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Do you pick up the steak bone in a restaurant.


There was discussion about grilling steak in another thread. Chef of a fancy restaurant showed a "frenched" (highly trimmed) rib steak to show technique for grilling. This prep removes a portion of meat and fat from the bone. I love the meat closest to the bone. I like to pick up the bone and chew the meat off on a good steak such as rib or porterhouse. I have a friend who likes to chomp, but, will take the bone home to do it in private. What will the hound survey show? Are you fans of eating like a hound, even in an upscale restaurant? Am I just a low class slob when it comes to this.

  1. I do pick up the bone. Maybe I am shameless, though. You're probably not supposed to, but it tastes so good, so I don't really care.

    1. Picking up a steak bone in an upscale restaurant? No - never. Unthinkable. At home I'll pick it up, but only to hand it to my wife who's much more of a bone gnawer than I am.

      That said, there are some "on the bone" items that can be eaten by hand in public, like fried chicken, most sorts of chicken wings, and (in informal restaurants) baby lamb chops.

      7 Replies
      1. re: BobB

        I never eat fried chicken by picking it up and gnawing away. Yuck. And NEVER lamb chops either.

        1. re: c oliver

          C, there is a respectability in your adhering to your mother's rules of dining, but I suggest you let your hair down and try a little gnawing, at first in the privacy in your own home. How do you eat baby back ribs? If people in a restaurant in Texas saw you eating fried chicken with a knife and fork, they would chip in and buy you a bus ticket to Oklahoma, thinking they have improved the average culinary etiquette in both states.

          1. re: Veggo

            I think I'm buying YOU a ticket here. You started our day with a laugh. Thanks.

            At home I DO gnaw ribs but I would eat the main portion of the meat on a lamb chop with knife and fork and then gnaw. I DO eat chicken wings with my fingers but not the breast (I don't like dark meat chicken). I'd say most people eat the breast with a knife and fork, wouldn't you? My hair's only recently gotten long enough to put up so I guess now I can let it down. Baby back ribs? If they're really meaty, I might cut off larger pieces, mainly because as tender as ours are sometimes a bite pulls all the meat off.
            PS: I'm NOT a stuffy person :)

              1. re: Karl S

                Oh, I thought "stuffed" on Chowhound was implied.

              2. re: c oliver

                C - you made me think about how I eat chicken, and like you I don't like dark meat, so I usually get a breast. Most of the time they are just too big to pick up and eat, so I use a knife and fork to slice as much as I can and then I pick the slices up with my fingers to eat. So I guess I am a half and half type person.

                Now gnawing a bone in a restaurant is something I would never do! At home, I get the bones because the DH leave too much meat on his. But in public I play the "I need to take the bone for my dog" card, and then gnaw here.

                Speaking of gnawing - my daughter when she was young went to a friends house where they served pork chops, and they just picked them up and ate them without any cutting! She tried that at home ONCE. A bone is one thing but a whole pork chop!

                BTW - check your email. I sent you something.

                1. re: danhole

                  And please include some rolls, my dog only eats sandwiches.

        2. My rule of thumb is that if I have a cloth napkin, I will play the etiquette game and use only knife and fork. If I have a paper napkin, I will gnaw like a rabid wolf.

          1. OK, so I have a friend that loves bone in rib eye as much (maybe more, but no that's not possible) as I do. We have this discussion just about everytime we go out for steak. I have always found it gauche to pick up a bone and gnaw in a restaurant. She just doesn't care. I would take my bone home to gnaw in the privacy of my kitchen. She says it tastes best if you gnaw on it right at the dinner table. Now in So Cal, most restaurant, despite how high-priced they may be, are usually beach casual and now I figure if people can show up in shorts and flip flops and girls can expose their jiggly bellies and bra straps, then who the hell cares if I pick up the bone and gnaw. And my friend is right.... it taste better at the dinner table.

            1. Nope. I take it home for private gnawing. :)

              1. Well, if the bone is frenched and covered with a cap, there are some who say it's eligible for at least holding by the capped end to cut away the meat on the bone (which is otherwise difficult to do with a fork and knife, particularly meat that is rare). Now, it's unusual for a beef steak on the bone to be so treated: usually it's rack of lamb, and rib chops of smaller size. In fact, I would sue a chef for frenching a beef chop - he's taking the most delectable morsel for another use....

                1. 1. Depends how good the steak was

                  2. Depends how hungry I still am after eating the steak

                  3. Depends who I am keeping company with (males yes, females no)

                  4. Depends how clean I have already removed all the meat from the bone

                  5. Depends on how much I want to hear my Sister-In-Law yell at me for treating her dog with the bone.

                  6. Final answer...yes in the resto....yes at home.

                  1. Absolutely. In fact my husband and I will share a steak, he gets most of the meat, and I take the bone. I do it with all meat, and chicken. It is the best part and the tastiest part of the meal.

                    1. I did read recently about an older gentleman at Lugers who picks up his bone and gnaws away. After reading it, I thought I could but, honestly, I know I couldn't. My mother would roll in her grave.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: c oliver

                        If that was in the thread about the restauarnt slicing the steak, then it was me VBG,,,

                        BUT, I don't consider 55 to be OLDER, but definitely a gentleman.

                        1. re: bagelman01

                          It WAS that thread. And I'm 62 (and hopefuly by some standards a "lady") so forgive me for aging you :)

                          1. re: c oliver

                            just entering the PRIME of our lives, and the way I want my beef.

                            For those on this thread, who did not read the abovementioned post. I was careful to state that Peter Luger's although legendary is NOT a tablecloth restaurant. It is a true old fashioned male oriented steak house. Eating the sweet meat directly from the bone is acceptable behavior there.

                            My paternal grandparents started taking me there more than 52 years ago. I was too young to handle a sharp knife, but was handed the bone to keep me busy, and quite. IT WORKED

                            1. re: bagelman01

                              I'm another one that gnaws the meat and fat off the bone at Luger's. It's the best part and there is a lot of meat left on that bone.

                      2. i pick it up.

                        why wouldn't i?

                        1. I’d pick it up too. But in a nicer joint I’d probably be a little more discreet. Deep down, it doesn’t bother me if I’m going to be prejudged as an uncouth slob because I chew the meat off a bone.

                          Now if I ate cat-style, hands in my lap and face in the plate, that would be a different story.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: cuccubear

                            Nice imagery. "Care for another saucer of milk with that chop, sir?"

                            1. re: Veggo

                              Ha! Although I think with my beard, the subject pronoun would be "sir". ;-)

                              1. re: cuccubear

                                Profuse apologies o nameless profile one :) I did the edit. Now my imagery is of my cats' milk-soaked goatees.

                                1. re: Veggo

                                  No worries! and re: the nameless profile, I've made the same mistakes.

                          2. Anywhere, any time, any bone, as long as it deserves it. I love eating with my hands in the first case (ethiopian, mexican, mughal, etc). I was at Pete's a few weeks ago and I picked up both bones!!! How could you not?!?!

                            1. Even Emily Post says that if the food is served with a bone in, it's OK to pick it up and gnaw. Last night one of my dinner guests ordered double French cut lamb chops and ate the meat with his knife and fork, leaving the bones. I exercised my right as host to confiscate the ribs and happily ate the best part of the meal. There's a certain primal satisfaction in gnawing (politely, of course) and I do it whether it's 5 star or BBQ in the church parking lot.

                              18 Replies
                              1. re: TomSwift

                                Excellent info re Emily Post. If you will post the exact quote, I will then be able to go out in public and perform the deed.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  Now I must search, but I'm happy to do it for the team. I have this mental image of you whipping out a copy of the quote, holding it aloft and defying anyone to challange your Post-given right to gnaw bones. But probably someone else will track down the quote before I can get back.

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    From Emily Post's Etiquette 75th Anniversary Ediiton, "At a dinner party or in a formal restaurant lamb chops must be eaten with a knife and fork. The "center", or "eye", of the chop is cut off the bone, and cut into two or three pieces. If the chop has a frill paper "skirt" around the end of the bone, you may hold that in your hand and cut the tasty meat from the side of the bone. If there is no "skirt" you must do the best you can with your knife and fork. At the family table or in an informal group of friends, the center maybe cut out and eaten with the fork, and the bone picked up and eaten with the teeth. This is permissible, too, with veal or pork chops, but only when they are broiled or otherwise served without sauce."

                                    But I'm with TomSwift and will politely eat the meat off the bone at nearly any occasion except for something exceptionaly formal or at a business meal.

                                    1. re: KTinNYC

                                      hmmmm, i might even be tempted at a business meal if it's not a job interview :-)

                                      1. re: KTinNYC

                                        Ah, but Tom and KT, I answer to a higher authority --- my mother who ,in between harp playing and dusting the clouds, is keeping a CLOSE eye on my table manners. I promise, Mother, I won't gnaw at the table unless I'm at Lugers :)

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          Fair enough, But if you choose not to gnaw the bone at Luger please free to call me and I will gladly dispose of the bone myself.

                                          1. re: KTinNYC

                                            KT, you beat me. I was going to offer my FedEx number for a dry ice shipper so CO could overnight the bone to me.

                                            1. re: TomSwift

                                              The bone is best eaten hot. I can get to Luger in less then 30 minutes so I think I'm best suited for this onerous task.

                                              1. re: KTinNYC

                                                Grudgingly, I must agree. That's why you're KTinNYC and not KTinLA. But if it comes to pass, at least give a fleeting thought (perhaps in between bites) to your deprived bretheren in SoCal.

                                            2. re: KTinNYC

                                              Golly, you guys are swell!!! Did I ever mention that my husband has NO such qualms?!? Sorry, boys. But, KT would win since he's one of my heroes.

                                          2. re: KTinNYC

                                            "If the chop has a frill paper "skirt" around the end of the bone, you may hold that in your hand and cut the tasty meat from the side of the bone."

                                            So that is the authority for my earlier comment. I would add that, if an establishment has gone through the effort of frenching the ribs and not provided the frill skirt or cap, you may improvise one with a cocktail napkin.

                                        2. re: TomSwift

                                          but couldn't you exercise your right as host to encourage him to eat off the bone rather than confiscating his food?

                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                            but then HE"D get to gnaw the bone........

                                            1. re: KaimukiMan

                                              I did tell him that the best part of the chops remained on the ribs but he declined - so I appropriated them with his permission. This thread has morphed into a most entertaining discussion which, as we all know, is one of the pure joys of CH.

                                              1. re: TomSwift

                                                never meant to imply you didn't get his permission (staring hungrily at the bone on his plate, a death grip on your steak knife, and salivating like a rabid dog.)

                                                oh, yes, a very good thread.

                                                1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                  How did you know about the death grip? Was that you at the table next to us? I did use my napkin for the salivation, so it wasn't too gross.

                                            2. re: TomSwift

                                              Emily herself died a long time ago. Her book has been "updated" by her great-granddaughter-in-law and I'm not sure that the Etiquette Maven herself with agree with either you or her current interpreter.

                                              The "old" rule was knife and fork, but an exception was made for lamb chops (because they were always small when lamb was truly Spring lamb) and the legs and wings of very small game birds. Due to that convention, a good host simply never served "difficult" or "awkward" foods at a guest dinner. Things like fried chicken were reserved for picnics where it could be eaten with fingers.
                                              Of course you can "update" your manners too, but it's a lot safer to be cautious if this is a serious occasion with somebody who might care about etiquette.

                                              All that being said, nothing tastes as good as meat cooked on the bone or gnawed off it.

                                              1. re: MakingSense

                                                Yes - I can't imagine anyone trying to eat frogs' legs with a knife and fork. You'd end up with a few mutilated scraps of meat, whereas, like chicken wings, eating them with your fingers is the only way to get all the delicious morsels.

                                                But a big steak? At home, sure. Mom would have agreed with that (in fact, she might have fought me for it!), but in public, I would have gotten boxed in the ears.

                                            3. Yes...and throw it over my left shoulder whan I'm done, then wiping my mouth on my right forearm as I bring my hand back around to grab my goblet of mead.

                                              [of course, I'd pick it up and chomp - discreetly]

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                Well, of COURSE you'd wipe your mouth on your RIGHT forearm; if you used the left it just wouldn't be genteel!

                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                  I heard the king insisted on buttons to be sewn onto sleeves of jackets to prevent his soldiers from wiping there mouths with them.
                                                  Chomp away Sam.

                                                  1. re: phantomdoc

                                                    really? but mine were candy buttons. i just figured they were extra rations...

                                                    1. re: phantomdoc

                                                      Actually the common story is that they were put there to keep the soldiers from wiping their noses on their sleeves, not their mouths. But either way, it's apocryphal.

                                                  2. you are a low class, good-for-nuffin' hooligan slob, phantomdoc! and i must say i admire you greatly.

                                                    i would like to think that i'd gnaw the bone if i had the opportunity. as it is, i usually take home the bone along with the inevitable leftover meat. the next day, my dog hide out in the dog house and clear out the survivors.

                                                    8 Replies
                                                    1. re: cimui

                                                      I used to joke that after I finished with the bone that the dog didn't want it.

                                                      A...Peter Luger.
                                                      B...Phantomdoc's back yard.

                                                      1. re: phantomdoc

                                                        Nice looking rib eyes! I wish my computer had an olfactory feature.

                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                          Am only correcting you because of the main point of this post. Rib steak, not rib eye. Rib eye has been ripped away from its bone.

                                                          1. re: phantomdoc

                                                            I like the name 'rib steak' , but I hardly ever see it used. The dominant grocer here in Florida, Publix, calls it 'bone-in rib eye' , and it is a fairly new item. They presumably want to trick us into paying up for the bone we can't eat, but being a gnawer, I'm all for it.

                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                              The current thing seems to be to call 'em "cowboy ribeye." Me, I don't care what name you use, but I'll growl at you if you get too close while I'm working on the bone.

                                                        2. re: phantomdoc

                                                          ah bollocks. i meant to type: "the next day, my dog and i hide out in the dog house and clear out the survivors." i, too, love the bone and am not so generous that he gets the whole thing. :)

                                                          fine looking steaks! if i had my druthers, i'd have steak a la phantomdoc every time.

                                                          1. re: cimui

                                                            cimui, I've done some "meant to type"s, also at about 12:05 am. Something about that third glass of wine makes that keyboard go round and round...:)
                                                            But there is no dispute that doc can grill cattle...

                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                              yeah, sometimes i find it hard to differentiate between the voices in my head and what i'm typing on the keyboard -- with or without that third glass of wine (....or fifth ;).

                                                      2. Yes, but only in Klingon restaurants.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: bigfellow

                                                          Being the contrarian that I am, I would only NOT pick up the steak bone and gnaw in Klingon restaurants :)

                                                          Goodness, the meat on the bone is the best part! Now I try to be a bit discreet, and I nibble in a very lady-like, delicate manner, lifting my pinkie finger as I would holding a tea cup. Then I purr and my head starts to float up like the Cheshire Cat. I'm sure even Emily Post would approve.

                                                          I must admit that I can be peer-pressured, and if I am surrounded by very formal people whose eyes would pop out of their head should they see some hooligan manhandling the steak bone, well, I would follow suit and not touch the thing. Well actually, I wouldn't even order a bone-in steak, as it would break my heart to leave the best part of the steak on my plate! If the host/establishment doesn't want you to gnaw on the steak bone, then indeed, I agree they shouldn't tempt you, and they should serve you something that isn't going to fly in the face of etiquette...

                                                          1. re: moh

                                                            people like deserve to have their eyes pop out

                                                            1. re: moh

                                                              Eyes popping out? It would amuse me greatly. As a lifelong fan of the 3 Stooges, I love to upset pompousness.

                                                          2. This will really make you cringe -- or maybe not. My mother, who would now be 94, used to gnaw the meat off the bone ina very genteel manner, then give the bone to one of my my teething childre. Started those little carnivores off early....

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: PattiCakes

                                                              Not cringe worthy. My friend and I gave his teething child a bone from a Vietnamese pork chop not so long ago. She loved it.

                                                              1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                I love the notion of gnawing in a genteel manner. But my mother, who would be 92, would have been able to carry it off --- and probably make others feel like they should do it also.

                                                              2. If necessary, yes. That should be the rule. The sweetest meat is next to the bone.

                                                                1. No, because I almost always order a NY strip. That said, I would never gnaw a steak bone in a restaurant, tempted though I may be.

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                          I would also consider it unseemly in the Sonoma Valley.

                                                                  1. I have no idea if you're "low class". "Slob" possibly. I found myself salivating at the prospect of picking up a steak bone and gnawing on it. So the short answer is 1) no I wouldn't do it; 2) I sometimes wish I had the balls to do it; but 3) there's a basic matter of respecting the sensibilities of other diners. So, reluctantly, I have to say it's a no-no. On the other hand, one of my fondest memories is of a dinner with a woman who, in a "French" crepe place, picked up the plate and licked off the remaining chocolate. So that's the long answer.

                                                                    1. Absolutely. There is no question. There should be no discussion.

                                                                      It is often unfortunately the best part of the steak.

                                                                      1. Steak in one hand, lobster in the other. If someone wants only knife and fork to touch the steak then they better be picking up the check.

                                                                        I do draw the line at spaghetti and soups.

                                                                        1. Folks, this is a year old thread that's come back to life, and not in a very friendly way. We're going to return this zombie to its grave and lock it in there.