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Is Steakhouse 85 in New Brunswick a clip joint? (beef quality)

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My scam radar went off big time when I read Steakhouse 85's bold claims of selling "Premium Gold Angus!!" steak, with no mention anywhere of USDA labels.

So I went to this "Premium Gold Angus" company's site, and it turns out their steaks rate from mid to upper Select to choice. (They have to "levels": Platinum and Blue Ribbon. The Platinum is "modest" marbling (choice) and the Blue Ribbon is the upper two thirds of select to "low choice."

So, basically, that seems to tell me that Steakhouse 85 is selling no better than USDA choice steaks for Ruth's Chris prices. We've seen tricks like this with beef marketing before (I mean, heck, the whole Angus phenomenon itself is a sham). Can anyon confirm that his place does or does not sell USDA prime steaks?

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  1. i don't get too upset over the various programs out there. at least it's a set of standards (beyond just marbling, generally speaking). and, the proof is in the pudding.

    however, with regard to this restaurant and program, you'd think they'd go out of their way to promote the level that they're buying, unless of course it's the Blue Ribbon level, which probably isn't all that exceptional.

    very few if any of the glowing reviews on the internet refer to the quality of steak or dry-aging. i get the impression that the people who like the steak here don't put much thought into steak vis-a-vis marbling and aging. if the beef is well-salted and charred, people tend to enjoy it, and don't mind paying.

    1 Reply
    1. re: tommy

      In re-reading Tommy's post, I just went to PGA's website for myself. If SH85 is not providing the "Platinum Label" but rather the "Blue Ribbon Label" from PGA then I am calling Shenanigans on SH85. Their website makes no mention of either "PGA Brands" but simply recites "PGA's" creed regarding the virtues of all natural beef..

      All-natural beef is a great concept and all but IF they are serving the "Blue Ribbon" all natural "low end choice" and "select" and charging $35+, that seems a bit disproportionate (sp?) to me.

      Full Disclosure, I like the place. Great ambience...decent wine and it just has that steakhouse feel as opposed to The Outback. But IF they are serving roughly the same quality beef as The Outback, well no matter how great their grill/broiler chef is, it simply is not worth those prices to me; all natural or otherwise.

    2. I think this was addressed in a previous post when a poster asked the "manager" or maitre'd what grade meat they were serving and all he got back was that premium gold angus speech. Paraphrasing that post he then asked the person affiliated w/ SH85 again what cut, "Prime or Choice" and got the same response and the poster basically said, "I got my answer." It seems way to logical to me that if you were serving USDA Prime steaks,angus or otherwise, you want that heavily emphasized on your menu and adverts. However, I digress and say, I agree that SH85 is certainly not cheap and I would expect to pay less for a steak that is not Prime but rather high end choice - but I dont know what their food costs are either. However, I'll end by saying that I have been there several times since its opening and I have not been dissatisified with a steak yet; specifically - the cook on the grill/broiler when Ive eaten there has cooked my steak perfectly each time.

      3 Replies
      1. re: MeLoveGnocchi

        PGA Beef is well known in the business. Witherspoon Grill uses this as well. That is how the Chef knows about it. The beef overall is just OK, but the selling point is (they failed to mention this) that the beef is an "all Natural" program. in this case means that the cows are raised with
        No-Growth Hormone
        No Anti-Biotics within 300 days of slaughter
        No Animal By products in feed.

        That is what sells that program.
        Just another case of someone who doesn't know how to market their restaurant.

        1. re: NJDolfan

          as far as you or I know they could have very well mentioned it [the natural aspects] during the transaction described in the other thread. unless, of course, you were there, questioned the program, and wasn't given that bit of info.

          regardless, that should be part of their marketing if it's not (doesn't seem to be mentioned on their website).

          1. re: NJDolfan

            Is it grass-fed? It sounds like it's still corn-fed beef. I like the grass-fed flavor better.

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. Tamerlanenj thank you for your research. I agree with you about the mediocre quality of the steaks at SH85. They are far from the quality you expect at the costs. For clarity I would venture that growth hormone is not usually administered to beef cattle. It is used to increase milk production in dairy cattle. Hence why this was an issue with the old Ben and Jerry ice cream. Also since Mad Cow disease, I do not think that animals for human consumption can be fed animal by products.