You Should Feel Awkward Ordering These Items At A Steakhouse

Stepping into a steakhouse, the aroma of seared beef fills the air, an ambiance of anticipation surrounds you, and a menu full of tempting options awaits. Yet, there’s a culinary minefield that can turn a sumptuous steak dinner into a dining faux pas faster than a well-done steak loses its juice. This article peels back the tablecloth on those steakhouse orders that might just have your server raising an eyebrow, and why you might want to think twice before requesting them.

1. Well-Done Steak

Ordering a steak well-done is almost a cardinal sin in the eyes of steak aficionados and chefs alike. A well-done steak, criticized for being dry and lacking in flavor, is seen as a waste of good beef. Steak is celebrated for its tender, juicy qualities, which are most prominent in medium-rare to medium preparations. The high cooking temperature required for well-done steaks causes the fat to render out, leaving the meat tough and flavorless.

Furthermore, this preference can sometimes be perceived as a lack of trust in the restaurant’s quality or cooking methods. Chefs take pride in their ability to select and prepare high-quality meat; requesting a steak well-done can be seen as undermining their expertise. Plus, it often leads to longer wait times for your meal, as cooking a steak to this level of doneness takes considerably more time.

Despite personal taste, opting for a less cooked option might not only earn you more respect from the kitchen but also introduce you to the rich flavors and textures that make steak a culinary delight. For those concerned about food safety, rest assured that reputable steakhouses are meticulous about their meat sourcing and handling practices.

2. Steak Sauce

Requesting steak sauce the moment your plate is presented is akin to an insult to the chef’s seasoning skills. High-quality steakhouses pride themselves on their ability to season and cook steak to perfection, making additional sauces unnecessary and, frankly, an embellishment. The nuanced flavors of a prime cut of beef are meant to be savored, not smothered under a blanket of bottled sauce.

This doesn’t mean that all condiments and sauces should be avoided; many steakhouses offer house-made sauces that are specifically designed to complement their cuts of beef. However, reaching for a standard steak sauce without first tasting the meat suggests a lack of confidence in the chef’s preparation and can dampen the dining experience.

Instead of defaulting to steak sauce, take a moment to appreciate the steak as it is served. You might discover that the flavor complexities of a well-cooked steak need no enhancement. If you still feel the need for a little extra something, try asking your server for a recommendation from the kitchen’s own creations.

3. Anything But Steak

While it’s understandable that not everyone at a steakhouse will be in the mood for steak, ordering chicken, fish, or—god forbid—a vegetarian option can sometimes elicit a puzzled look. Steak is the star of the show at these establishments, and while they may offer other dishes, they’re often not the kitchen’s specialty. A steakhouse’s menu is curated to showcase their expertise in cooking meat, especially beef. Opting for non-steak options may result in a less than stellar dining experience.

This isn’t to say that these other dishes won’t be tasty or well-prepared, but they might not live up to the high standards set by the steak offerings. In some cases, the non-steak dishes can feel like an afterthought, added to the menu to accommodate a wider range of preferences rather than to showcase culinary skill.

If you’re dining at a steakhouse but aren’t keen on beef, consider exploring the side dishes or asking your server for recommendations. Often, steakhouses will have a selection of sides that are as meticulously prepared and delicious as their steaks, providing a satisfying alternative for those looking for something different.

4. Overly Complicated Orders

Ordering something not on the menu or requesting excessive modifications to a dish can disrupt the flow of a professional kitchen and lead to errors or delays. Chefs design their menus to showcase their best work, and while accommodating minor preferences is part of the service, asking for changes that alter the dish’s core identity can be problematic. This includes asking for vegan or vegetarian adaptations at a place celebrated for its mastery over meat.

Moreover, such requests might not yield the results you’re hoping for. A steakhouse’s kitchen is optimized for cooking steak and related sides, meaning they might not have the ingredients or equipment to do justice to a completely different type of dish. You risk receiving a meal that is not up to the establishment’s usual standards.

It’s always best to review the menu before dining and choose a restaurant that suits your dietary preferences. This ensures a more enjoyable dining experience for you and less frustration for the kitchen staff. If you have specific dietary needs, consider contacting the restaurant in advance; many are happy to accommodate with advance notice.

5. Ignoring Wine Pairings

Wine and steak are a match made in culinary heaven, yet choosing the wrong wine can disrupt this harmony. Ignoring wine pairings or selecting a wine without considering your steak’s cut and preparation can detract from both the wine’s and the meat’s flavors. A bold, robust red wine might overwhelm a delicately flavored filet mignon, while a light-bodied wine could be lost alongside a rich, fatty ribeye. Guidance on wine pairings is usually available from your server or a sommelier, who can recommend the perfect complement to your meal.

Additionally, considering the wine’s origin and how it complements the cuisine can enhance your dining experience. Steakhouses often curate their wine lists to match their culinary offerings, with selections that bring out the best in both the wine and the steak.

By taking advantage of expert recommendations, you not only ensure a more enjoyable meal but also the opportunity to explore wines that you may not have considered otherwise. This is an integral part of the steakhouse experience, adding an extra layer of sophistication to your dinner.

6. Side Dishes That Don’t Complement Your Steak

Choosing side dishes without considering how they’ll pair with your steak can result in a disjointed dining experience. While it might be tempting to order for variety, some sides can overpower the flavor of your steak or fill you up before you’ve had a chance to truly enjoy your main course. For example, heavy, creamy sides or those with a dominant flavor, such as lobster mac and cheese, might detract from the steak’s taste rather than complement it.

Steakhouse sides are designed to enhance the main course, not compete with it. Opt for simpler, more traditional accompaniments that highlight the steak’s flavor. Seasonal vegetables, a simple salad, or a baked potato can balance the meal’s richness, allowing the steak to take center stage.

Consulting with your server about which sides pair well with your choice of steak can lead to a more harmonious and satisfying meal. This thoughtful selection ensures that every component of your meal works together to highlight the steak’s quality and preparation.

7. The Misguided Pursuit of Opulence

Ordering the most expensive item on the menu, such as gold leaf steak, in an attempt to impress, can often have the opposite effect. Such displays of extravagance are not only unnecessary but can also come across as ostentatious. The true essence of a steakhouse experience lies in appreciating the quality and preparation of the meat, not the price tag attached to it. Dishes embellished with luxurious additions like gold leaf offer little in terms of enhancing flavor and are more about spectacle than culinary merit.

Instead, focus on the steak’s quality, the chef’s skill in preparing it, and how well it meets your taste preferences. A perfectly cooked, high-quality cut of steak needs no embellishment to be truly memorable. This approach not only ensures a more authentic dining experience but also demonstrates a sophisticated appreciation for the art of steak preparation.

In conclusion, navigating the steakhouse menu with a bit of knowledge and restraint can enhance your dining experience. By avoiding these common pitfalls, you can enjoy a meal that satisfies not just your hunger but also your desire for a culinary adventure. So next time you find yourself in the plush leather booth of a steakhouse, remember that sometimes, the best choice is the simplest one. Let the steak be the star of your meal, and you won’t be disappointed.

Emma Bates
Emma Bates
Emma is a passionate and innovative food writer and recipe developer with a talent for reinventing classic dishes and a keen eye for emerging food trends. She excels in simplifying complex recipes, making gourmet cooking accessible to home chefs.

Must Read

Related Articles