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Feb 16, 2009 11:29 AM

Just what is a dry aged steak supposed to taste like?

We splurged and went to a pricey steak place last night. One of the main reasons I chose this place was because of the dry aged porterhouse. I thought it was supposed to have a great flavor and be exceptionally tender. I got it medium rare, closer to rare. First one was more on the medium side, so I sent it back, without tasting it. Second one came out just right, but no flavor, at all, period. Didn't taste beefy, moist, nothing. Somewhat tender, but not what I was expecting. I had the au jus on the side and it also was flavorless, and watery. I brought most of it home, and will add some seasonings to it tonight. I have an au jus concentrate that is far better than what I was served. Was this just a bad experience or was I expecting too much?

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  1. Hmm - in comparing the taste I would say that it does indeed have more flavor. Some compare it to an aged cheese - kind of a nuttiness. There are different stages of aging though... how long do they claim they age? As far as moisture... well in DRY aging they allow the moisture to evaporate. Moisture from a steak comes from fat within the meat. I hate to accuse, but were you a half-bottle of wine into dinner by the time the entrees arrived?!

    4 Replies
    1. re: HaagenDazs

      I believe our server said they dry age, in house, for 3 weeks. And I had one glass of Cab that I nursed the entire evening. My husband had a delmonico, not dry aged, and his also had no flavor.

      1. re: danhole

        Did they use salt? Some folks find that salting a prime steak is (if it was indeed prime) unnecessary. I think that's a load of crap actually, I think a steak always needs salt, but it might indicate why there was less flavor than you're used to.

        1. re: HaagenDazs

          Couldn't taste any salt, at all. It was so flavorless that in desperation we asked for some butter and smeared that on the steaks. I have never asked for steak sauce for any steak, and especially not one I am spending over $40 for, but it crossed my mind.

          1. re: danhole

            Well who knows... maybe that was it.

    2. Dry aged beef should taste much more meatier than the typically wet aged beef found in the grocery. It may have a sweeter or nuttier flavor as the previous poster noted.

      I doubt that any wine you had been drinking would have altered your taste buds. The moisture and flavor of the meat is in the in the cells and connective tissue - not the fat (which in beef doesn't really have much flavor but can taste burned when cooked). Proper cooking should allow the meat to come to the right temperature to preserve any moisture within the cut.

      If your meat was just blah then it wasn't a very good cut. The fact that it had no flavor or moisture means that they started out with a poor cut of beef and then cooked it incorrectly. And then charged you for the privilege.

      1. The difference between wet aged and dry aged beef is like the difference between farmed and wild salmon.

        Dry aged should have a more concentrated, pronounced "beef-y" taste to it.

        As far as it being tender, that really has more to do with the marbling and the grade (was your porterhouse "prime"?) than with the aging process.

        Sorry to hear about your experience. Maybe write to the restaurant and explain your displeasure.

        8 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          No, my porterhouse was not prime, but my husbands delmonico was. I had been assured by several people, some even on CH, that even though the steak was choice it should have been excellent.

          We did contact them this morning via email, and the Managing Partner called this afternoon. He was quite distressed to hear about our experience and is sending us something to make up for the experience. He said this was highly unusual and our steaks should have been far better than what we were served, so he promised they would make it up to us and that he would personally make sure that we had a perfect steak the next time. So we will see.

          1. re: danhole

            By the way, there is a difference between beef that is tender and one that is merely soft or mushy.

            Wet aged beef (stuff one buys at the market or most run-of-the-mill steak joints) tends be more soft, or even mushy.

            Dry aged beef is tender, not mushy. It still has a nice chew to it, and does not impart a sort of "meatloaf-y" type of mouth-feel.

            And good to hear the restaurant is trying to make amends.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              I don't like mushy, which is why I really don't like ribeye, because, to me, that is on the mushy side, but this was not as tender as I expected. It had a little too much chew to it.

              1. re: danhole

                Makes me wonder whether they ran out of the dry-aged stuff and served you a fresh one, figuring most people wouldn't know the difference anyway. Their bad luck they got caught by a 'Hound!

                1. re: BobB

                  I was suspecting the same thing - maybe they didn't want to eat the cost of another dry-aged so they heated up a "regular" steak in its place. It could also have been inadequate/improper aging or an inferior cut as well.

          2. re: ipsedixit

            I would write something to the restaurant, yes ipsedxit ... aged beef is more pronounced in flavor and is usually very flavorful and juicy. I can't imagine why not. Furthermore the au just as well should of had flavor. Which means, I would question the cook. And tender is the cut, but still a good quality aged beef should of been good all around.

            I get it from one source now and then for a special dinner or party and everyone can immediately tell the difference. Tasteless isn't right.

            I would speak my displeasure to the establishment.

            1. re: kchurchill5

              If you look at the entire thread you will see that we contacted them first thing Mon. morning, and got a response early in the afternoon. He was dismayed that about the steaks and said he would make it up to us . . . now I am waiting for something to come in the mail to see what that means. It was not a cheap meal by any means.

              1. re: danhole

                I missed that sorry, well hopefully better next time.

          3. The original comment has been removed
            1. The most noticeablt thing about a dry aged steak IMO is the smell. A fresh steak will smell iron-y, whereas an aged steak will smell slightly sweet. Obviously, you can't have seen that stage.

              TBH, I'm a fan of both; they're different. I have to say though, I'm racking my brain, and I can't really find the difference in taste in my mind. And I ate it on Saturday. Oh yeah, ok: I had 12oz of dry-aged sirloin cut in to 4 steaks (by me) and then marinaded in extra virgin oliveoil and sea salt and cracked black pepper. They were quite thin, and very tender before they were cooked when I was rubbing the oil in. I guess they just tasted a bit nicer than usual.

              And HD, hell yeah, I've never met a steak that didn't benefit from proper seasoning.

              Also; in defence of the ribeye, it's a wonderful cut, but it can go wrong. I've never been disappointed with a professionally cooked ribeye, though it can be tough cooking at home to render out the fat so you don't get that kind of... weird smell. And taste.