New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

The Modern Steakhouse.

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thought experiment for you: What does it mean to be a steakhouse in this day and age? Is the nostalgia factor a critical part of the experience or is there room in the customer's mind for a more modern flair?

Anybody who cares to post a link to a menu that they think is doing it right, or even just doing it interesting, is more than welcome.

Cheers,

Al
post #2 of 16

I think there is room for both the traditional Steak-House and a more modern version (which I'd prefer). 

 

The traditional version works best at an established place or city that doesn't have one.   Opening a traditional place would be pretty rough if you had serious competition, there just isn't room for two really great traditional places in a city unless you are in a very large city.

 

Here are my thoughts, in no particular order on a 'modern' version.

 

- you have to 'de-gluttonize' the menu and make it way more balanced than a traditional place, superb veggies and amazing starches that will get even the vegetarians into the place just to order the sides.   Ensure the sides are vegetarian-friendly in size, variety and cost.

 

- smaller portions of meat (better quality) and also put some interesting options with regards to the cuts offered.  Hanger steak, marinated flank, berkshire pork, wagyu, truely long dry-aged meats, some offal, tasting plates or combo's would entice people to try new things.  Different animal steaks would also possibly be a route depending on suppliers.

 

- proper meat for kebabs, steak & kidney pie that uses real steak, minute steak that isn't mechanicly-tenderized outside round.

 

- international accompanyments, chimichuri's, salsas, proper-demi's and coulis along with more traditional herb-butters, herb-cheeses (goat and blue)

 

- proteins should be cut and plated with accompanyments, sauced and garnished.  ( i've seen way too many people who don't know how to cut a steak properly and experience 'tough' meat even at great places)

 

- starches should be lighter and avoid the boring old three (baked, rice, fries), I really love a good herbed taboule or cous-cous salad with steak.   hasselback potatoes shouldn't have ever gone out of favour, lemony-herbed scallop of potatoe (think fine-dining greek), rice should be a very killer pilaf or pilau depending on the slant you want for your restaurant. 

 

- any salads must be composed and not include iceberg wedges or emulsified cheese dressings...

 

---

 

lots of other ideas but i've only got 15 minutes for my break  :p

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

Reply

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

Reply
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Michael,

Always enjoy back and forthing with you! Lots of good comments. Its the composed plate aspect that really draws me...I think that is right for the customer, as well as the dish. Hard nut to crack though when the expectation in the customers mind is for a singular hunk of beef, even if it works against their over all experience. I tend to drop these sort of questions leading into a weekend when I have no time to follow through...more considered info to come...

Al
post #4 of 16

I know there are some old-school places that take the steak sub-primals and jaccard them.   They lay the meat so the blades are against the grain and then do as many sides as the meat requires.

 

Tenderloin gets only one side done, rib-eye two sides and sirloin 3 sides.  This means that no matter how the meat is cut it will be tender.  Basically they are 'pre-cutting' the meat fibres for you!  Shocking but some of these places have been around 100+ years and are still doing it the same way.   People must like it - especially if they're shilling out $45+ for a plate of what amounts to a mechanically-tenderized prime cut of beef!

 

Another way I've seen is to rest well - cut, then reassemble on the plate over a sauce.  Takes a good line cook to do that though so i've only seen it in the very high end places.  

 

imnsho - - - since we're in fantasy land... I think this would be the best way.

 

The servers ask how you want the steak cooked (temp) and then how you want it cut, thin, medium or thick.  (maybe even just thick or thin...)  The cuts are all on the bias so it's never chewy or tough but the diner gets the appropriate size piece - the length isn't messed with however... so the diner will have to do some cutting.

Then it's all reassembled on the plate over a sauce or under a medallion of herbed butter or cheese.

At least that is the way I do it 'chez-moi'

 

Quote:

 

I tend to drop these sort of questions leading into a weekend when I have no time to follow through...more considered info to come...

No worries - i'm not usually in any kind of rush - i'd rather wait for good discussion.  Have a great night!

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

Reply

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

Reply
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
As you might have intuited this is a "friend of a friend" type of scenario. The specific local in this situation is a medium sized market, at best. There are two highend steakhouses, plus two chains to look after the fathers day and highschool grad crowd.
I really like the composed plate idea, that opens up the potential for finese that currently is lacking.

One of the quandries I have is the idea of the steak being cut table side. On one hand it looks damn sexy, and encourages the customer to over order. On the down side, in a crowded market, eliminates the possibility of a house marinaide or rubs to givemthe product something distinctive. That leads us to dry aging. Which is great, but limits some of cuts that I think would be appealing, like tri tip or flat iron, as the loss on cuts that small could be onerous.

How do think a mixed menu might work? Like offering say two house cuts of dry aged beef as house steaks, and then offering a smaller menu of composed dishes based around more unusual cuts. These items would change frequently and be more seasonaly focused. That way the classics can remain that way.

Al
post #6 of 16

In a market that crowded I think your only option would be to do a mixed menu as you describe.

 

For the fixed traditional house offerings i'd suggest they have a twist... maybe cold smoked before grilling or grilled over live coals or a very long dry aged steak option.   

 

I really like the idea of rotating composed dishes - with a good supplier - you can get really creative to draw the adventurous clients in but always have something for the traditional crowd.  Also allows you to control costs better as you're not tied to a list of 'must-buys'.

 

As I mentioned above I think a lot of places don't leverage their sides very well - they are simply afterthoughts.  If you do them well and choose them judiciously they not only compliment the traditional steak dinner but they can shine on their own and be ordered for those who don't want to partake in steak.  4-5 veggies, 3-4 starches, 4-5 salads and 2 specials ie. cous-cous / bruscetta / stuffed mushrooms / hot dips.  2 soups one veggie and one meat. Assuming a vegetarian would order salad/special + veg + starch... that gives them at least 50 different combo's.   All not having to prepare anything 'extra'.

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

Reply

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

Reply
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
We are thinking along the same lines for sure. On the current menu there is one lonely pasta dish, a vegetable cannaloni, guess why thats there? Just like in an action film the hero is only as good as his\her villan, our hero Steak, needs a colourful, flambouyant foil--the vegetables!

Al
post #8 of 16

The Palm, Smith and Wollenski. The Old Homestead, Peter Luger, Berns  Steakhouse, Ruth Chris, The Assembly   All these places are national institutions and will never change. They offer a true experience of yesteryear as well as prosperity. That's why people go there. Plus the food and service in all is top shelf, no compromise on food or service.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #9 of 16

you have a great way of thinking! It sounds like great and fresh new idea's MichaelGA!!

post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefedb View Post

The Palm, Smith and Wollenski. The Old Homestead, Peter Luger, Berns  Steakhouse, Ruth Chris, The Assembly   All these places are national institutions and will never change. They offer a true experience of yesteryear as well as prosperity. That's why people go there. Plus the food and service in all is top shelf, no compromise on food or service.

 

I've been to almost half of these places, great places, but what is your viewpoint?

 

--------

 

Thanks spikedog

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

Reply

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

Reply
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
Chef Ed,

Your comments are always valuable. My thing is unless you are already a legend, how do you go forward from there? All of the
Places you you have cited have influenced, laid the blueprint, or otherwise set the standard for the genre that we are are dealing with. It becomes a copy of a copy or copy, you see where this is going? Customers go to a higend steakhouse in my small market to hitch a ride on the glamour of something like Lugers, or

in this day and age, Craftsteak, without having the experience of the original. And when all of the potential competion are all appealing to the same romantic attraction it becomes tricky. In this scenario how would you differentiate yourself from competition that are all drawing from the same pool of inspiration?

Al
post #12 of 16

Today the new generation thinks Chiles, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Ruby Tuesdays, and Applebee are good.   In their minds, they are because they are used to fast  food drive-in type places where the burger or reasonable try at  one is attempted.

     The economy also rules where they eat  (notice I did not say dine)  as this is one of the big differences. When you eat in a great steakhouse or restaurant you dine. Great service as well as food.  No staff on cell phones running around, Nobody saying "No problem" Nobody asking you if you want change, or running there hands through their hair,, because  good service should not be a problem.

   II for one do not mind paying once in a while for this. This is the way they all USED to be.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #13 of 16

Here is an interesting read...

 

http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2013/06/steakcraft-carbone-porterhouse-torrisi.html

 

The only problem is they seem to be slicing the steak wrong after removing from the bone.   Might be the picture quality though.

Don't slice it with the grain!


Edited by MichaelGA - 6/28/13 at 10:32pm

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

Reply

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

Reply
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
That is fairly badass. I have been thinking of tableside tartar, though I have server competincy concerns.

Al
post #15 of 16

A pretty interesting way of doing Porterhouse Steaks

 

http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2013/07/steakcraft-hurricane-club-steak-sushi-porterhouse-slideshow.html#

 

from Hurricane Club Steak and Sushi

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

Reply

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

Reply
post #16 of 16
Some very nice ideas in there but I think it is a huge mistake to avoid fries or chips, possibly slightly pretentious too!

I think I'd be annoyed if I went to a 'steakhouse' and there were no fries/chips on the menu. They don't have to be the kind straight from the freezer they can be a wonderful side dish when done properly,

Customers will expect fries.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Professional Chefs