Mastros - Paying for a stomach ache
I have 2 major complaints with Mastros:
1) Why do they drench a great piece of meat in butter? I had the bone-in rib-eye which is wonderfully marbeled and full of flavor. Not sure why Mastros ruins the steak by putting butter on it. Given the amount of fat in a rib-eye, there is already enough flavor. I seriously felt sick all night, as did one of the other diners at my table.
2) Why do they serve the steaks piping hot? For maximum flavor, one needs to let the sit "rest" for a period of time after cooking. So basically, they placed the steak in front of me and then I had to sit there eyeing my steak for 5+ minutes waiting for it to rest.
As you know, I've preached the "chilled salad plate" strategy at Ruth's for quite some time. Although Ruth's occasionally screws up on getting the cold plate, Mastro's never has (at least for us) and a charred-rare is delivered perfectly. Order the chilled plate when you order your drinks. Then remind the server. And again.
Here, here ...
(and doesn't Dan Tana do the same thing -- drench the steak in butter?)
BTW - I like my steaks piping hot. When I grill at home, I burn my mouth on the juice -- but I have learned that that is an idiosyncracy.
I personally love the butter on the steak (which is why I also like Ruth's Chris) and I like my steak piping hot. To each his (or her) own.
Butter on a steak is actually a French tradition, particularly in Normandie (where they put butter on EVERYTHING, including cheese). It's a taste thing, really, although since it's not as traditional here it would be better if they told you ahead of time (or put it on the menu, or something) so that you'd know to ask for yours without.
As for letting the meat rest, I have no idea why they wouldn't. Did you ask them? Seems that any restaurant that specializes in steak would do this as a matter of course.
I think the sizzling steak is about the drama of presentation (and yes, it really does need to sit...but if you order sides and a refreshed drink, by the time all the activity settles, it usually has rested a few minutes. Mastro's goes for the drama fromt the dry ice on the shrimp cocktaila and those seafood towers to the "sizzlin'" steaks...that mega hot plate so near my arm drives me crazy. But after one of their martini's I'm ready to go with the flow.
I agree on the butter...and at Ruth Chris I had a steakt that was literally "swimming" in the stuff...Mastro's seems to not be quite so bad...I always ask them to hold hte butter...and if it's not butter, then it's almost always soaked in olive oil before hand...the oil/butter is what gives the steak that nice charred look, isn't it?
These so called steakhouses are nothing more than splurges, but rarely offer good value.
An $8 to $10/lb filet on sale from Stater Bros (yes, you can sweet talk them into cutting you nicely trimmed thick pieces) marinated for several hours in a touch of olive oil, splash of balsamic and plenty of coarse pepper and some minced garlic, then chargrilled medium rare over intensely hot coals yields a steak comparable to or even tastier than the fancy houses.
Understand, no one shelling out $40 a pop for a bare steak at Mastro's would ever knowlingly admit to anything like that. But don't tell your guests where the meat's from or how it's prepared and see what raves you get. We've done it enough times to know it works like a charm, never the tiniest of morsels left behind. And BTW, if we weren't enthralled eating our own cooking, we wouldn't dream of serving it to others.
Yeah, I hate the hot plate thing too. It just keeps the meat cooking.
I went to a Ruth's Chris some years ago and ordered a ribeye extra rare, it came out medium. Medium, and I blame a combination of cooks and stupid hot plates.
That's great for fajitas, but leave it out of my steak experiences.
As for the butter...yes, please.