Steakhouses are a classic American dining experience. They can be found in practically every city, large and small and while the quality can vary from restaurant to restaurant there are some surprising gems on most menus that aren’t just steak, potatoes, and wedge salads.
4. Decide on Dessert First
If you’re a dessert person, you know it. You have that special section of your stomach reserved just for chocolate cake, flan or creme brulee. Since dining at a steakhouse is probably a special night out why not go all the way and plan your meal around a dessert? If the dessert menu isn’t on the regular menu, there’s no shame in asking to see the dessert tray as you’re ordering cocktails. This way you can make sure not to fill up on lackluster appetizers or sides you might not really care for, and instead save those calories for a decadent dessert. Consider splitting a larger main dish with a dining companion so you can enjoy a third, or fourth, course.
3. Try a Classic
While most steakhouses these days certainly have plenty of new and modern items on their menus, there’s something to be said for the old classics. A porterhouse, Steak Diane flambéed at the table, a classic iceberg wedge salad with blue cheese dressing, creamed spinach, Steak au Poivre or a giant ribeye are all blasts from the past that are worth ordering in most steakhouses worth their salt.
2. Sideline Yourself
The funny thing about steakhouses is that in many ways they are a lot like a Thanksgiving dinner. Sure, everyone is there for the turkey, but once the meal gets started it’s clear that the real reason we’re here is for the sides. Creamed spinach, scalloped potatoes, and delicately sauced asparagus are all delicious ways to round out a meal. In fact, making an entire meal of these sides would be decadent, even while leaving out the steak! Not to mention that steakhouses have done more for the lowly potato than anywhere else on earth. A fully loaded potato now comes with what is essentially several slices worth of bacon crumbled on top.
1. Go Big!
These large steaks that are often prepared for two at classic steakhouses are usually worth the trouble. Because they are larger and contain more bone and fat on them they usually have a stronger, more assertive flavor. Porterhouses and seared ribeyes all have more flavor than the more expensive and small fillets or sirloins. These larger pieces of meat require more skill to cook properly, and so most chefs take special care to show off their expertise with sauces, cooking methods, and finishes. The quality of these larger cuts of meats is also more readily apparent, as even a cheap filet is still quite tender and will taste fine when wrapped in the customary bacon.