It’s National Steakhouse Month. We have a civic duty to celebrate (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it). And while steakhouse dining seems simple, ordering and receiving the perfect steak takes some know-how …
As the summer season rolls in my family usually turns to the great outdoors for sizzling meals on the grill, casual backyard gatherings and sometimes, a cookout over open flame. But wait! There are still menus to plan, side dishes to prepare and dirty dishes to conquer. I love to cook, but a meal out once in awhile is sweet relief. Can I justify spending a few extra food dollars for a mouthwatering meal? Absolutely — especially in June. It’s Steakhouse Month!
Each restaurant has its own personality. There’s the classic steakhouse with traditional décor and menu options; modern eateries with sleek interiors and artistic plate presentations. There are steakhouses with a funky vibe, family atmosphere or neighborhood style.
Restaurants are as unique as the individuals preparing the meals. The first challenge is to find the one that’s right for you. And a piece of advice: pay attention to who’s cooking. A chef’s personal style sets the tone of the entire meal.
Tip No. 1: Be as specific as possible when ordering a steak.
Explain your expectations to the server — if you prefer medium rare, give the description of a warm center with bright red color. If you opt for medium, tell the server you want a hot center with medium-pink throughout. When you don’t know the chef, be very explicit about temperature and seasoning. If you’re dining at a restaurant renowned for its fine food, let the chef work his or her magic. Brush up on degrees of doneness here.
Tip No. 2: Order your favorite steak cut.
My favorites include a Certified Angus Beef ® strip steak and the robust and beefy ribeye, cooked to medium-rare. I encourage you to try a variety of steaks and determine your favorite. When ordering, expect and demand that standard of excellence. You won’t be disappointed. Learn the characteristics of your favorite beef cuts.
Tip No. 3: Don’t be afraid to send it back.
If you get a less than stellar steak, tell your server right away. You’re paying good money for a great dining experience. The chef’s goal is to make you happy — that’s why they join the hospitality business. The chef wants you to be pleased, and the restaurant should gladly make it right for you. Ensure a great meal by dining at the best steakhouses. Find restaurants nearby that serve the best steaks.
Tip No. 4: Consider ordering the special.
Many times, daily specials are an opportunity for chefs to “play” or be creative with ingredients. It’s their time to shine. Chefs often test new menu items in the form of nightly specials. And they appreciate your feedback!
Tip No. 5: Ask to speak to the chef.
A friend, also a chef, told me to think of it this way: “We just invited you into our ‘home’. Seeing your smile, knowing you enjoyed the meal, is what it’s all about. We want to know!” A word of caution, though. “It’s extremely difficult for a chef to leave the kitchen during dinner service. In that case, leave us a note. It will be the highlight of our night!”