If you’re looking for a good cut of beef, you can find it at a steak house. That’s true whether it’s a chain or a local establishment, and whether you’re in the mood for fine dining or something more family friendly. If you don’t want to leave your house, you may even be able to find a restaurant that offers home delivery. And if someone in your dining party doesn’t care for beef, it’s typical for these establishments to also have a good selection of seafood dishes. Here are some terms to be familiar with.
Marbling - This refers to the intramuscular fine lines of fat in beef. Greater marbling usually means a higher quality grade and enhances juiciness and flavor.
Delmonico - A delmonico is triangular and smaller than a t-bone. It is cut from the short loin and usually very tender.
Porterhouse - This is one of the most popular types and usually quite fatty. Sometimes known as an oversized t-bone.
Rib - From the rib section and often less tender and more fatty than some other types but offers a good flavor.
Sirloin - A cut from the upper part of the loin. In a chophouse often this is a large portion good for serving families.
Chophouse - An alternate term for a restaurant that specializes in serving steak although it may also serve seafood and offer home delivery.
Tri-Tip Roast - Also called a triangle roast, this is a tender cut that doesn’t contain much fat. It can be oven roasted as a whole or cut into smaller pieces.
London Broil - Thick cut, usually requires longer periods of marinating and can be broiled or barbecued.
Dry Aged - Beef that has been stored without vacuum packaging in order to reduce spoilage and enhance taste.
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Steak houses are restaurants that specialize in steak. They often have a fairly limited menu, although some may also sell seafood. For the most part, steak houses are considered to be fine dining establishments. Steak houses that also sell seafood and fish are sometimes called surf and turf.
It is relatively unusual for a steak house to offer delivery. When they do, it is commonly through a delivery service rather than directly. Steak houses tend to focus on the entire dining experience and are generally expensive.
As in other fine dining restaurants, they offer extensive wine lists and may have a specialist sommelier. Most are open only for dinner. The menu generally consists of various cuts of beef put together with sauces and marinades. Some may offer a token vegetarian entrée, but many do not. The bewildering array of cuts, mostly grilled, range in price and quality. Steak houses generally serve prime beef. Filet mignon is considered a premier cut, but many others are offered. Porterhouse and T-bone steaks are often popular. Sirloin and tenderloin tend to be on the expensive end. Tri-tip is considered a popular cook out cut and is often heavily marinaded. Steak houses also often serve ribs.
Usually, the steak entree is served with two or three different vegetables. As steak houses tend to be considered gourmet restaurants, they usually offer a variety of appetizers and desserts, but there is a tendency to keep the meat front and center. Most steak houses sell gift certificates and some may sell other merchandise, such as specialty sauces.
There are also chain steak houses that offer moderate quality dining on a stock menu, but these too tend to keep the meat as the main centerpiece and other aspects as secondary.