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Steakhouses - Stop asking me to cut into my steak as soon as it arrives!

This just annoys the heck out of me. Steak needs to sit for a while to get the best flavor. However, many steakhouse servers ask you to cut into it right away. I know they want to make sure it's done right, but it's really not good for the overall flavor of the meat.

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  1. Really? Which ones do that?

    I know Peter Luger precuts your steak, but that's entirely a different thread ..

    3 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      A number of the chains have starting doing this. Texas Roadhouse, Hoss's, and a few others all ask as soon as the steak is delivered.

      I can't afford to eat in really fancy steakhouses, so I bet they don't do this.

      1. re: danbuter

        Hmm. Never been to any of those (Texas Roadhouse, Hoss, etc.).

        I'm curious, what do they do when you decline their request to cut into the steak the moment it's served at the table? Refuse to take it back later if it's not cooked right?

        1. re: danbuter

          This must happen at restaurants with someone inexperienced is at the grill station. The servers are obviously trying to make sure the steak is right before leaving the table so that it can be corrected promptly. I ate a steak at a Texas Roadhouse 2 weeks ago tonight abd I was not asked to immediately cut into my steak. It was a tiny bit over medium rare but was close enough for me. There was a thread once about how to order steaks but I don't remember much about it. I usually order seafood when dining out.

      2. Just my humble, but I would expect a steak to have been properly rested before it leaves the kitchen. I don't want to sit and wait to rest a steak at the table and have the rest of my meal go cold.

        4 Replies
        1. re: SpareRib

          At Hoss's, you generally have your meal out within 15 minutes of ordering. I usually haven't even finished my salad before they're setting it out.

          1. re: SpareRib

            I suspect this is done only at the high-end chop houses.

            1. re: SpareRib

              Just out of curiosity, what's your idea of a properly rested steak? When a restaurant completes a table order, the steak comes off the fire, the presentation is completed on the plate, it goes into the window andthen the tables order is completed and it is brought to the table. I venture to estimate that's usually a 4-5 minute period.

              1. re: fourunder

                In my kitchen I won't touch a steak before 10 minutes off-the-grill - longer if it's extra-thick. I don't really order steak when I go out to eat, so I'm probably naive to think that the kitchen would factor this in when firing the food for a particular table. Frankly, I'm a little horrified that you would take a steak off the grill and put it onto a serving plate with the sides before it's rested.

            2. Not high end at all but even my local pub grub spot asks this of me with a hamburger! Recently was asked to cut into a burger at Chili's even!

              1. Most people start consuming their food as soon as it arrives. One of the most common complaints about a steak is that it's not done to the diner's preferred temperature (whether or not it's actually correct as ordered is a whole 'nother thread), so the server HAS to come by fairly quickly after the food is delivered to make sure that it looks ok. The last thing they want is someone complaining that they had to wait 5 minutes for the server while everyone's food got cold and they coudln't eat a steak that wasnt' to the temp they wanted. I really see this as a first world problem and a personal preference. If you want to rest your steak longer than what the restaurant rests it for, you still have to make sure it was delivered at the proper temperature. Would you rather it sit there and rest and get cold for a few minutes and THEN cut into it to find it's not the right temp?

                1 Reply
                1. re: rockandroller1

                  It's definitely to make sure it's done to the diner's satisfaction, so they can fix it right away if it's not.

                2. Just make a show of giving the steak the touch test, comparing it to your clenched fist.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: paulj

                    This is a very good tip, both simple and practical and very easy....however, I bet the thought of doing so will repulse many here on CH. I'm going to give your suggestion a try the next time I order a burger or steak out myself. Thanks.

                    1. re: fourunder

                      why would that repulse anyone? I'd be more of the mind that the server wouldn't get what you're doing... This would solve the 'not letting the steak rest' dilemma, though. I like it. I do it when I cook steak at home, but wouldn't have thought of doing it at a restaurant.

                      1. re: kubasd

                        why would that repulse anyone?

                        Because many here believe when they spend their precious dollars out, everything should be perfect and ......God forbid, they should have to lift a finger.....literally.

                    2. re: paulj

                      ...or carry an instant-read thermometer in your pocket.

                      1. re: CindyJ

                        Wouldn't work if the steak has sat for a bit, though, which is pretty common; it could be totally overcooked but the internal temp has had time to drop into the "rare" range and you wouldn't know until you cut into it.

                    3. Any decent steakhouse has rested your steak properly by the time it gets to you. But I agree that it's still kind of odd to be ordered to cut into your steak when you get it.

                      I recently ate at Nick and Sam's in Dallas and when the steaks came out we were surrounded by flashlight wielding servers, who requested that we "please cut into your steak so we can confirm that it's cooked perfectly." It was, and it was excellent, but for a minute there it felt like I was getting arrested.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Riska

                        If you'd said it WASN'T cooked perfectly, they would have shown you another use for those flashlights.

                      2. I've *never* been asked to do that. And I eat steaks like there's no tomorrow.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: nooyawka

                          Same here. Never in my life. But then I don't think I've ever ordered a steak at any chain 'lower' than a Capital Grille or Morton's.

                        2. I've been asked to cut into it many times and I'm not offended. I understand why they ask. If the steak has only been resting 3 minutes instead of 5, it's OK, I'm still going to enjoy my meal. I figure if that's what ruined your steak, you're in the wrong steakhouse.


                          1. when asked to cut into it, immediately ask how long it has rested since coming off the grill. the server probably has no idea. by the time he/she gets back with an answer it will have rested on your plate long enough to check it.

                            1 Reply
                            1. I have been asked this on several occasions as well, and every time I just respond with "I'm sure it's fine, if not I will let you know." I usually order steak medium, but can tolerate anything from med-rare to med-well. You can usually tell just by sight/touch if its the right temp anyways. If the exterior is extremely charred or barely charred I may want to double check but come to think of it Im not sure I have ever sent a steak back to the kitchen due to temp.

                              1. How odd would it be if the opposite occurred?

                                WAITER: "Here you go sir, your medium ribeye. Oh, but wait, don't eat it yet, please wait at least 10 minutes before digging in. I'll come back and tell you when it's ok to dig in. Please talk amongst yourselves in the interim."

                                1. it annoys me as well, I don't want interruptions by the waitstaff when I'm dining, BUT I had a more annoying 'CUT INTO MY STEAK' incident recently.

                                  Last week I was taken to a national chain (Outback) for a business meeting/lunch. It is a place I would never patronize by choiice. The host preordered our meals, based on his notes of earlier gatherings. I was served what was supposed to be a rare New York Strip. When I looked ta the steak on the plate, I saw it had been cut into. I called the server over and asked why someone had tampered with my meal, and to bring me a steak noone had cut into.
                                  The server removed the plate and a manager appeared to discuss the problem. No, he assured me, my steak had NOT been served to another patron, who after cutting into it rejected it as too rare, they had a new grill man and he was cutting into the steaks to check wellness befoire sending them from the kitchen.
                                  This is a rank amateur. No one should be cutting into my steak but me (this is not a Peter Luger presliced porterhouse). I told the manager to take it away, I'd just have a salad.
                                  I tend to think that when confronted with a group of 30 all getting the NY strip, servers simply move around the steaks that were not cooked as ordered.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: bagelman01

                                    I can't imagine doing that at a business meeting. Did any of the other 29 send their food back?

                                    1. re: kengk

                                      12 rejected food as not as ordered

                                    2. re: bagelman01

                                      i've sent back steaks before being well over done but end result hasn't been enjoyable. i just gave up and ate what was given.

                                      i've never been asked to cut into a steak as its ordered though my trips to steak houses are becoming rarer. its just either not worth the price to just get some meat cooked right or it just ends up wrong no matter what.

                                    3. Recently, we dined at such a steakhouse, but I now forget which one. The heat from the platter was so intense, that it singed my eyebrows, and I swear that they were not THAT bushy. We could not even look at our platters, as they were about 15,000 degrees F. I have no clue what the doneness of the meat was, originally, as by the time that we donned our Nomex suits, the steaks were "well-done plus." By the time that we could get near the beef, it was cinder. Not sure what the deal was, but I was not a fan. Maybe that is why I like MY beef, on my grill? I think that those steaks are still cooking away, though only carbon-dating can determine that.


                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                        Ruth's Chris does this. I ate there once and will never do so again for this reason. The steak was the right temp when it came out, but it continued to cook on the plate.

                                        1. re: LisaPA

                                          Interesting. I am not a fan of Ruth's, but for other reasons.

                                          Personally, steak on the grill is very personal, and maybe that is why I want it to come off of my Lynx, rather than on a metal plate, heated to 1800F, on a bake-a-lite holder? I attempt to pull the steak, with time to allow it to rest, without a super-heated plate. Got to be tough for a commercial operation.

                                          As mentioned above (hope that it was this thread), wife had one steak, that arrived with an almost "glowing" plate, and by the time that she could actually taste it, the level of doneness was about "super-well." Not sure where it was, when delivered, but she is a "medium-rare ++" fan, while I am more of a "medium-rare -" fan. However, that depends on one's definition of "medium rare." I always describe what I want, and let the server juggle the definitions with the kitchen.

                                          My Lynx does just what we both want, if I have not been drinking too much great red wine, while cooking!


                                        2. re: Bill Hunt

                                          At Peter Luger they tell you the trick to let a slice of steak that is somewhat underdone to your liking to place it flat on the hot platter.
                                          As to the Outback steakhouse, I went there because I had a giftcard. The steak was overdone and the waitress when taking it back asked how I would like it. I asked if they could cook it to 123 degrees. She told me that would not be a problem at all. The next steak came out precisely right.
                                          At the Big Texan 72 oz. steak challenge, they ask you to cut into it to see if is to your liking. They do not want to make you eat 72 oz. if not right.

                                          1. re: phantomdoc

                                            The Peter Luger 'trick' works well because they have professionally sliced your steak before it comes to the table and you are placing nice, even slices on the hot platter to continue cooking.

                                            This method does not work as well if the diner cuts hunks or uneven slices

                                            I have eaten at Peter Lugers for almost 60 years and have never had an underdone steak. In fact for me there is no such thging as an underdone steak, I like it mooing......

                                          2. re: Bill Hunt

                                            I remember getting a supposedly medium rare steak served on what appeared to a piping hot cast iron fajita pan. Of course it was well-done by the time I got it. If I eat at a restaurant where I know they serve steaks on a heated, metal steak plate (or cast iron) I'll ask for a regular plate.

                                            1. I've never had a server ask me to cut my steak.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: tommy

                                                Me neither...but resting shouldn't be an issue. When the steak is on your table it should already have been rested and ready for consumption.

                                                1. re: joonjoon

                                                  Interesting. Those that have never experienced this seem to be from urban areas of the northeast (NYC/NJ/Boston).. I wonder if it's a regional thing or certain chain thing (which are not in the northeast). Or chain thing in general and we just don't have as many chains/frequent them given the abundance of choices we have?

                                                  Not a statistically sound theory but humor me.....

                                                  1. re: thegforceny

                                                    Could be. But I won't be going to Texas Roadhouse to find out!

                                              2. This just happened to me on Sunday night at TGIFridays. I read the post on Saturday morning and had never had that experience, then the next steak I ordered it happened! What are the odds? The steak was cooked perfectly (med rare) but was stringy and flavorless. Probably my fault for asking for no Jack Daniels glaze or even ordering steak at TGIF. The ginger-lime slaw was delicious though.

                                                1. I saw this happen for the first time last weekend. We were at a non-steakhouse in Tacoma, WA called the Lobster Shop. It was a nice restaurant, right on the water. One of the folks in our party of four had ordered a medium rare steak, and when they cut into it (flashlight at the ready) it was obviously overcooked. They took it back and brought another, after about 15 minutes. I guess he would have figured it out soon enough that it was overcooked, but the whole ceremonial cutting into the steak while everyone fixated on the flashlight was bizarre. Regardless, having to send a steak back screws up the whole meal when all but one person is eating.
                                                  I have been to nice steakhouses all over the country and have never seen this before. I have never been to an Outback, Texas Roadhouse, or anything like that though.

                                                  1. I hope I don't sound snarky, but maybe you should go to a better steakhouse. Here in NYC, at Luger's and all its spinoffs and other top steak places this isn't a problem. As to waiting some time before cutting into a steak, I guess you would not like getting a steak for 2 or 4 at one of those places. The steak comes pre-carved on a hot platter. Beautiful colored thick slabs of prime porterhouse. Don't eat steak that often but when I do, that's what I want.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: Bkeats

                                                      The OP should be retitled:

                                                      "Cheap Steakhouses - Stop asking me to cu into my steak as soon as it arrives!"

                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                        Well, that might be OK, but then "cheap" can be both relative, and also regional.

                                                        The cost of the steak might, or might not, play into things. It just depends.


                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                          C'mon Bill.

                                                          We both know that we know a "cheap steakhouse" when we see one!

                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                            Is that anything like a "cheapskate house"?

                                                            1. re: Tripeler

                                                              Now, I eat skate fairly often, but have never been instructed to cut into it first...


                                                      2. re: Bkeats

                                                        Unlike you, I don't make tons of money. I also am lucky enough not to live in NYC, where a crappy burger costs $15.

                                                      3. When I cooked at a chain that didn't specialize in steaks, they instructed me to cut a slice in the bottom to check the rareness, then turn it over on the plate so no one would see it. But this was at the time that if you didn't get your lunch served in 10 minutes it was free, so we had to slam them out. Our steaks were decent strips by the way, not garbage or anything.

                                                        I have never been asked to cut into a steak at the table, that sounds so strange and would give me pause. You gave me the steak, it's mine now, don't tell what to do with it!

                                                        1. I ran into this the first time at Del Frisco's in Boston last week. I actually liked the idea. If the steak wasn't done correctly, they could fix it immediately.

                                                          This was also my first trip to a Del Frisco's but I would consider them a "luxury steakhouse" chain; like Morton's, Palm or Ruth's Chris.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: 9lives

                                                            I would not expect a steakhouse in the category of Morton's or Ruth's Chris to make such a request to their customers. I would expect them to have more confidence in the person running the grill station.

                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                              I suspect it's related to the customer more than the staff. People like to complain, and don't necessarily understand what "medium rare" might mean, especially for different cuts and different sized cuts of meat. Presumably these policies are in place because so many people complain, not necessarily because the kitchen isn't competent.

                                                              I rarely send a steak back, unless it's blatantly overdone from the m/r I order. I also have no problem eating the last piece of steak on the Luger's plate, which is very much closer to m/w than m/r.

                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                I didn't expect it either. As it turns out, it worked out fine.

                                                                I ordered the steak charred rare..bright red but warm in the center..told him I cook my beef to about 115f and let it rest for about 10 mins.

                                                                When I cut into the steak, it was raw and cool in the center. I told him a few more mins on the fire and it would be perfect. He whisked it away and came back a few mins later..perfectly done.

                                                                I was at RC the week before and ordered the same way...red, warm center...I cook my own sbeef to 115. Waiter said he knew just what I wanted and brought out a steak that was done perfectly. No request to cut it immediately.

                                                                eta..I've only sent 1 steak back in my life. I ordered a NY Strip/rare and it came out Med..pinkish. Everyone else at the table had nice looking prime rib roast. They offered to cook another steak but I asked them to just bring me the prime rib..worked out fine.

                                                            2. This occurred this past weekend at Bugaboo Creek Steak House. My wife ordered a steak and was asked as soon as it was placed in front of her if it was cooked correctly. She had to cut into it to answer the question. They didn't ask me because I ordered the ribs (they were YUMMY!).

                                                              1. I have always rested meat for an appropriate time before sending it out.

                                                                Maybe you can do the push test with the flat of your knife.