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Jun 17, 2012 03:55 PM

No we can't cook your Porterhouse steak rare, 3/4" is too thin to cook rare!!

Last night my 15 year old daughter took me out for a pre-father's day supper. She was in the mood for steak and salad and we went to The Smithy, a local steak and traditional poultry and fish restaurant with salad bar in Monroe, CT.
This is not being posted on the Southern New England board, as this post is about the cut of meat, the grillman and the ability to get food as ordered.

For our main courses my daughter ordered a NY Strip medium rare and I ordered a Porterhouse Rare. (For reference purposes only the steaks were $26 and $27 respectively).
The steaks arrived and my daughter's looked gorgeous, a nice crust on the outside and a deep pink barely warm center. It cut easilly and melted in her mouth.
The Porterhouse had a very dry look to the crust and looked well done on the outside. I cut into it and there was no red and no pink to be seen. One bite and I knew this steak was overcooked and I would not be eating it. The daughter asked what was wrong? and I told her the grillman must have forgotten this steak on the grill, it was dead. The couple at the adjoining table (casual aquaintances) looked at my steak and said, there's no way that's rare, it's well done.
The waiter came by and asked how everything was and I replied, I ordered rare and this is well done and unacceptable. He told me he'd have another cooked.
Five minutes later the waiter returned and said he spoke to the grill man and was told: :with this cut (Porterhouse), you can't get it red inside because it's too thin!" The steak was 3/4" thick. They were willing to cook another EXTRA RARE if I wanted. I said yes and waited.
When the second staek arrived, I cut into it and it was the consistency of rare (Texture and temperature, but no red and almost no pink. I ate the steak, but it had no taste. and thought about the texture and price.

My questions for discussion by fellow CHers are:

1. Do restaurants who want to hold prices sometimes use choice beef for NY Strip, but Select for Porterhouse?

2. Was the lack of red or pink in a 3/4" steak a dead giveaway that the restaurant had frozen the porterhouse steaks, because they don't move enough to keep fresh on hand?

3. is 3/4" too thin for a grill man in a commercial establishment to cook rare?

4. Was the grillman merely incompetent? Or lazy? or Full of Sh*t?

I've been eating porterhouse steaks for more than 50 years and never run into this, but in most places I order it (Peter Luger's in Brooklyn, or Joseph's here in Bridgeport) it certainly would not be this thin.

5. Were my expectations too high? Expecting a restaurant could deliver a rare Porterhouse when the menu price is "only" $27?

Thanks for your input

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  1. Here is the steak temperature chart for Bern's Steakhouse in Tampa, FL:

    It seems they think it can be done. For reference, their 1" porterhouse is 17oz and $53.

    1. I think you got hosed, and my condolences to your daughter for the Fathers' day dinner gone wrong. And to you, of course. Somebody in the cook/waiter chain was being a defensive a-hole.

      1. Condolences on your experience. Sad when stuff like this happens.

        1. Sure, anything is possible. It could all be Select for all we know, based on their website.
        2. Probably not. If anything, if it was frozen the inside would have been raw, not overcooked (if it was cooked from the frozen state).
        3. No. If I can cook a 1/2" skirt to a nice char outside and rare inside, or medium rare, or medium, certainly he can do something similar with a Porterhouse of any thickness if he knows what he is doing.
        4. Yes, yes, and yes.
        5. No. It is not unreasonable to have a steak of any thickness cooked the way you want it when you are dropping close to thirty bucks on it. It's the $9.99 special at Denny's I worry about. Granted, it's not the $60 Porterhouse at Del Frisco's, but there's no excuse for what you got.

        Sorry your Father's Day was blown. That sucks.

        1. as I'm proud of my abilities on the grill and love my steak rare, I have to say

          #4. the only possible excuse is their grill doesn't get quite hot enough to do a quick sear and yet leave the center rare. either way it's them, not the steak and not you.

          1. Typical modern day America, no one can admit they made a mistake and correct it. Time for that "cook" and "waiter" to go back to Denny's.