    These questions are really more rhetorical than anything ­– because we all know that when you sink your teeth into a great-tasting steak, you’re enjoying the moment. There are some incredible bone-in steaks out there, and a good steakhouse chef knows how to prepare them properly. There are also some incredible boneless cuts to enjoy. Once again, preparation is key. Most of us have had the experience of buying an expensive steak or piece of fish at the market, and being disappointed with the final result. That’s why steakhouse chefs have years of experience and training.

    Part of being a steakhouse aficionado is gaining experience with the different cuts and qualities of steak, so that you can truly start to make your own judgements about which steaks are most enjoyable to you.

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    3 Modern Steakhouse Trends

    When it comes to cuisine, things are constantly evolving. In the modern day and age, we have innumerable examples of fusion and invention in the kitchen – that’s what makes food so great. It’s an ongoing conversation, and new discoveries are constantly being made.

    There are also those things that have a timeless quality, and don’t seem to change no matter how much the world changes. The steakhouse experience is arguably one of those things. The beauty of a steakhouse is in the simplicity as much as anything else. If you have super high quality cuts of beef, a skilled chef in the kitchen, high quality sides, and a nice atmosphere, there’s arguably very little that can or should go wrong. With that said, here are 2 modern steakhouse trends you should know about.

    1. New atmospheres

    Atmosphere or “aesthetic” is one of the things that’s mostly likely to change over the years as some steakhouses close down and other ones open for business. You might have a more “open” and contemporary look, or you might see a more thematic or conceptual take that involves different rooms, lower ceilings, or any number of features. Nobody is saying that atmosphere isn’t an important part of the steakhouse experience – but in the grand scheme of things, it’s more about what’s on the plate.

    2. Gluten free options

    Gluten free is, of course, a big trend lately. You see it everywhere on menus, TV shows, web sites, blogs. Steak has the luxury of being naturally gluten-free – but this cannot be said for warm buttered bread (unless it is gluten free). Still, if you’re into the gluten-free diet, your local steakhouse is a good place to fill up and be satisfied without touching any wheat gluten. At least you can enjoy the smell of the fresh-baked bread.

    3. Locally sourced

    This is one thing that really can add quality and freshness to the table; which is good for any type of restaurant, including the steakhouse. It’s obviously not always possible to source local produce, depending on where a steakhouse is located. But freshness and quality of ingredients are hugely important; talent in the kitchen cannot make up for bad ingredients. Even adding a few local and vibrant ingredients can make a big difference.

    It’s still all about the steak

    It’s obviously true that steakhouses will continue to change and try new things as time goes on. But it’s probably also true that the core of the steakhouse experience will be the same twenty or thirty years from now as it is today, and as it was twenty or thirty years ago – or sixty years ago for that matter, when some of the world’s classic steakhouses hosted some of the world’s best entertainers. There is a timeless quality to a good steakhouse. That doesn’t mean they won’t try new things, but there is also an argument for sticking with what works. When you come across a fine steakhouse with expertly curated meat prepared by talented and experienced chefs, the rest should fall into place, and you should come away with a classic and satisfying steakhouse experience.

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    Steak Etiquette 101

    Going out for a steak is routine business for a lot of people. In fact, a lot of people head to steakhouses for actual business meetings and dinners. Others just want a good cut of beef. Maybe it’s been too long since the last steakhouse experience, or maybe you’re the kind of aficionado who heads out regularly to your local chophouse. You might even be someone who visits a steakhouse only on special occasions.

    In any case, it’s common for people to visit a high-end steakhouse they’ve never visited before, and find themselves wondering about proper steakhouse etiquette. Is there such a thing? For example, is there a right and wrong way to order a steak? What about silverware and other aspects of table etiquette? Are there any other etiquette-related issues to be aware of before making steakhouse reservations?

    The answer is that stuffy or snobby etiquette is generally something to avoid at steakhouses. It’s about creating a warm and friendly experience that is also high professional. It’s not about making people feel uncomfortable, or beholden to a lot of pesky rules.

    Dress code is something you’ll definitely want to be aware of, as there are plenty of high-end establishments out there that require a dinner jacket or a dress. Showing up for your reservation and being told that you’re not dressed properly to enter the dining room is an experience that every steak lover wants to avoid. These days, the finest chophouses are more likely to be full of customers who are dressed in a casual but modest way. Dress codes are often unspoken, if they do exist.

    In terms of ordering a steak and asking questions, customers should feel very comfortable. It’s true that steakhouse chefs generally don’t like preparing a steak “well done” – but then, you’re going to be the one eating the steak. It’s your preference that matters, no matter what steak you order, or how you order it cooked. A waiter may offer suggestions, and valuable information about the source and quality of various cuts – but it’s ultimately up to you.

    Etiquette will also depend upon present company. For example, if you’re at a steakhouse with a potential business partner or first date, you’ll probably want to avoid things like leaving your cloth napkin on the table, or chewing on your steak bone at the end of the meal. These are common sense points of etiquette that hold true for any type of restaurant.

    Generally speaking, steakhouses often have a reputation for being “stately” and a bit more formal in their presentation of great steak; but steakhouses that put more emphasis on appearances than they do on food are quickly falling out of fashion.

    It’s all about the steak

    One thing you can be sure about – places that focus heavily on appearances and etiquette may not actually be the right choice if you’re looking for top quality steak. That’s not always the case – there are certainly some fancy steakhouses that deliver where it counts. On the whole, most steak aficionados and casual steak lovers head for establishments that have a good mix of warmth and professionalism.

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    Why the Source of Your Steak Matters

    There’s been something of a revolution in the food world lately, and it’s been a very good thing for people who demand quality and freshness. We’re talking about the desire to know where the food came from – to know, in other words, the “source” of the food. If we rewind the clock twenty or thirty years, very few cafés and restaurants were focused on offering ‘local’ food. Today, the concept is everywhere. When food is ‘locally sourced,’ it supports communities and offers a higher degree of freshness and quality – at least that’s the way it’s supposed to work. This is a good thing because it puts more focus on the way food is grown, and the standards of quality that go into it.

    Knowing the source is especially important when you’re talking about steak. Depending on the animals and the various practices used in raising and processing them, the quality of the steak itself will vary tremendously. There are sources of steak out there that are highly reputable, and known for the superior grade of beef they produce. Other sources are owned by large corporations, or smaller unscrupulous companies who do not necessarily use the best practices for quality.

    When you taste that first succulent bite of steak at a high-level steakhouse, you’re tasting the standards of quality used not only in preparing the steak, but in raising the animal. Local conditions also play a big role in how a specific cut of beef turns out on the plate. Just as with wine, seasonal vegetables and other goods, beef is a product of its environment. A nice piece of Kobe beef imported from Japan, for example, will have a different flavor and texture profile than a USDA Prime cut of beef raised on a cattle ranch in Montana. Knowing where the beef comes from actually enhances the steakhouse experience, and makes it more interactive.

    There are a lot of people who prefer to simply take the chef’s word for it, and that’s fine too. When you know a great steakhouse and you trust the people in the kitchen, you can ask if there’s anything really good and fresh. The waiter should have no problem recommending specific steaks to you, and discussing the source and other details. This is a great way to get acquainted with cuts of beef from various sources that you might know have previously known about, and it gives you an opportunity to compare and contrast your steakhouse experiences with more information about the steak itself.

    Where’s the beef?

    When you want a seriously high quality cut of beef, straight from a highly reputable source, you could head for the butcher. This is a great way to learn more about steaks and where they come from. You might also learn about specific local suppliers, their practices, and the quality of their product. But if you just want an excellent steak served hot with your favorite sides, a celebrated local steakhouse is your best bet. If the source of the various steaks doesn’t appear on the menu, be sure to ask. You might be surprised by what you hear, and how your steakhouse experience is enhanced.

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    When is the Best Time to Visit a Steakhouse?

    The question of when is the best time to visit a steakhouse can be answered any number of ways. You could pare it down to when “during the day” is the best time to visit a steakhouse; in which case, most people would say dinnertime. The steak dinner is nothing less than an institution, and indeed, this is when the vast majority of steak lovers go for their steak during a 24 hour period. The work of the day is done, and it’s time to relax in good company and refuel. For those who enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine, it might be time to order something from the bar. When the night is done, you walk out of there with a fully satisfied feeling.

    There is, however, something to be said for a steakhouse lunch. For those looking to stay a little lighter during the day, your local chop house might have small cuts and lunch specials that give you all the satisfaction of a quality steakhouse experience, but with a smaller bill at the end. A lot of high-end steakhouses do a very brisk lunch trade every day, because they’re focused on quality and providing options that people appreciate more during the day. Even if you’re having a day out and the town, and your steakhouse lunch has nothing at all to do with business, it’s still a very enjoyable experience.

    Now what about breakfast? Surely we can’t forget about that. Your high-end chophouses (in the vast majority of cases) are definitely not open at this hour; but there are a lot of breakfast joints that serve up steak and eggs, steak burritos, and all manner of steak platters to start the day. Some of them are actually quite good, if you know where to look. Breakfast may not be the most popular time to have a steak, but that’s only because steak is so popular.

    You could also ask when during the calendar year is the best time to visit a steakhouse, to which there is no clear answer. There is something special about the warmth of a good steakhouse on a cold winter evening, but walking out of your favorite local steakhouse into a balmy summer night is also an experience not to be missed. Or you could say that special occasions are the best time to visit a steakhouse. A lot of people reserve trips to the best chop houses for a special occasion, and there’s good reason for this: The whole experience really should feel special, unique, in a warm environment where everything is taken care of, and expectations are exceeded.

    This last point is important; because this is simply not going to be the case at every single steakhouse you visit. Even if you research the area carefully, you still might have an experience that you just didn’t care for. But for the most part, good steakhouses are known for upholding great standards, night after night, and constantly exceeding the expectations of guests.

    So go ahead and visit a steakhouse whenever you want, just make sure it’s a good one!

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    Can Steak Be a Healthy Part of Your Diet?

    When it comes to staying healthy, there is always a new piece of information, a new diet, or a new exercise fad that people are talking about. Obviously, we all want to stay as fit and healthy as possible – but it’s hard to make sense of things when the information is always changing.

    Chocolate and red wine are great examples. One minute, we hear that they’re good for the heart. The next minute, we hear that one or the other is linked to certain illnesses. For a lot of people, the experience of a good piece of dark chocolate, or a nice glass of red wine, tips the scales in favor of the “healthy” argument.

    Where does steak fit into this picture? There has been plenty of discussion on whether red meat is healthy, and if so, in what measure? Fortunately, we don’t have to guess at these questions – there is plenty of useful dialogue and information available.

    One of the potential health benefits of lean beef (much like chocolate and red wine) is that it seems to have heart benefits. According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people with diet rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains experienced lower levels of LDL cholesterol when they added around 5 ounces of lean beef to their diet every day. Some of the fats in beef (namely stearic acid and oleic acid) have been show to improve cholesterol levels.

    Another potential health benefit of steak involves the mood-lifting benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. These chemicals appear to protect against depression and anxiety disorders, according to an Australian study. When participates in the study consumed 1-2 ounces of beef per day, their odds of developing depression or anxiety were much lower. It’s worth noting that grass-fed animals produce more of these helpful omega-3 fatty acids.

    Let’s not forget that red meat (including beef, lamb and bison) is a great source of protein. There are also many other useful nutrients in a quality cut of beef, including iron, zinc, and vitamin B-12.

    Now obviously – all good things should be enjoyed in moderation. Eating an over-abundance of steak can lead to certain health issues, but this is true for virtually any food. Red meat is a regular part of the diet for a large proportion Americans (and people the world over) who lead healthy and active lifestyles.

    The trick may be – as your parents told you – to eat your vegetables. People are much more likely to reap the benefits of high quality red meat when they maintain a diet that’s high in veggies, fruits, and whole grains. If you keep up that side of things, and get plenty of exercise, your doctor is probably going to have a lot more positive things to say about your red meat intake.

    Everybody is different, and various dietary choices can affect people in different ways – but one thing is for sure: it’s difficult to argue with the taste, flavor, and satisfaction of an expertly prepared cut from a reputable steakhouse!

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    4 Wines that Pair Well with Steak

    Pairing wine with food is a very old and complex practice. You’ve probably been to an upscale restaurant where a sommelier, or wine steward, makes recommendations on food and wine pairings. There are professional associations all over the world for maintaining standards in this area, and it takes years of dedication and hard work to gain recognition as a professional sommelier.

    At the same time, pairing wine with food is not something reserved only for trained professionals and dedicated foodies. It’s a common practice shared by everyone who appreciates a good glass of wine with a fine meal – and you don’t have to be an expert to know a good pairing when you taste it!

    When you think about your next steakhouse visit, wine might not be the first thing that comes to mind. Maybe you prefer a cold beer with your steak, or a craft cocktail, or maybe you’re rather stick with water or soda. But if you haven’t ever tried pairing a glass of wine with a fine steak, it’s definitely worth a try.

    1. Cabernet Sauvignon

    This red wine is often the “go to” when it comes to steak. Due to its full-bodied and fruity taste, it pairs nicely with the succulent and full-bodied flavor of a high quality steak. A sommelier could explain much better than we can, but Cabernet Sauvignon has a high alcohol content and plenty of tannins from the skin of the grapes. This gives Cabernet a smooth finish that really brings out the flavor of a good cut.

    2. Malbec

    This Argentinian red wine has been growing very popular lately, and we’re seeing it more and more in restaurants of all types. Best of all, Malbec pairs very well with steak. They love red meat in Argentina, and this is the most popular wine to pair with it. It has a very rich and flavorful profile that accentuates the flavor of a good steak, and it’s often among the more affordable wines on the list.

    3. California Zinfandel

    Another red wine that makes an excellent pairing with steak is a dark, flavorful California Zinfandel. This is a more acidic wine with fewer tannins than Cabernet Sauvignon, which means that Zinfandel goes very well with fatty steaks. If you’ve got a steak with really good marbling, consider pairing it with this wine. Interesting fact: Zinfandel is also sometimes used as a steak marinade.

    4. Rosé

    People often gravitate towards red wines when it comes to pairing with steak, and there is good reason for this – but don’t rule out a chilled, refreshing, crisp Rosé. This is always a popular pairing with steak or other grilled meats. A warm summer evening on the patio could be a perfect opportunity to try this combination for yourself.

    Ask your local steakhouse for recommendations!

    Now that you’ve got a grasp of wines that tend to be paired with steak, ask your waiter for recommendations from the wine list. Wine might not have been your first choice for steak, but once you experience a good pairing, you very well may want to repeat the experience!