September 13th, 2013
02:30 PM ET
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Josh Ozersky has written on his carnivorous exploits for Time, Esquire and now Food & Wine; he has authored several books, including The Hamburger: A History; and he is the founder of the Meatopia food festival. Follow him on Twitter @OzerskyTV.

Like every other man of spirit, I love steak houses. Even the cheesiest New Jersey ones, like Arthur’s, in Hoboken, or the Library III, in Egg Harbor Township, the kind with Reader’s Digest Condensed Books on the walls and a “Queen’s Cut” filet mignon, make me happy. Happier, in fact, than their more upscale rivals.

The contemporary high-end steak house promises an Hermès experience but often delivers a Men’s Wearhouse feeding. The reasons range from incompetence to immorality, but it’s the damage to body, spirit and bank that matter, not the motivations. Even a hard-bitten meathead like myself only gets to go to a steakhouse every few months. The calories are indefensible, the check averages sky-high. It’s not asking too much for the meal to live up to the hype. When it doesn’t, one or more of the following swindles is to blame.

1. The Illusion of Choice
You don’t go to a steak house to eat choice meat. I’m sorry. There is no chef, no recipes for the most part, and little in the way of service or sexiness here. The steak house takes the approach, crude indeed but honest, that a man is essentially a bag for putting meat into.

Therefore, it is imperative that they serve the best meat, which is to say USDA prime. Prime meat isn’t always that great; what they get away with calling prime these days is a crime, as old-school butchers are fond of saying. But choice is guaranteed to be mediocre. The only exceptions are the “choice or better” programs like Creekstone’s Master Chef line or Certified Angus Beef, which sometimes deliver better marbled beef than their rivals’ top-grade product.
 
2. Wet Dry-Aging
The allure of “dry-aged” beef is a powerful one, and it should be: It takes a long time and costs a lot of money. The beef loses a quarter of its water weight, which makes it more concentrated, and its secret biochemical degradation makes it tasty and tender: itself, only better. That is, if the aging room is dry and clean. A lot of them aren’t.

Too many steak houses try to cram too many steaks into a limited area, and are, let’s say, less than fanatical about humidity control. The result is mold, plenty of it, and a steak that tastes more like toe cheese than great beef.
 
3. The Burn Ward
Steak house meat is so often and so brutally burned that the places aren’t even ashamed of it! They advertise images of steaks that are half black and half gray, or, alternatively, as carbonized as a water buffalo after an air strike. Beef should be brown and crusty on the outside, not blackened and denatured and bitter and carcinogenic.
 
4. The Up-sell
This is something of a venial transgression, but a person’s enjoyment of a steak really does have much to do with its accompanying wine. When money is no object (i.e., when someone else is paying) there’s nothing like a grand cru Bordeaux, with bottomless depth and elegant tannins.

But price, in fact, is typically an issue, and they know that, so the cheaper wines on the list will too often tend to be big, jammy, Parkerized reds - the kind you buy for the price of a pizza in bulletproofed liquor stores, and which appear here at three times the cost.
 
5. The Suet Scam
One of the many subterfuges contrived by unscrupulous steak house owners is the practice, cynical and odious, of slathering “meh” meat with aged beef kidney suet and/or butter and/or marrow, thus to fool you into thinking you are eating something you are not.

There is a very famous New York steak house that takes this to an extreme, but I won’t say who it is or what bridge it is located beside. Laying on suet after the fact is the culinary equivalent of Photoshopping pimples and stretch marks: undeniably effective, but a swindle nonetheless.
 
6. The Bacon Burn
Exploitation can hardly be more stark and shameless than this practice, invented at the same very famous New York steak house mentioned above. Three slices of thick, broiled bacon on a white plate for $9 or more. That is the point at which, I think, the masks come off and the Red Death holds sway over all.

The best part is that it’s usually Boar’s Head or some other cheapo food-service product. You don’t even get three slices of good bacon out of this deal! My mind is still reeling from the effrontery of it.
 
7. Steakterfuge
I have saved these meat misrepresentations for last, not because they are they are uncommon or less than grave, but just because there are so many of them!

Where do you start? There is the rib eye steak masquerading as a rib eye, and denuded of its precious cap - the only reason to order it, for my money; the “frenched” rib lamb chops, ladylike lollipops with half their meat (and the best half) simply thrown away; the lamb or veal “T-bone,” really just a tough loin chop, cheap, chewy and hard to cut up; the porterhouses from the very end of the loin, with enormous gristly nerves disfiguring their strip loin sections; boxed or single-served meat, the kind you see at Costco or the Restaurant Depot, often hiding behind the facade of a great window of robust and ancient steaks; filet slices the size of muffins, and with no more flavor than scones.

The list goes on and on, infinite variations on the same theme of deceit. 

More from Food & Wine:
Best Steak in the U.S.
Best Burgers in the U.S.
Best Napa Wineries to Visit
Best Bacon Burgers
Best Chicken Dishes in the U.S.

Previously:
5@5 – Last-minute advice for steak supremacy
Superhero steaks for Dad
What's at steak? Perfect wine pairings from Down Under
What to do when you just can't chew

© 2011 American Express Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.

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Filed under: Classic • Content Partner • Food and Wine • Restaurants • Steakhouse


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soundoff (283 Responses)
  1. I'mvotingforHillary

    The best steak I have had was at a hole in the wall Mexican restaurant in Columbus, GA. The Steak a la Mexicana is outstanding.

    September 16, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • vr13

      Great point. The best steak I've ever had was in a place where I would expect it the least – in couple of beach restaurants on the North Coast of Dominican Republic, in the places that were known for its simple but delicious seafood first of all, which made it even more unexpected.

      September 17, 2013 at 12:40 am |
  2. David

    Peter Luger, Morton's, Capital Grill, S & W, Palm... All have EXCELLENT steaks.

    My favorite... Sparks in Manhattan.

    He's right about wine being over-priced, but that is not unique to steakhouses.

    Pay no attention to the rest of this article.

    September 16, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
    • David

      Sorry... left off Ruth's Chris...

      September 16, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
    • justinfaber

      Ill agree with you about the steaks at mortons. I worked there for 4 years so I know very well how they operate, and I gotta call Mortons out on one thing that really annoyed me. Those damn hashbrowns! Haha. If you can even call them that. They would advertise the hashbrowns like they were somehow special and better than anywhere else, when infact they were made all at once before we opened. Then they just sat on a rack getting dry and nasty ALL DAY. And when someone would order them, even 8 hours after they were cooked, just toss them in the microwave. Oh, and did i mention they cost 13.50, for one potato! And I promise you, it wasnt just the potatoes that sat around all day, pretty much everything but the steak and lobster. After working there I would never eat at a mortons by choice, when there is plenty of smaller steakhouses in my city that do a much better job for half the price.

      September 16, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
    • justinfaber

      P.S...I should mention I no longer work at Mortons.

      September 16, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
      • Ed T Duck

        Good to know. Won't be eating there.

        September 17, 2013 at 2:16 am |
        • justinfaber

          Good. Im glad I was able to save someone from getting ripped off. Yes, they have good steaks, but they screw you on all the a la carte items. Just simply isnt worth it. You are paying for the Mortons name in my opinion.

          September 17, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • Chef Sun

      Hey David. Peter Luger is the very place that the author is referring to that slathers on suet after the meat is cooked. Luger does not offer any choice of steak cuts and the side dishes are mediocre at best. Wine list is over priced and underwhelming.

      September 17, 2013 at 3:05 am |
    • allanhowls

      I don't much care for the big two "glam" steakhouse chains, Morton's or Ruth's Chris, though Morton's is the better of the two. If you want a real knockout, next time you're in Indianapolis, go to St. Elmo's...legendary for a reason. No, I don't work there, and I don't even live in Indy. But I stop by every time I'm in the city.

      September 17, 2013 at 4:49 am |
      • Drew

        if going to Elmo's, you must have the Shrimp Cocktail. Must must must.

        September 17, 2013 at 9:02 am |
  3. MrZummo

    This author probably wrote this article who sounded more like a rant from his over priced i-Pad.

    September 16, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
  4. John M.

    Thanks! Good, helpful insight. Now I just have to figure out where to go for a good steak around here.

    September 16, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
  5. Mike

    Kind of sounds liek to me he's unless you afford a REAL steak, then you deserve nothing more then hamburger. What an ass.

    September 16, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
    • Guest

      Try again... But this time in english please
      !!

      September 16, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
  6. keven

    Definitely one of most useless articles I have read in a long time. Sounds like a pretentious idiot.

    September 16, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • Pat F

      Keven, are you a waiter at Peter Luger?

      September 16, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
    • darth cheney

      And I'll bet some people still wonder why so many around the world consider us decadent narcissists.

      September 17, 2013 at 8:04 am |
  7. BreakAtmo

    I thought the article was spot-on. He offered specific information and gave some good examples of what goes on in the industry. Much of what he mentioned I had personally experienced for myself over the years. It is getting harder to find a good quality steak at any restaraunt these days. With the economy in the toilet, the industry is pulling all sorts of tricks to try and keep their precious profits above the red line. It's gotten to the point now where I won't even order a steak when I go out to eat. I don't feel like spending money to be disappointed. I can stay home, eat crackers, and be disappointed for nothing!

    September 16, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
  8. Uthor

    The article does have some good points. For the best steak, get good meat that you can look at and choose, cook it at home on a grill, and don't burn it to a crisp.

    September 16, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
  9. cdipinto

    Did Ozersky just attack Peter Luger? As well as Arthur's and the Library? While telling his readers they can't possibly enjoy a steak like he does because of the cheap wine they drink? Could anyone really like this article?

    September 16, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
    • Matt

      Peter Luger's is overrated.

      September 16, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • Ed T Duck

      No, he said he enjoyed those places...

      September 17, 2013 at 2:17 am |
      • Benny

        Uh, actually, he called out Peter Luger's and basically said they're scamming people by slathering their meat in marrow/suet/butter. Read it again.

        I've eaten there and had a great experience. Enjoyed everything I tried. No, I don't own a steakhouse.... The author sounds rather snobbish about the whole thing; like he can't enjoy a steak unless the cow has been blessed by the pope and dipped in gold. He sounds like just another arrogant New Yorker to me.

        September 17, 2013 at 8:41 am |
  10. Meh Yea

    The worst steak I ever ate I remember clearly. Maybe it was good or bad. It was overpowered and slathered with the crude ego of a waiter who couldn't stop talking about himself and tried like anasshole to hit on my girlfriend. hahahah- I hope the
    manager that I complained to kicked your stupid butt.

    September 16, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
  11. Bill

    The only travesty here is that this writer has a job. I hope they cancel his contract soon.

    September 16, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
  12. Chris Z

    You're complaining about the price of bacon at a steakhouse

    September 16, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
  13. Good point

    I love a good char on a med rare steak, but the past few years I've noticed restaurants are using something super hot to put what is akin to a thin film of charcoal on steak. It's not good, very dry and bitter.

    September 16, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
  14. Steven Brooks

    Not that I disagree with the content, but Josh's writing style is atrocious, if not completely embarrassing.

    September 16, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
  15. Jon

    I like my meat drenched in blood and fat because I'm a wild animal who lives in a cave.

    September 16, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
  16. Frank

    "Water buffalo after an airstrike"?? WTF is this, a Vietnam reference? Was this written by a 12 year old?

    September 16, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
  17. padeic2

    Author, PLEASE stay in New Jersey where you belong (and no one really deserves that). Your writing style is awful and reads as if you're trying to sound as if you more than you are. Please stop.

    September 16, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
    • mark

      well said...Couldn't have worded it better. this guy is an idiot

      September 16, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
      • Adam

        Agree....this guy is a fool. Lugers, Bryant and Cooper, Wolfgangs, The Palm, Wolensky all outstanding....and worth $100 a head! Stay in Jersey.....

        September 16, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
        • David

          I agree with you 100%.

          September 16, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
        • Chris

          Sorry, you must have too much money as there is NO steak worth $100 a plate! Your a sucker for paying it. I use to work as a cook, prepared many steaks including filets. The author is correct about the scams by steak houses. Most people don't have a clue how to pick a quality steak by looking at it. And even more have no idea what a properly prepared steak even looks like, seeing most want their steak "medium/well" burnt to a crisp. Medium rare is the best. And don't get me started on the scams grocery meat departments are pulling on their steak cuts. Selling junk less than choice cuts as "premium" cuts. "Choice" means stew meat! Can't even find a real New York strip hardly. And forget a decent Rib Eye/Delmonico. Seems there are several steak house employees posting here!

          September 17, 2013 at 4:14 am |
  18. Jimmie

    What the hell use was this article? It hasn't helped me find the better steak house. Only advised me that I might be getting screwed yet again by the man!!!!!

    September 16, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • Jeve Stobs

      What it does is give you little things to whine about rather than enjoying what might otherwise be a delicious, enjoyable steak. Sounds like he has been burned many times by bad steak houses, so I wouldn't trust him to find a good one, not that he tells us how to anyway. I can't believe I finished the "article" and bothered to comment. I guess it was that abrasive.

      September 17, 2013 at 1:13 am |
  19. Edwin

    This whole article screams pretentiousness. My cheap $10 Outback sirlion tastes pretty dammed acceptable, thank you very much.

    September 16, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
    • SA Steve

      $10 Outback sirloin? sure. they charge that much for a battered & deep fried onion.

      ...but if you're happy with it, then no problem. Enjoy! Seriously. It's just a different point of view from a more experienced palate. I really don't think it's meant to be pretentious.

      September 16, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
      • csiko

        A palette that seems to think Boar's Head bacon is somehow any different than any other bacon available to the masses. How is that not pretentious?

        September 16, 2013 at 11:11 pm |
        • allanhowls

          Obviously you don't read very well. Boar's Head IS what's available to the masses, and the steakhouses are selling it for $9. That's a scam.

          September 17, 2013 at 4:53 am |
  20. david

    Recently purchased WalMart's "Angus Beef steaks". These are supposed to be top of the line age Angus steaks! They are not. They are cheap cuts of beef that have been treated with something to make them appear better than they are. It was a tough stringy steak and had a chemical odour. I only cooked one and now I guess I will throw out the rest. It was totally undigestable and was tasteless except for the chemical flavour! It's not only the steak houses that will rip you off.

    September 16, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
    • Rod steele

      Holy crap Walmart sells cheap shoddy stuff?!

      September 16, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
    • badianbrad

      Read the labels; they're choice, not prime. Find yourself a local independent butcher, and pay a little more.

      September 16, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
    • Buckwheat

      Return them, they will take anything back.

      September 16, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
    • MaBear

      You actually bought a steak at WalMart?! I don't buy ANYTHING "fresh" from WalMart, not produce, not baked goods, not ANY kind of meats. Canned goods even get a thorough inspection for date and dents. NO ONE should buy any meats, not even bacon, wieners, or even sausage, from WalMart.

      September 16, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
  21. NewGuy

    I just made reservations at Peter Luger for my anniversary. Was this a bad call? Never been, but sounds like you don't think highly... Thoughts? Don't wanna waste an evening.

    September 16, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
    • Smarter than ewe

      Peter Lugers is the place he is referring to "next to the bridge". The steak is good, the sides are mediocre, but you get genuine guido's at the next table.

      September 16, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
    • Beefeater

      Lugers is great. Order the thick bacon. It is outstanding. Don't listen to the pretentious writer above. They have been in business for 100 years. They must be doing something right.

      September 16, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
    • wasteoide

      I've only been to Peter Lugers once with three pals of mine and I did some research prior to attending and that advice was to order Steak for Two which nets you an approx. 3 pound porterhouse. So if you go with 4 people order 2x Steak for Two. Also they only took cash. The Bacon, The Steak, The huge onion and tomato slices were awesome. I've also eating at Morton's, Ruth Chris, and Jordan's Steak House. I realize that doesn't make me an expert by any stretch, but if you've eating at any of these three then you'll be very pleased with Luger's in fact the one leg up I give to Luger's as another poster is that they've been doing it for a very long time.

      September 16, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
    • Joe

      The consistently best steak you will have is at Ruth's Chris in my opinion. I've been to them all and unless you're in Tampa (go to Berns!) I would go Ruth's

      September 16, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
      • Chris

        I was born in Tampa and know of Burns for years. Very pricey, but not bad. It's THE steak place in Tampa. Just off Dale Mabry if I remember. As for Ruth's Chris? Horrible. Not worth the price, especially with all that stupid garlic drenched all over the steak that hides the meat flavor. Will never go back there!

        September 17, 2013 at 4:20 am |
        • Alfuso

          Sometimes I just by pass the Burns dining room and go to their awesome Desert Room.

          September 17, 2013 at 7:44 am |
    • Kat Kinsman

      My $.02 – Luger's is its own thing and people should go at least once. But if you're looking for some anniversary romance, this ain't it. It's brusque, aggressive and brightly lit and a great lark with a bunch of friends, but not necessarily what I'd want for an anniversary.

      I dig Keens, and it's been around for over a century. The aged beef is stellar, but the service, sides, cocktails and ambiance put it over the top. You can just *feel* the warmth and history of the place, and the waiters there are career pros who you'll see time and time again. They just give a damn, and while it's not cheap, you don't feel like there's a hand in your wallet the whole time.

      September 17, 2013 at 1:01 am |
  22. Josh

    Omaha steaks is reprehensiable, choice at best steaks, frozen and sent to you under the guise of high quality.

    September 16, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
    • briarjohn

      That's just because you've only had the opportunity to eat the shit that has had the misfortune of being sold to the consumer at home. The stuff that is served locally is much better fare. Granted, I live only a few blocks from Mr. Buffett's nominal residence, so the average quality might be a bit higher here, but I would still put it above any of the local shit I've experienced on the coast. The only damn cow worth eating outside the Midwest always seems to be something someone has had to take the damn time to ship there. Granted, I only eat a steak out there if it's given to me. There is literally no such thing as decent seafood here in flyover country.

      September 17, 2013 at 12:46 am |
  23. JohnPicard71

    Sorry if I offend the purists here but I won't play the game with the snooty and overrated eating out philosophy. In my case I just get steaks from the butchery... or store clubs or fresh markets...do it myself on the grill... asparagus and a very fine bottle of Argentinean Malbec or chianti for 20 bucks... if really want to go overboard then 35-40 shiraz or Reserve cabernet will do. Nice music and atmosphere in your dining room or balcony and a great night has been enjoyed with your partner.... Cost? 100 if you go top to 50-70 if you keep it on the low end. No cops pulling you over to screw you, no annoying servers or patrons... no rush or wait for a table... excellent way to filter out females who pretend that men who won't go out and expend an small fortune on a dinner are stingy and cheap souls unworthy of their company... Priceless.. Then again If you have the means and will... go for it.

    September 16, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
    • SA Steve

      absolutely! I rarely go out to eat. A fresh cut of good beef is easy to find. A fantastic (to your liking) bottle of wine costs the same as a glass from a top restaurant. And what is easier to cook than a slab of beef, some potatoes (with 100's of easy options), and some fresh produce from the local farmer's market.

      $50 to $75 and an hour of your time gets you a much better meal for two or more and an experience you could never get for $300+ at some dimly lit fine dining establishment that claims to do it right.

      September 16, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
    • Frank

      Great comment. I feel exactly the same. I go to a "fancy" local butcher and buy a great steak (or local pork chop) for about 20 bucks. Then a solid syrah/grenache blend for another 20 bucks and I've had a wonderful time. It's possible to spend much more at an awful chain restaurant.

      September 16, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
    • XXxxMacleodxxXX

      closer to the bedroom too.....$ does not equal game.....

      September 16, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
    • pkfops

      I get the whole rib at Costco and save $3 per lb.

      All you need is a good knife and a stone to keep it sharp.

      September 16, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • John M.

      All that, plus the best bonus of all if it's a first date - she's already back at your place. Once I figured that out in college, I learned the cost and tactical advantage of inviting my dates over for a steak dinner.

      September 16, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
    • AlienDave

      Ahhh. Scanned down who knows how many nasty posts to find one that contributes a useful, positive point – without trashing other peoples' opinions. Thanks, Bud – and completely agree.

      September 17, 2013 at 7:02 am |
  24. Mike

    Go to Google Maps type search for "butcher" and find a local quality shop and ask questions to help them to guide you.

    Look up grilling techniques for various cuts.

    Experiment once or twice a week. Within a few months you will learn how to make INCREDIBLE high-quality steaks that a steakhouse could only wish they served. Oh, and it'll only cost a fraction of what you'd pay a restaurant.

    September 16, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
    • JohnPicard71

      Right on the money Mike!!! That's exactly what I did Seven years ago and never looked back!! I learned to make sushi Mongolian beef and others... I was blind and now I can see!!!

      September 16, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
    • Zane

      You're right, Mike. Selecting and preparing your own steak is the only way to really know for sure that you're getting a premium cut that is properly seasoned and cooked. Unfortunately, that takes time and effort that many people are not willing to put forth.

      September 16, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
      • JohnPicard71

        Unfortunately people more an more are not willing to expend time and effort on anything... instant gratification with no work... for me the very process of buying and grilling and drinking wine together with music and a nice chat is part of the experience... poor souls.

        September 16, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
      • teaclown

        Sorry Zane. You may enjoy a medium-well cooked steak, but that doesn't not make it a waste of quality meat. Cooking a prime steak anything more than medium rare is a waste of your money and the rancher's and butcher's effort. Because you haven't developed a proper palette does not make the people who have pretentious. Have a hamburger or a supermarket sirloin instead.

        September 16, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
    • SA Steve

      totally agree. I started "experimenting" about 5 years ago. My wife grew up in a family used to high end quality food. She is also a "super taster". I was always a very simple easy to please eater and didn't see much difference in food. Now people claim I'm a food snob. I just feel that my palate has evolved and she couldn't be happier with what I've learned to do in the kitchen. I'm far from chef-dom, but enjoy stopping by the market on the way home from work every day and cooking fresh meals. I don't consider it snobbish, just practical and FAR tastier!

      September 16, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
    • grass-fed angus

      We live in a mostly organic farming community in southwestern Wisconsin. There is a butcher outside of town and the quality of the grass-fed angus is over the moon. Saturday afternoon I grab a couple of rib-eye or NY strips, 1.5-2" thick, build a super hot fire on the grill, rub the steaks with olive oil, sprinkle them with sea salt and crushed black pepper. Then with the super hot fire I sear the steaks 3-4 minutes on each side and finish in a 500º oven for about 2 minutes. Perfect, rare to med-rare every time. Before grilling rest the steaks at room temperature for 30 minutes. (Want a little garlic flavor – crush a clove into the olive oil before rubbing it onto the steaks.)

      September 16, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
      • Mike

        Wisconsin grass fed is GREAT. I live in Northern VA and that's where my butcher gets his cuts from on most weeks. My next step is building my own brick/stone grill next spring for get-togethers in the upcoming summer (pig roasts!).

        September 16, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
  25. shocked

    Shocked that he didn't even mention transglutaminase in his last paragraph–the practice in some cheap steakhouses of gluing off-cuts of beef together with transglutaminase to make a formed "filet mignon" that is indistinguishable in appearance to the real thing.

    September 16, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
  26. C Bauer

    I hope Peter Luger Steakhouse files a defamation and libel suit against you for #5 and #6.

    September 16, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
    • Jack

      The courts have long held, it's not defamation if it's true.

      September 16, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
      • C Bauer

        Not true. Defamation can be a truth or non-truth. You're thinking of libel and slander.

        October 19, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • David

      He better hope they don't break both his legs!

      September 16, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
  27. Optimistic

    $40 for two good steaks at a butcher shop. $50 for a good bottle of Caymus.
    Add manager, chef, server, host, busboy, water, gas, electricity, rent, marketing, tax, misc, etc. & MAKE A PROFIT.
    It is impossible for any restaurant to offer high quality products like you are mentioning and stay in business! Just saying.

    September 16, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
  28. Dane

    This is why I cook my own steaks, it takes 2 days with the preperation of the seasonings (not spices) and flavorings and the special butter, but when my guests andI sit down I usually have everyone going on about how amazing it is. My motto for steaks: If you have to use steak sauce or BBQ sauce, then I didn't do it right.

    When I buy meats, I go to the butcher's counter, make him/her take the meats out, show it to me, I get close enough for them to waft the smell to me and after about 5 min of work I leave with some amazing meats.

    September 16, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
  29. sancho

    If this guy can't enjoy a steak without red wine, I'm not sure he should be considered a steak expert.

    September 16, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • SA Steve

      I'm sure he can enjoy one without the other. However, Some things complement others so well it is easy to get used to the experience and desire it. I mean, you can enjoy a great steak on its own, but after you know how well a good bottle of wine goes with it, you still feel like something is missing.

      ...If you don't get that, watch Ratatouille and pay attention to the rats explanation.

      September 16, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
    • John M.

      I agree with the famous French saying, "A fine meal without wine is like a beautiful woman without teeth."

      September 16, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
      • toothless

        A beautiful toothless woman has her place. I'm just saying.

        September 17, 2013 at 8:33 am |
  30. OctoberOhio

    About steak: Just purchased a $12.00 top sirloin package from Walmart. Good...but underneath the three pieces was hidden a massive hard fat glob. Hidden. And I paid for an absolutely useless piece of crap.

    September 16, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
    • Meh

      That is to add extra weight – since it is priced that way.
      Another trick is for the butcher to trim off excess fat from one side of the steak (the one showing) at an angle that leaves the full thickness of the fat on the bottom.

      P.S. Walmart has commercials that imply it has good steaks, but its recently come to light that their steaks (just like their "fresh produce" is very Hit and Miss. Sometimes good – sometimes not so. I wouldnt trust them at all.

      September 16, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
    • nepawoods

      All beef I've ever seen in Walmart has right on the label that it has a "solution" added ... and you can see it.

      September 16, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
    • pattysboi

      OctoberOhio, PLEASE don't buy meat from wally world. Costco is MUCH better for meat.

      September 16, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
      • Beefeater

        For reasons that I cannot comprehend, WalMart has horrible meat but SAMS has ridiculously good steak. Their fresh steaks are all cut on site and are choice or better. Loin prices are half what they are elsewhere.

        September 16, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • Uthor

      Look, not to be mean, but you buy steak at Walmart and have high expectations?

      September 16, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
  31. Ctrygrl

    Thus why I never go to a steakhouse, I can make it way better and way cheaper at home.

    September 16, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • canukdude

      That is why I don't eat out very much. i have a great butcher that cuts whatever I want and reccomends special cuts.There is nothing worse than spending umpteen bucks on shite when I can do WAY better @ home. Yes it costs a little more but is still a lot cheaper than most resturant kife.

      September 16, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
  32. Bucktown

    Pretty sure you mean Peter Lugers in your bacon and suet condemnations?

    Still to the point, is it still better to cook a quality piece of steak at home (and if so, how?) or trust the dry aging process and high end broilers of a reputable steakhouse?

    September 16, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
  33. Donald E Bloodworth

    After reading this one all I could think Joel O. was, "Where's my 'tuna'? Oh yes she's still at work bringing home the bacon! But in case you want to write a twisted take on culinary escapades Joel...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horse_meat

    September 16, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
  34. CT

    Sounds like the writer's biggest problem is eating at overhyped steakhouses in New York City. Come to a place like Kansas City, Dallas, Chicago (you know ... where the steak comes from) and you can have a steakhouse without all the superfluous pomp and circumstance involved to remain trendy. It's just world-class steak. There's a reason places like Plaza III in Kansas City top the lists of best steakhouses in the world every year. Plus, the prices are so much lower in this part of the country.

    September 16, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
  35. JimbowT

    I once had a rib-eye at Stake and Ale about 30 years ago and it was as tender as a warm marshmallow. Still remember it to this day, and to this day I have never had another like it !

    September 16, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
  36. lol

    I see this guy only thinks the wine up-charge applies to steakhouse's...maybe he's just never been to a wine/liquor store. Fact is; All restaurants triple, quadruple or even more the price of wine and 9 times out of 10 the selections offered are the standard crap that's better suited to a bottle with a screw off cap. That's what has the least overhead and profit to cost margin and how they make the most money, not by selling food. FYI: They all also insanely inflate the price with beer and mixed drinks...unless this bitter, snobbish foodie thinks a crappy domestic beer bought in huge quantities should cost more than $.75

    September 16, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
  37. nepawoods

    I'm so glad there are articles like this to tell me how I should like my steak.

    September 16, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
  38. The enlightened restauranteer

    "Beef should be brown and crusty on the outside, not blackened..." yada yada yada... Well, that's the way YOU like it. Super. Other than that, to each his own.

    September 16, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Zane

      I agree. I loathe steak that is dripping in blood and mushy in the middle. If you know what you're doing, it's easy to prepare a medium well done steak that is not burned and dry, but is flavorful, juicy, and firm but tender. My favorite way is to sear the steak on the grill over high heat then reduce the heat, brush on some garlic butter, and top the steak with a sprig of rosemary just before it goes on the plate. When I prepare a good cut this way, it is fork tender and it doesn't need anything more.

      September 16, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
      • teaclown

        Sorry Zane. You may enjoy a medium-well cooked steak, but that doesn't not make it a waste of quality meat. Cooking a prime steak anything more than medium rare is a waste of your money and the rancher's and butcher's effort. Because you haven't developed a proper palette does not make the people who have pretentious. Have a hamburger or a supermarket sirloin instead.

        September 16, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
        • FIrstName

          What's "proper" to you is not "proper" to other people. Self-centered much?

          September 17, 2013 at 9:10 am |
        • dave

          The point I think he's making is that if you want it cooked more than medium then you're wasting your money on a good cut.

          September 17, 2013 at 11:17 am |
  39. The enlightened restauranteer

    "... and a steak that tastes more like toe cheese than great beef." You actually know what "toe cheese" tastes like? You must have had a rough time of it.

    September 16, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • slotz

      THANK YOU

      September 16, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
  40. Mancee Graice

    There is nothing easier than writing smack about any subject. A truly talented author can speak in positive terms, even when describing a negative experience. This author fails miserably, and just barely manages to be kinda humorous.

    September 16, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Jackson

      Mancee Graice

      There is nothing easier than writing smack about any subject. A truly talented author can speak in positive terms, even when describing a negative experience. This author fails miserably, and just barely manages to be kinda humorous.

      ____________

      There is nothing easier than writing smack about any article. A truly talented commentor can speak in positive terms, even when describing a negative article. The above commentor fails miserably, and never managed to be remotely humorous.

      September 16, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
      • mikehock1

        clever

        September 16, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
  41. Philip

    A personal peeve of mine: In a nicer steakhouse, there should be zero TVs visible from the main dining room(s). Thankfully most of the nicer ones around here (Dallas) adhere to that philosophy but some of those that bill themselves as high-end "Steak and Chop" houses fail spectacularly.

    September 16, 2013 at 11:30 am |
  42. MarylandBill

    I agree with a lot of this. I have gone to $35-$50 a person steak houses that were just as good as some of the $100 a person steak houses (Though not all). Shoot, I went to a celebrity chef's steak house in Atlantic City with some friends and found the steak to be so over seasoned that the cut could have been any old cut of steak and I would never have known because all I could taste was the seasoning. Seasoning should highlight the steak's flavor, not overpower it. God invented Fish and Chicken to be overwhelmed with spices, leave steaks alone.

    September 16, 2013 at 10:24 am |
  43. Keith

    Frankie's and Johnny's in Manhatten is the best Steakhouse I have ever been to

    September 16, 2013 at 10:17 am |
  44. Joshua Ozersky

    But how was the steak?

    September 15, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Thinking things through

      I have NO idea why that stuff gets on here...

      September 15, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
      • Not Thinking

        Then change your moniker.

        September 16, 2013 at 8:17 am |
    • Meh

      Out of curiosity, do you hold a position regarding corn fed vs grass fed?

      September 16, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
      • Hugh Balsac

        All quality beef should be 100% grass (or silage) fed.

        September 16, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
        • Chris

          You have a right to an opinion for sure, but your wrong. You obviously have no idea about raising beef cattle. Grain fed is by far the best flavor. It gives the meat a sweetness grass can't. And also, grains provide nutrients to the cattle grass can't. So guess what? The farmer has to "supplement" the feed with other things since grass is about useless for nutrients. "Silage" is nothing more than fermented grass that the farmer was too cheap and lazy to process.

          September 17, 2013 at 4:35 am |
        • Alex P

          Hugh is correct- there is zero discussion in the article concerning the difference between grass and corn fed meat.

          Frankly, I found the article entertaining (honestly , it IS CNN, hardly the source for food info) and I have dined at many of the best houses in New York. Several of these issues (such as dry beef) I'm familiar with, others (such as suet) I had not known.

          But having devoted a fair amount of effort to the best steak I can possibly grill myself, grass fed beef is a revelation. It is unquestionably tougher, and so often it arrives frozen due to it's lack of availability. Due to it's density, it cooks considerably longer, even for those of us who value "rare" above all other variables. But the flavor is far, far richer, and in side by side taste comparisons (yes, I've done it several times) grass fed beats the pants off corn every time. After eating grass fed, corn fed beef lacks flavor and character. Some describe that as being "sweet", but Costco "prime" tastes like cardboard compared to grass fed. But don't take my word for it- try it yourself.

          And as for the author's verbosity- a little vocabulary won't kill you, people.

          September 17, 2013 at 9:02 am |
        • Meh

          Personally I think it is a matter of preference, what type of cut you are talking about, and the quality of the meat in question.
          (im the one who asked about corn vs grass fed, btw).
          It seems the folks in Australia and South America have been doing just fine with Grass fed for ages.
          Grass fed is all the rage now here in the States for some, and I agree in some instances, but not all. A nice grass fed seared flank steak, or hanger steak seems to always be better. However, II have yet to find a ribeye that is as marbled as I personally like without it being corn fed though. Im no expert by any stretch of the imagination – just what I have experienced personally.

          I must disagree with Chris in regards to "grain" fed beef and how grain is more nutritiouse, if the grain you are referring to is Corn. Cattle are not evolved to actually eat and process corn correctly – hence the hormones and supplements that corn fed beef get so that they can handle it. Corn messes up their stomachs so much that the acidity levels in the stomachs of farmed cattle is far different than what it would normally be – which, btw – allows for strains of eColi to exist that would normally be destroyed by the animals own gut.

          The downside to grass-fed is that they have lower fat content (which is why I prefer grain fed ribeye – which needs to be well marbled with fat), they can be tougher because of this and are harder to cook correctly without drying out (by a layperson I mean). They can also be more 'gamey".

          Like I say – its a preference thing.

          September 17, 2013 at 11:32 am |
  45. Ramrod

    I get some of the best steaks a Texas Roadhouse, I have eaten steaks at real high-end steak houses and have been very disappointed. The Big Texan Steak house in Amarillo, Texas has a surprisingly good steak, I usually get the T-Bone and I have never tried the 72 ounce steak that's all the hype.

    September 14, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
    • Joe

      I'm curious, how big (dimensions) is a 72oz steak?

      September 16, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
      • mikehock1

        cook (4) 1 lb steaks and (1) 8 oz steak and put on your plate. That's how big Joe.

        September 16, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
  46. Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

    I'm not sure if this article is trying to be sarcastically funny or venomous. Back to the drawing board, dude.

    September 14, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
  47. geneinmexico

    A wasted effort by Eatocracy . The author knows less about steak than he does about wine, or is it visa versa? Anyway, he should go back and start flipping burgers and start all over.

    September 14, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
  48. FrankWhite

    I agree with this guy ^^^^^^ All you do is bitch about everything, and have no useful information to offer the food crazed masses. Keep doing you though, it's very comical!

    September 14, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • Joshua Ozersky

      I will take this point to heart; my next piece will be positive, actionable, and well-informed.

      September 15, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
      • lol

        The problem is you come off sounding like a person most wouldn't want to sit down and have a steak dinner with...unless the other person is also full of himself. I do happen to agree with a lot of what you say, only your tact could use a little polish.

        September 16, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
      • Meh

        And throw in some puppies for Chrissake! The tender masses want to hear about cute kids and PUPPIES!

        September 16, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
  49. COOL

    Hey Josh great job complaining like usual. Also a great job of offering up ZERO recommendations on what steak houses in NYC you actually think are worth eating at. Keep it up dude!

    September 14, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • Joshua Ozersky

      No problem! Thanks for the feedback. I guess when I say that aging rooms are too wet, or that choice is no substitute for prime, it requires a Bertrand Russell to infer what I'm suggesting. As for the best New York steakhouses, the best for service and overall food is Porterhouse New York. I am also a fan of Quality Meats and - for old time's sake - Sparks. Nearly all the steakhouses in NYC are uneven. For a great steak try the big ribeye at The Breslin, the steak at Tertulia, or the strip at Prime and More.

      September 15, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Bracchus A. Talbot

      The article was titled "7 Deadly Steakhouse Sins" not "7 Best NYC Steakhouses" and I thought it was very informative & agree that there is a major difference between a brown crust and a black char and that the huge upsell on wine is major annoyance. A lot of steakhouses spend so much time on sourcing quality meat & aging but spend no time or energy on finding unique wines that don't set you back a car payment.

      First to hear the cooking with suet or marrow to add flavor.

      My feelings on Steakhouse selection is similar to seafood/sushi selection, if you have to second guess the quality or worry about misinterpretation of menu items, especially at these prices, you shouldn't be eating there.

      September 15, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
      • Nova Nicole

        Agree, Bracchus. The article is a PSA, yet so many in the comments actually take umbrage at it. Oh well, let them enjoy their shoe leather.

        September 16, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
    • sardonicfish

      More aptly reproachable is his overt use of a thesaurus to prop up an ill-refined piece presuming that grandiloquence somehow pardons (or worse, obfuscates) typos and grammatical errors. The effrontery to introduce an absurd, weakly conceived portmanteau followed almost immediately by an erratum brings much to question.

      September 17, 2013 at 3:01 am |
      • Joshua Ozersky

        whataya, wiseguy?

        September 17, 2013 at 9:34 am |
  50. VFDSDGG34343434

    GTRTRRRTGRTGTGR

    September 14, 2013 at 9:38 am |
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