A Dream Steakhouse
I would really appreciate if You could give me just 2 minutes of your precious time and help with my project concerning Steakhouses in the UK.
As we all know steakhouses are not the most popular places to eat in the UK and that is why I am asking you to give your opinion on which features should ideal UK style steakhouse have. What do you think it should look like (restaurant theme,menu, pricing, interior, etc.)?
You help is much appreciated, I would be really,really grateful! Thank you all so much!
I've noticed since living in the UK that many places or products think the addition of the word 'American' helps with their marketing. Does that mean something positive? I'm still pondering that one. If it does, perhaps you should focus on American steakhouses and what makes them unique - especially the more popular places. Is it the delicious steaks, the dark wood atmosphere, the good onion rings and fries, the huge salad bar etc. Personally, I wouldn't go to a steak house that didn't have unusually good steaks that are good value for the usually expensive cost.
Perhaps British people have different criteria or tastes. That I don't know.
I wonder if the price of good steak in the UK makes this a difficult concept to deliver well in the UK? Historically steakhouses like Beefeater and Berni Inns were dire, so the market reputation for steakhouses is damaged. Are places like Maze and Hix's Oyster and Chop houses the new incarnations that we will see start a new trend?
Or has he trend been the dissemination if the "St John" style of food with places like Hereford Road, and The Anchor & Hope (and other gastro-pubs)? Offal is far less expensive, and very traditional in the UK and therefore is a more successful meat heavy restaurant concept - i.e. good quality meaty food at affordable prices
How do you feel about the idea of churrascaria and the meat carver wondering around with pieces of meat letting you choose your favourite piece?=) Would that make the experience special?
So, as far I can see it should be something not American and not buffet, am I right?
A great steakhouse should be all about the steak really. I like it when they offer a choice of cuts and ageing. I have found Smiths of Smithfield great for steak, although (sorry Greedy Girl) my boyfriend swears by Gaucho's where even the seats are covered in cowhide.
re: Gourmet Chick
Agreed. Another point I'd like to make is that the Maze Grill made a big fuss over their "genuine American" broiler which is supposed to achieve a better steak than anywhere else in London because it's "hotter". What nonsense - if I can do better steaks at home that any I've had anywhere else on my normal gas hob and a grill pan, then there's no excuse for anywhere else not doing the same:
There is a restaurant on Jermyn Street in Piccadilly called "Rowley's" that serves the most amazing steaks served in what looks like an old butchers or fishmongers (with the cracked tiles still on the wall!) The steaks are served on a silver platter with lots of herb butter on top and endless fries. Sounds like an all you can eat restaurant but the silver service, decor etc is of a very high standard
Stay away from the whole american themed place (there is always TGI Fridays/Planet Hollywood type place for anyone who wants that!)
Also check out the Sizzling Pub Co. places. they are better than average steak house although they are still very much part of a large chain!
I think there is a huge opportunity to have a high quality steak house in the uk. Moving away from the whole Aberdeen Angus places (menu, decor and staff still stuck in the 70's....how they make any money I will never know....check out Anthony Bourdains book "The Nasty Bits" where he talks about them!) and moving more towards somewhere that would sell not just rump, sirloin and t-bone but some more obscure cuts like onglet or hanger.
I haven't been but people rave about Hawksmoor over in Spitalfields. Very pricey tho', which is why I haven't yet been.
I've had good steaks at the Big Easy, Kings Road, Chelsea. It's not a "steakhouse" - it's decorated like a "down South crabshack", or someone's idea of what that would look like.
For our anniversary my husband and I finally made it to Peter Luger's in Williamsburg, Brooklyn - that would be a classic US/german style place - brightly lit, rude waiters, don't even try to order the catch of the day! Whilst I loved the food (the creamed spinach was to die for and the steak is rightly famous) the incredibly bright lights aren't exactly the most romantic (although we knew that before we went).
I guess my "idea" of a perfect steakhouse would probably be dark & wood panelled, with crisp white linen - I would expect it to be expensive and have great quality, traceable meat, stiff cocktails and a great wine list. Although like I said I haven't yet been, that's the description I've been given of Hawksmoor.
When I was a kid my favourite place to go for my birthday was a steakhouse called Victoria Station in Illinois - it was made out of old railroad boxcars. Now that was a place! While you were waiting for your table you got to sit upstairs in the caboose and drink Shirley Temples - the height of sophistication as far as I was concerned!
We've tried long and hard to find the best steak/steakhouse in London. The results of which you can have a look at here: http://aroundbritainwithapaunch.blogspot.com/search/label/Steak
Our favourite is definitely Hawksmoor. It's got great cocktails. Awesome steak. And a really funky look and feel. But we've not found any others in London that are worth raving out.
Other steak houses we've tried - in descending order of quality
Cattle Grid - Balham
Gaucho Grill - Swallow Street
Black and Blue - Wigmore Street
La Pampa - Clapham Junction
Cattle Grid is fun and hopefully going places. It's quite small and only has a limited range of steaks - but they are cooked well and are top quality meat. We'd have liked to have seen some more interesting cuts on the menu such as feather and rump perhaps...
Gaucho Grill completely ballsed up my first steak but the second one was brilliant. So it was a mixture between 0 stars and 5 stars. Although we found the atmosphere hysterically contrived.
Black and Blue is a place I really wanted to like. But they messed up the steak. I asked for it "black and blue" but was greeted with a confused look followed by a well done dry steak. Not good.
La Pampa is hit and miss as well. The last time we went was poor, expensive and thoroughly underwhelming.
I'm keen to give Maze Grill a go at some point. But need to save up enough money first!
If you want a US perspective on all things to do with steak have a look at this site:
Also... really intersted by the idea of Rowleys, Smith and St. John... sounds great.
Just want to put in another word for Hawksmoor, which on Monday evening served up another massive, juicy steak with a beautiful char. I've tried Gaucho Hampstead, Black and Blue Borough, Popesye Earls Court (the worst of the lot) and Buen Ayre Battersea and none of them even come close. Hawksmoor is my idea of a perfect steak restaurant, with two caveats - the service is often shocking (I mean literally rude sometimes) and yes, it is pricey.
I would also highly recommend "Buen Ayre" in Hackney for the best steaks you can get this side of the Atlantic and I am an Argentine myself so I know excellent meat from birth! It's reasonably priced, simple but quality fare. Try empanadas and a dulce de lche dessert while you're there too!
would definitely second the recommendation for Buen Ayre in Hackney (avoid the one in Battersea - nowhere near as good). Go for the 'parrillada' (mixed grill)- a real meat treat - fillet, with a side of morcilla, garnised with sirloin and topped with provolone. Would compare with best steaks I have had in the States. Great wine list too