Dinner at a steakhouse isn't cheap, and knowing how to order can make the difference between a great meal and a mediocre one.
We asked Laurent Tourondel, the chef behind some of New York City's greatest steakhouses, including BLT Steak, BLT Prime, and the newly opened Arlington Club, to share some pro tips for getting the most out of your next steakhouse outing.
What are the major differences between the main cuts of meat on a steakhouse menu?
Different cuts come from different parts of the animal, so that’s the main difference, but mostly what you will notice is the fat content ratio to lean meat, and how it is incorporated. Filet Mignon is marbled, which means the fat is more evenly distributed, while a different cut would have more surrounding the flesh.
Which cut tends to be the best value in terms of price and quality?
Skirt steak is very flavorful and a great value. We have an American Wagyu skirt steak on the menu at Arlington Club and it’s a great piece of meat. Our guests really enjoy it.
What should you order if you want to splurge?
Definitely the Cote De Boeuf for two. It’s the ultimate cut of meat, kind of like a ribeye for two. It has more fat and is a thicker cut with great flavor.
What's the best answer when the waiter asks how you want your meat cooked?
Medium rare – always. It’s very important not to overcook as some tend to do.
What is the biggest mistake diners make when eating at a steakhouse?
I don’t think you can go wrong at a steakhouse, but I’d say maybe it’s that they don’t know what they like. I always tell people to try a few cuts of meat in one sitting and really know which cut you enjoy most. We all have different preferences so it’s best to know what you personally enjoy.
What is your favorite side dish with steak?
I love creamed spinach. I have been preparing it with fontina and nutmeg for the menu at Arlington Club and it’s the best I have made yet!
How to know which wine goes with which steak?
Always ask the sommelier. We have somewhere around 450 wines at Arlington Club and that can get very overwhelming. A good rule of thumb is to go with a red with steak, and a hearty wine like a Cabernet Sauvignon because it’s deep and full bodied.
Would you ever order a non-red wine or a cocktail with a steak?
No, only red, personally, but to each their own!
Any favorite holiday wines to try at this time of year?
Right now, I am enjoying Veuve Cliquot champagne that is just amazing. It’s the perfect New Year’s/Christmas celebratory sparkler. You can’t go wrong with this at a party. Also, Rieslings are great for the holidays — they’re sweet and fruit forward whites, and go well with Holiday desserts, where my mind is at right now!
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