It’s hard enough to find the best steakhouses in your area and to do that you’re going to need to read lots of customer reviews. Maybe you should also ask around among your friends too. Usually, the most popular steakhouses are often the best.
But once you’re there, what should you order? Most steak fans already know what they like. However, if you’re new to steakhouses, you may be confused about all the various cuts. Here’s a rundown of the best choices:
- This is basically 2 great cuts of steak (filet mignon and the New York strip), which are connected by a t-shaped bone. It’s from the rear of the short loin, and often in the best steakhouses can be two inches thick. This can feed two people with no problem. But if you’re hungry, this is the best choice.
- T-bone. This comes from the front of the short loin, and it’s basically a smaller version of the porterhouse. In this combination, the strip steak is a bit more tender while the filet mignon portion is a bit smaller. It should be at least an inch thick so there’s a dark char on the outside while the inside isn’t overcooked.
- New York strip. There are actually a lot of names for this cut. Steakhouses can call this the Kansas City steak, the shell steak, the club steak, or in some cases just the strip steak. The flavor is rich, the marbling is quite generous, and it is tender without being too tender. You may want a “first cut” strip steak, which means you can see a line of gristle running through the steak.
- Rib steak. That’s what you call it if the rib bone is still attached. If not, then it’s called a rib eye. Either way, it’s very tender and juicy. The marbling is excellent as well so you have lots of flavor to enjoy.
- Filet mignon. This is an expensive cut, and often it costs the most per pound. It’s extremely tender, though on the downside it’s a bit lean so it’s not as flavorful. To compensate for this, many steakhouses serve their filet mignons with truffle butter, foie gras, béarnaise sauce, or cream-based peppercorn sauce. It may even come wrapped in bacon.
- Sirloin steak. This is also a term that’s sometimes used for the New York strip, but in some cases, it also refers to beef cuts that are best ground up for hamburger patties. Just ask if the sirloin steak is a “top sirloin” as this is a more tender cut than the “bottom sirloin.” Both top and bottom options may be a tad tougher than other top cuts, so you’ll need really sharp steak knives. But then again you’ll enjoy the flavorful bites.
- Flank steak. This is the steak that’s traditionally used for London broil. You may think from its name that it comes from the flanks of the steer, but that’s not really the case. In fact, it’s from the steer’s abdomen. This can explain the rather prominent beefy taste and why its texture is quite fibrous.
- Flat iron. This flat iron is a new cut that was actually discovered only in 2002. It’s very high-quality as it’s well-marbled, and yet it’s relatively less expensive. While the filet mignon remains the most tender cut, this comes in at #2 in tenderness.
If you haven’t tried any of these cuts yet, then you owe it to yourself to order them the next time you visit a steakhouse. Who knows, the new cut you try may become your new favorite as well!