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. Lee

    This is a really good topic. I've always been a big beef, pork and chicken eater with a well marbled Ribeye as my favorite closely followed by Prime Rib. But something has happened to me the past 2 years. I've discovered local Tennessee Meat Farmers. Buying local beef from local meat farms delivers unmatched flavor. I'm now moving away from most restaurants who serve steak because they do so much to the steak which covers the flavor or lack of flavor. Knowing where my beef and other meats come from is now very important to me. So now I grill much of my own Rib Eyes on my Big Green Egg and buy from http://www.franklinfarmersmarket.com which is the largest farmers market in the state of Tennessee in Franklin Tennessee. They have 3 top notch Beef Farmers in the Triple L Ranch, Bear Creek Farm and West Winds Farms all Meat Farmers from Tennessee. I'm now enjoying the best Ribeye's and other local grown meats I've ever tasted. Even the farm fresh vegetables and eggs taste better and last so much longer in the refrigerator!

    Thanks for posting this story. I now only consider ordering a restaurant steak by asking where or what farm the beef comes from. Of course the chain steak houses give me a strange look when I ask this question which keeps me from going back to them. Only small privately run restaurants that use local meats and produce are where I now dine out at.

    September 17, 2013 at 11:37 am |
  2. DeWayne

    If I want a good steak I grill it myself, over charcoal, sometimes with mesquite chips some times without. I buy the steaks at Sams Club, which in 20 years I could count on one hand the number of steaks that disappointed. Want flavor? Can't beat sirloin, want tenderness go for a rib eye, don't waste your money on tenderloin, they never have great taste like the other cuts. T-bone, porterhouse are ok, but overall sirloin or rib eye are the tastiest, unless you can find some excellent short ribs :)

    September 17, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • situationalawareness

      You sound like my father when he talked about a cup of coffee. Always said how he could make a pot of coffee that was good enough for him, didn't need other places trying to do stuff to it. I usually went to Starbucks or insert other coffee shop to sit down and relax with my laptop for business work. The difference? The steak isn't being made by you when you go out. Finding a place that makes it good (and not expecting angels to fall from the sky and hell and hewven to unite) and enjoying it either over conversation or just by yourself is sometimes what it's about. If you're not into that, grill away in your backyard, and pop open a cold one. Just don't act like that's "the way" to do it.

      September 17, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • SteveG

      Sous-vide then finish on the grill. You will be amazed by the difference. Finally you can have a steak the same doneness all the way through.

      September 17, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
      • Axe

        Amen brother!

        September 17, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
      • mixedupchile

        Not a foodie but love steak. What does "sous-vide" mean?
        Thanks!

        September 18, 2013 at 1:48 am |
        • Jim Oremland

          Sous-vide is a cooking method whereby the food is sealed in a plastic bag and then cooked in temperature controlled water until it reaches a pre-determined internal temperature. It is a very popular way to prepare foods and guarantee uniform doneness. Finished on the grill adds the grill marks and the outer char that makes a steak so delicious.

          September 18, 2013 at 8:04 am |
  3. Bob

    The last paragraph is just one LONG sentence.

    September 17, 2013 at 11:32 am |
  4. Tom

    Somewhere along the way the author seems to have confused passing along worthwhile information with the use of awkward sentence structure and stilted verbiage. The result is a lot of wading for minimal worthwhile information. There's no excuse other than excessive cuteness when, after rereading a sentence 2 or 3 times, one still is unsure of the author's point.

    September 17, 2013 at 11:19 am |
  5. jd

    That's all a bunch of fine raving, Josh Ozersky, but, as I remember, most people can't tell the difference between margarine and butter.

    The problem, in my mind, is the usual consumer inability to assign a value to anything they do unless a marketing department tells them.

    September 17, 2013 at 11:07 am |
  6. Steve T

    Who cares! If it tastes good, eat it and be happy.

    September 17, 2013 at 11:06 am |
  7. M.E.

    I definitely agree that the wine is important. A big, overblown, beat-you-over-the-head cab just doesn't work with a steak. It needs to have some complexity to it, some nuance. It needs to be the dance partner supporting the steak, not stepping on its toes.

    Otherwise, while there are a lot of bad steak places, there's plenty of good ones too. Frequently this is a place called "your own patio." Find a good proper butcher, buy good meat, place over fire for not-too-long, eat!

    September 17, 2013 at 10:55 am |
  8. CEL1

    So much for another wasted article. "Cast not your pearls before swine"

    September 17, 2013 at 10:49 am |
  9. PetePete1

    This guy obviously hasn't had a ribeye from my back yard grill.One thing I,ve always noticed,no one seems to be talking when I make them.

    September 17, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • situationalawareness

      You aren't a steakhouse, but it sounds like you believe you are! Go forth and create your dynasty of steak and meat altruism! Fle your back hard grill and mark thi world!

      September 17, 2013 at 11:03 am |
  10. Tony

    Just say PETER LUGER instead of dancing around it...

    September 17, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • yadasacker

      Seriously... quite annoying.

      September 17, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • Alison

      I would imagine, that if he actually named a place, and then could not prove the allegation, he would soon find himself in court. This way, he could argue that there are many bridges with steakhouses nearby...

      September 17, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
      • zz

        He would just need to qualify it with the fact that it's his opinion that he suspects something. It would still read better than what is currently there.

        September 17, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
  11. Skeptical

    I agree that some steakhouses are overpriced and under-deliver on quality. And I agree that Peter Luger's is inconsistent and overrated. However, much of the big city steakhouse experience has nothing to do with food - it's businesspeople (majority men) who are on an expense account, power-brokering, etc. It's drinking, showing off, being seen.

    I also agree with those who say this is a pretty lazy effort by the author. "Its secret biochemical degradation?" Come on, man. Either you don't understand the process or don't have the space to explain it. There is some actual decent information here, but it's buried in the ranting and overwriting, and that's what some people are reacting to, legitimately.

    September 17, 2013 at 10:45 am |
  12. NotYoDady

    An article that merely bitches about the bad shiite out there, without telling one what to look for on the good side, is worthless to me.

    September 17, 2013 at 10:30 am |
  13. VegasSmitty

    Luger's in NYC is one of the worst place to get a good steak. Also stay away from Smith & Wollensky's just as bad. And if you want truly rotten(not aged) beef go to Ruth Chris. But snobs with too much money and no taste flock to these places..

    September 17, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • Kimba

      Do you have any recommendations for a good steak? Are there any chain restaurants, in your opinion, that are good for a steak?

      September 17, 2013 at 10:55 am |
      • bobpitt

        Try a good Brazilian steakhouse like Fogo de Chão

        September 17, 2013 at 11:07 am |
      • Mike Hockurtz

        Staghorn is great, I mean really great, and incredibly underrated. It's also a lot less busy on weekends. 36th, west of 8th I think.

        Next up, I'd recommend Benjamin Steak House, 41st just west of Park. Amazing atmosphere, great service, choice of beef (don't tell the author).

        Finally, there's always Old Homestead, on 9th Ave in Chelsea. Crown jewel of the everyman-aficionado.

        Eat at those three and you will have a terrific yardstick to measure other steak places by, with the added benefit of 3 terrific meals under your belt (pardon the pun).

        September 17, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
  14. Billy Zoom

    Sorry, but this article is kind of like an answer in search of a question. It's almost like you were told to write an article and just pulled this out of your ass.

    September 17, 2013 at 10:25 am |
  15. Doctor Soco

    I'm not sure why I read that article, being a vegetarian... but it was enjoyable. Thanks Josh. :D

    September 17, 2013 at 9:55 am |
  16. Festus

    One word.
    Sizzler!

    September 17, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • Lone

      Pretty much a given.

      September 17, 2013 at 10:34 am |
  17. Wilbert

    Anyone who mentions anything to do with New York while discussing beef just failed to impress me. Do they really have cows in New York? I grew up on a cattle ranch. I know beef, and I have never seen, smelled, or tasted good beef in a Yankee eatery, regardless of how "reknowned" or "notorious" it may or may not be.

    September 17, 2013 at 9:29 am |
    • Michele

      There is in fact a large farming industry in New York State. I personally grew up in a small town in central NY, surrounded by cows and corn fields.

      September 17, 2013 at 9:49 am |
      • Jason_Viper

        Great point. When most people think of anything New York, they think of NYC. When in fact an hour past the city, you're in the country surrounded by beautiful mountains and it doesn't really feel like "New York".

        September 17, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • Jacks

      I doubt you've ever even been to New York. Sorry, but you've got to forgive me for dismissing your "fine dining" critique from all the way out in the middle of nowhere. Snobery aside, you'd do well to research a bit before you comment. First off, New York State is huge and is actually quite rich with farmland. Secondly, the top steakhouses in NY actually get the best cuts of meat from the best cows in the country before any of you locals have privy to it. FYI

      September 17, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • bobpitt

      The best beef ever I have tasted is Argentinian.. grass fed and slow moving

      September 17, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • Ray Money

      You have to love the armchair steaksmiths that infested this article. New York has the most clout so they get the best beef in the country, hands down...followed by Philly then Chicago. If you don't reside in such areas you're more than likely chewing on some second hand bubblegum. The ranchers think they have the best beef because it's the only beef they've ever had. The truth is 95 percent of the population has no clue what a good steak tastes like. Grass fed beef? LOL, good luck with that garbage.

      December 8, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
  18. unknown11

    I never order steak at a restaurant. It is just too easy to cook at home. I want something with 40 ingredients when I go out.

    That said, the restaurant business has changed. You have to go to very high end places to get anything scratch made. Don't even get me started on the bakery business. Most bakeries, including all those places where wanna be yuppies get coffee are all thaw and sell. A few still offer thaw and bake items. No bakers required.

    September 17, 2013 at 9:21 am |
    • unknown11

      Also, at home, if I am not in the mood to spend a lot on the meat, then I buy something cheap and cook it up. But, I made the decision and got what I paid for. When I am in the mood and feeling rich, I go to the butcher and get something great. But either way, I got what I wanted at that moment. This is not necessarily true at a steak house.

      September 17, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • tomw

      I also do not order steak at a restaurant. I have been disappointed too many times. Anyone with the basic understanding of how to cook meat can make a steak better than 95% of the steakhouses out there.

      September 17, 2013 at 9:49 am |
  19. pc initials only

    I avoid steakhouses as much as I can. Serving a burnt $8 piece of low quality meat for $35 with boring sides is the crime. If I go to a restaurant I want something I can't do at home. Let's not even go over the stuffy pretentious moldy interiors, (patrons and staffs often included) If you like to get robbed blind just throw your money down the toilet.
    One can get much better cuts of beef from a store and grill it easily. This trend of the overpriced steakhouses is getting ridiculous

    September 17, 2013 at 9:13 am |
  20. marco

    steakhouses are often overpriced scam houses. serving meals ala-carte is one thing, but charging $9 for bacon or $6 for a baked potato or some broccoli is ridiculous.

    September 17, 2013 at 9:05 am |
  21. Marco

    I'm originally from Texas. I was raised on beef and know the good stuff. I now live in Calgary Alberta. Arguably the best beef you will find any where in the world. Maybe Argentina too. Grass fed and roaming the prairies. But when you live in a place like Alberta, Texas or Argentina, then it doesn't matter where you eat. You are gonna get an amazing steak whether you go to a chain, high end, hole in the wall or your own backyard. And if you happen to know a rancher, you're set! Ranchers and farmers tend to have a specific reserve for themselves. A nice plump, free range, well fed and spoiled cow that they save for their family and friends. But ultimately it can be hit or miss anywhere else in the country.

    September 17, 2013 at 9:01 am |
    • bobpitt

      Yess and to cook it just add sea salt.. and nothing else.. a good piece of meat will taste terrific by itself...

      September 17, 2013 at 11:12 am |
  22. babalou

    What a POS article!! I would rather the author name a couple great places rather than disparage a landmark in his overly verbose (for no better reason) style. Want a great steak, learn how to cook one yourself. I have been to most of the great steakhouses in the WORLD and nothing is better (maybe as good) as the ones that I hand-select from a local butcher (not Costco) and prepare myself.

    September 17, 2013 at 8:41 am |
    • patruns

      "Disparage a landmark"? Having also eaten at this "landmark", I don't think the author went far enough. He should have included it in the burned comments and also opined that no self respecting steakhouse should force you to eat a particular cut of meat. You want a fillet you should be able to get a fillet, not be told you will have to get the rest of your table to agree to a porterhouse, agree to the temp and then maybe you can have the loin portion if no one else wants it.

      September 17, 2013 at 8:59 am |
    • Rudy NYC

      My one and only visit to Morton's Steak House has deemed them guilty of #3, "The Burn Ward". I wasn't aware of just how much they supposedly pride themselves on their.blackened steaks. My "medium rare" porterhouse smelled like a grease pit fire. I could actually scrape black crumbs off of the bone and the meat. Maybe it's a spice rub? I ventured a bite of it, and all I could taste was the flavor of burnt olive oil. I thought I was eating a charcoal ash.

      I sent the back for a new one, and they did exactly that. They were either able to perfectly reproduce the results, or they brought me the same one back with as much black stuff scraped off as they good manage.

      September 17, 2013 at 9:09 am |
      • C-Lo

        Morten's has to be one of the WORST offenders. My wife's office had a Christmas party there years ago, about 20 people total, only 3 didn't complain about their steaks. We had a gift card and went to another location a couple years later and it was worse (did get a decent "cheap" wine recomendation out of the deal). Will never set foot in there again.

        September 17, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • Lone

      A landmark only remains one so long as it stays faithful to what made it one in the first place. If it cannot, or will not, then it no longer deserves the distinction or amount of business it rakes in now. Sadly, brand names are usually slow to die.

      September 17, 2013 at 10:42 am |
  23. Jay

    What a lousy, wordy article. You say nothing specific nor anything any normal person can understand.

    September 17, 2013 at 8:39 am |
    • Joshua Ozersky

      What part didn't you understand?

      September 17, 2013 at 9:29 am |
      • Edward Tyson

        Thanks Joshua you said it all.

        September 17, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • Jenny

      I tried but I really had difficult time to understand this author. Next time, write something that is easier to understand.

      September 17, 2013 at 10:17 am |
      • Eric

        I thought it was very well written. This is one of the problems with today's ignorant society - if you don't understand a word, go look it up instead of demanding the author use a third-grade vocabulary.

        September 17, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • Lone

      If your vocabulary is lackluster then that isn't something an author should have to address. Read some books and look up what you don't recognize.

      September 17, 2013 at 10:47 am |
  24. mr po.

    i hear walmart has great steaks just ask the cast of masterchef....hehehehehehehe

    September 17, 2013 at 8:38 am |
    • ZB

      Lmao... My biggest pet peeve of that show... You know those guys would let that crap into their restarants!

      September 17, 2013 at 10:19 am |
  25. viaticus@hotmail.com

    Ruth's Chris is the best hands down. The best steak I ever had was at an obscure, cheap steakhouse in Buenos Aires. It was just a rib eye steak on a plate. No garnish or seasoning.

    September 17, 2013 at 8:34 am |
  26. MikeOnABike

    I don't see how any of these amount to a "scam." The author is broadly accusing restaurants of perpetuating CRIMES here. Where are the real scams?

    At the very least, this article is senseless hyperbole. At worst, it's criminal defamation of character, especially for the steakhouse called out, even though it was not specifically named.

    September 17, 2013 at 8:22 am |
    • Jay

      Well then, it has to be Obama's fault

      September 17, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • Lone

      What is hard to understand about it? If a restaurant (or any business) is misrepresenting their product, using cheats or poor substitutes, yet still charging the same as superior product, than that is in fact a scam. Not everything on the list may be crimes against humanity, but they still qualify and are useful tips. Maybe you like your steak like a charcoal briquette, but that isn't what most think of when they go out for a steak.

      September 17, 2013 at 10:59 am |
  27. bones1918

    if you really want to eat the most incredible steak of your life, here's whatcha do:

    1. Get yourself a hunting license after having spent the previous 8 months learning to shoot a poker chip from 50 yards. I mean it.. if you cant hit a poker chip at 50 yards, you have no business in the woods.
    2. Admire that majestic buck with the inedible antlers, and instead shoot one of the grossly overpopulated doe. You are doing both the deer population and your taste buds a huge favor here.
    3. slip your butcher an extra $20 bucks to hang the deer carcass for 4 or 5 days, and whatever you do, tell him NOT TO CUT YOUR BACKSTRAPS. keep the backstraps whole.
    4. slice your backstrap into 1.5 inch medallions. Doe medallions are small.. about the diameter of a tennis ball.
    5. salt, pepper and garlic. don't confuse it with lots of spices. It doesn't need it.
    6. high heat and clarified butter.. sear both sides in a stainless pan. (or a grill if you're brave, but in my opinion this risks overcooking)
    7. Don't rest the medallion the way you would a beef sirloin. serve immediately with puree of sweet potato or celery root and maybe a sauce made from blackberry or pomegranate reduction.
    8. Curse me out for ruining beef for you forever, because it can never taste this good.

    September 17, 2013 at 8:14 am |
  28. humtake

    When I go to a steakhouse and I eat a steak, if it is good then I go back, if it isn't then I don't. Not sure why you have to create a long-winded article bashing brands when choosing where you want to eat a steak is trial and error just like EVERYTHING ELSE you choose to eat. If I eat a steak and it is the best steak I've ever had, I could care less if the meat is from some snobby location like you want. If I eat a steak with mold on it and I love it, then guess what...I like mold on my steak. Being a snob and writing an article with obvious bias doesn't do anyone any good. I was hoping for a good lesson in steak purchasing, instead I get a biased article from a snob.

    September 17, 2013 at 7:48 am |
  29. Anthony P.

    I ate at Wolfgang's on Park Ave. Sat night. Could not have been any more pleased. Had 2 pieces of delicious +-1/2" thick cut bacon. We split a steak for 3(2 HUGE Porterhouses) a few cocktails and some sides for(drums rolling) $110 per AFTER tip.

    The meal was amazing. Steak delicious. Issue was noise. We were in a back corner, and the noise was a bit much. Other than that, simply amazing. I have eaten at Keens, DelFriscos, Wolfgang's, Porterhouse, & Peter-Lugers in NYC on my trips to visit my cousin(I live in NEPA <2 hours from NYC).

    Wolfgang's Porterhouse was the BEST Porterhouse I have had, period. Keens likely has the best overall cuts in the city(best Mutton BY FAR!!!!), imho. Lugers is damn good, but more of a name. Wolfgang used to be a cook at Lugers. He quit and started his own line of simply phenom steakhouses.

    September 17, 2013 at 7:28 am |
  30. dude

    Or just skip the animal corpse all together and eat well.

    September 17, 2013 at 7:20 am |
    • Scott

      If there is not some part of a dead animal on my plate it is not a meal.

      September 17, 2013 at 7:40 am |
    • thulsa

      take a hike, vegan boy.

      September 17, 2013 at 7:53 am |
    • RedskinsFan

      People don't go out of their way to tell you how weird (seriously, it is... we are omnivores) the vegan / vegetarian stuff you see in America is. Look, we don't stand on a soap box and tell you that your tofu and such is disgusting, flavorless bean curd jell-o. Stop doing the same to us EVERY time someone discusses barbecue or steak, or venison or anything else where a potentially cute animal may die to feed us.

      September 17, 2013 at 8:38 am |
    • situationalawareness

      That makes it hard to compare steak, then.

      September 17, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • C-Lo

      Salad–It's what's for my dinner's dinner.

      September 17, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
  31. Eric

    This is one of the worst written articles I've ever seen.

    September 17, 2013 at 7:04 am |
  32. Susan

    As Steve Martin used to say, "Well, excuuuuuuuuuuussse ME!" Sorry but 99.99% of the world does NOT live in NYC where all your highfalutin chefs have their over-priced restaurants. Not every town has the option of a steak outside of the average steakhouse chain. Sure, most of them are not great, but I've had a few that are good enough for my humble mid-western palate. I've also had some pretty fatty, gristly ones served from so-called "chefs" at triple the price of a chain steakhouse. And to further horrify you, the absolute best steak I ever sank my teeth into came from a restaurant inside a Hilton hotel in Houston, Texas. So if you try taking your nose out of the air just a bit, you might appeal to a wider demographic of readers. (I bet you didn't know we small town folk could use a word over two syllables.)

    September 17, 2013 at 5:39 am |
    • Jim

      Susan,

      Well said. We "folks n da fly ova cuntry" (fly over country) do have standards, but they aren't arrogant.

      September 17, 2013 at 6:40 am |
    • Scott

      Indeed this read like some elitist rant, trying to be funny and failing, written by a hipster foodie with too much disposable income and too little common sense.

      September 17, 2013 at 7:42 am |
    • Splishkid

      Obviously the author lives in NYC. U expect someone to spend critique every rest in America! Lighten up- it is a human interest piece and very well written and entertaining

      September 17, 2013 at 8:00 am |
    • Al

      But in fact 17% of the US's population lives within a 4 hour drive of NYC.

      September 17, 2013 at 9:09 am |
      • jrielley

        Not sure I'd drive 4 hours to a restaurant.

        September 17, 2013 at 9:22 am |
      • Tom

        Which is a great reason to live at least 12 hours away.

        September 17, 2013 at 11:26 am |
      • situationalawareness

        Which means 83% aren't.

        September 17, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • Joshua Ozersky

      Susan, the points I made apply even more to chain steakhouses than they do to the ones in New York. I guess the point is that, if you want to eat steak, sometimes it's best not to go to a steakhouse, because they are often a rip-off.

      September 17, 2013 at 9:30 am |
      • Jmacq1

        Funny thing: One of the consistently best steaks in my area (which includes a lot of high-end steakhouses, but given how infrequently I go to those I can't really rate them on consistency) is from a chain restaurant that doesn't even specialize in steaks.

        Admittedly, that probably has as much to do with the particular chef/cooks working there than anything else, but it still amuses me that the ~$20 steak at this restaurant is just as good as the ~$60 equivalent at a high-end steakhouse.

        September 17, 2013 at 10:26 am |
  33. Stakeout

    this article is so bad.. along with a lot of the comments... that I may be forced to start eating 'my veggies' once again.. broccoli too .. ewwwwww yuckie :) :)

    September 17, 2013 at 5:33 am |
  34. tzwizard

    Keen's in NYC actually has a reasonably priced premium wine list and is roughly only a 20% markup for premium wines by the bottle (and great steak to boot). Example: I got a 2008 Pride Cab for around $80.

    September 17, 2013 at 4:01 am |
    • Stakeout

      for all the wine tasters out there... bottomline ' white wine is white wine.. red whine is red wine.. mix them and you get Rose' ...anything else is high priced snobbery...

      September 17, 2013 at 5:36 am |
      • Rosie

        Rose is not white wine and red wine mixed together in a punch! it is made from red grapes and its color depends on the length of time the grape juice was exposed to the skin.

        September 17, 2013 at 9:16 am |
      • tzwizard

        You're missing out on life.

        September 17, 2013 at 11:18 am |
      • RC

        What an idiot......

        September 17, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
  35. Bill Graham

    The best goddamned steak I ever had was in Zimbabwe back in 1994. Nothing else compares.

    September 17, 2013 at 3:28 am |
  36. Bill Graham

    The best goddamned steak I ever had was in Zimbabwe. Nothing else compares.

    September 17, 2013 at 3:27 am |
  37. john

    josh ozersky is an overweight a$ $ hole who is famous for no good reason, anyone who listens to the joker is a fool

    September 17, 2013 at 1:38 am |
    • Ed T Duck

      Lol. Do you own the 'famous New York Steakhouse' or something?

      September 17, 2013 at 2:09 am |
  38. Corey

    I will only buy USDA Prime steaks now after having tried them previously. They are far superior to any other cut that you get in the supermarket and at many steakhouses. Still, they are by no means the very best. I suggest looking for a place that sells Prime though as it is not insanely expensive and is definitely worth the cost. Much less to buy it and cook it at home then go out to a steak house.

    September 17, 2013 at 1:36 am |
  39. Brian P

    Like the Cypher, in the move The Matrix said "You know, I know this steak doesn't exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize? Ignorance is bliss."

    September 17, 2013 at 1:25 am |
  40. adibese

    After having a good steak in Kobe, nothing else compares. Sadly the best meal I've ever had has combated my love for steaks in N. America.

    September 17, 2013 at 1:18 am |
    • Chuck Stake

      I have never tried real Kobe unfortunately but American Wagyu is the same breed and quite different from standard American cattle. My brother made a rib roast of it one year for Christmas and it was really good even the reheated leftovers were great. Not cheap though just a thought. Try http://www.lobels.com or I'm sure there are others.

      September 17, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
  41. John

    If you're in the DC area, or even driving through on 66 or 95, Artie's in Fairfax has the best steak I've ever had. Went there for graduation, went back for birthday, went back more after that.

    September 17, 2013 at 1:05 am |
    • bones1918

      better than Ray's the Steaks in Clarendon?

      September 17, 2013 at 7:58 am |
  42. Rick Ilgin

    What a joke of an article–I'd be more concerned about factory farming than this crap.

    September 17, 2013 at 12:49 am |
    • Jeve Stobs

      Quite the little snobbish, cynical piece of trash, isn't it? These aren't tips to enjoying a good steak, they are a bunch of whining and complaining from someone who seems angry, as if he's never had a steak that was good enough. I've had plenty of excellent $15-20 steaks. You can get a perfect, top 0.1% steak if you want to spend $100/person, which is what this "author" wants. Steak houses are not about that, to most of us.

      September 17, 2013 at 1:04 am |
      • Ed T Duck

        I didn't read it that way... he was pointing out common steakhouse scams. It seems you have a problem with that. Do you own a steakhouse?

        September 17, 2013 at 2:12 am |
        • Uhhhhdek

          except none of it is a scam. Brushing the steak with butter or liver? Gasp! You can order bacon with your steak? The horror! Some places will go cheap and buy steaks from wholesale clubs and try to pass them off as choice cuts? No way!

          Really? How about 99% of steakhouses are just trying to make some money while feeding you. Wait, that doesn't sound as shreeky or as full of hyperbole.

          September 17, 2013 at 9:19 am |
      • allanhowls

        You've never spent money on a decent steak, have you? Outback is not a steakhouse, nor is your local Sizzler. There is a world of difference, though not everyone has a palate trained or sensitive enough to tell. But that's what the places who sell either convenience or ambiance over quality are counting on.

        September 17, 2013 at 4:45 am |
      • Joshua Ozersky

        Do you mean that I'm not really an author?

        September 17, 2013 at 9:31 am |
  43. publicnema

    "...as carbonized as a water buffalo after an air strike." Best quote I've seen in quite some time.

    September 17, 2013 at 12:17 am |
  44. publicnema

    "... as carbonized as a water buffalo after an air strike." By far the best quote I've seen in quite some time.

    September 17, 2013 at 12:17 am |
  45. Fiona

    "...as carbonized as a water buffalo after an air strike"...you think that's FUNNY? You are the immoral on here, Josh O.

    This excrescence of an article makes me so glad I'm a vegetarian. There is much to condemn here, but it bears mentioning - and repeating - that the US obsession with Angus beef leads to a lifetime of suffering for Angus herds raised and fattened on the hot, hot plains of the west. Black cows should not be kept in the blazing sun, with no shade or relief to be had anywhere, ever. The breed was developed for a cool climate.

    September 17, 2013 at 12:13 am |
    • Ed T Duck

      oh boo hoo. Here's me playing the world's smallest violin for all the poor moo moos. Hey, if God didn't want us to eat beef, he wouldn't've made it taste so darn good.

      September 17, 2013 at 2:13 am |
    • allanhowls

      Nothing eats without something dying. Welcome to earth.

      September 17, 2013 at 4:46 am |
    • Vegans4Lulz

      Do I make it a point to tell you about all the needless suffering that your carrots, beets, radishes and your wheat grass smoothies go through?

      September 17, 2013 at 9:05 am |
    • Wagan

      If black haired cattle are made for a cooler climate, then why do black haired humans originate from the hotter parts of the earth? Did God put them in the wrong place too?

      September 17, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
  46. wopalong

    I laugh when people talk about grass fed as being tasty or Prime. What you want is GRAIN FED well marbled. In fact the best grain fed doesn't even remotely resemble the taste or consistency of retail. Want the best...go to your local fair and purchase FFA or 4H raised beef, seriously!

    September 16, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
    • Joshua Ozersky

      Thank you. I totally agree.

      September 17, 2013 at 9:32 am |
    • MarylandBill

      I think in fairness, the question of grain vs grass fed is a matter of personal taste.

      September 17, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • Weeds

      True Kobe beef come from cattle which is fed a rich diet of grain and beer to get its signature high level of marbling, texture and flavor. Grass fed cattle will never attain the same level of marbling that comes from grain fed cattle.

      The "public" has shifted towards grass fed beef, at the cost of flavor and tenderness for health reasons.

      Cattle producers like this change as well because its much cheaper to raise a grass fed cow than a grain fed cow.

      September 17, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
      • dscisci

        I'm not sure where you get your information about grass-fed beef being cheaper to raise. ALL cattle are pasture raised in the beginning of their lives. Prior to sale and slaughter they are brought to the feed lot where they are switched to feed/grain to bulk them up. Grass finished cattle are much leaner and weigh less. The rancher then gets less per head than it's grain-fed cousin. As for the prevalence of grass-fed beef – the only grass fed beef I can find in the megamart is from Australia. Sure, I can go to Whole Foods or try to find one of the last real butchers, but the overwhelming majority of meat in the case is grain fed. As for the taste? I prefer the flavor of grass fed, despite it being a little tougher, and I'd like to debunk whomever stated in the comments that there is no health difference between the two. Completely untrue.

        Finally, as to the steakhouse crimes – I've been to several high end houses. None of them blew me away. Queue de Cheval in Montreal was flat out bad. Then again, I never expected them to. They're just diamonds. Pretty, shiny, overrated and overvalued.

        September 18, 2013 at 8:50 am |
  47. Df

    Been dining at the the Palm 1 and 2 for 20 years...always excellent! At home i opt for Montana grass fed from le cense....also excellent!

    September 16, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
    • mtclare

      Palm 1 & 2 in NYC have prime cuts

      September 17, 2013 at 9:34 am |
  48. Jerzgrl

    I disagree w e choice steaks!!! Grass fed beed in the US is always classified at choice, never higher simply because u dont get the marbeling scale u need to be prime for grass fed. Does that mean it tastes not as good or its a lesser quality??? I've had grass fed all natural beef and steaks that r far more superior than most casual chain restaurants that serve prime!! Shitty comodody prime!!! Crap is crap... Doesnt matter if its labeled choice or Prime.. Ill stick w grass fed all natural choice over crappy prime thank u!!!

    September 16, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
  49. sbp

    Per Kenji Lopez-Alt on Serious Eats, experimentation proves that dry aged steak does NOT lose all that weight from flavor concentrating dehydration. In fact, very little water weight is lost. Most of the weight loss is from trimming the dried out exterior after the aging. The flavor is almost entirely a result of chemical/enzymatic reactions.

    September 16, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
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