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How do Steak Houses get away with it?

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This has been bugging me for years and I figured this would be a great place to get an explanation..Can anyone explain to me how Steak houses get away with charging the ridiculous prices that they do for sides? I get paying top dollar for a great piece of meat.. ( I do...really!) ...In this case $38.00 bucks and that's in NH ( for those that were wondering). . Charging $7.00 for a baked potato!!??!, ... $8.50 for creamed spinach?...it's freaking potato and spinach!!! I get it ( somewhat) for say...Potato Au Gratin...there is some work to getting this dish together.. And extra for a sauce to compliment the steak? Come on!? It makes me feel that management must be in the back howling with laughter. I can't imagine ( well I can and the image sends me into a fit of giggles) ordering..say the halibut at a seafood restaurant and all that arrives on my plate....is a piece of.... fish....No sides...no sauce.....nothing..? What am I missing here?

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  1. Because people pay it. If enough people refused to pay the price it would come down.

    2 Replies
    1. re: PotatoHouse

      Yes. And the average American is not thinking she or he is getting ripped off compared to a steak with two sides being priced at $53 inclusive.

      1. re: Karl S

        I dunno...That's what I find hard to understand..I love a good/great steak I was just asking the question as to what others thought of the practice...If your good with it...no prob!

    2. How do you feel about $20 for popcorn and a fountain drink at the theater?

      3 Replies
      1. re: porker

        To be honest....ripped off...I know!....free markets...I agree with the idea that if you don't like it don't go! I just wondered why others do...Peace...

        1. re: porker

          High price to pay for that poison.

          1. re: porker

            I refuse to pay it and will do without. Nor will I pay $5 for a bottle of water at the ballpark.

          2. High end steakhouses are the worst value in restaurants. I think I've eaten at one maybe twice in the past many years.

            5 Replies
            1. re: carolinadawg

              Amen.

              1. re: carolinadawg

                That mostly because in many non-steak restaurants a steak is not a very cost effective menu item. Many places offer steaks right around their break-even point.

                A steakhouse can't afford to do that. High end steakhouses also tend to be high profit steakhouses. LoL

                1. re: JayL

                  Yeah, I pointed out further down that part of the reason high end steak houses are so expensive is that they have higher profit margins.

                2. re: carolinadawg

                  All the best steaks I have had are prepared at home kitchens, because having them at a restaurant would break my wallet.

                  1. re: vil

                    I normally feel the best steaks are prepared on my own grill as well, but occasionally I have one when dining out that is outstanding.

                    Case in point...my wife ordered a ribeye at the Peninsula Grill in Charleston this week. I rarely describe food with the "like butter" saying, but I have to in this instance. It was like eating a fillet with ribeye flavor. Perfect char and seasoning. Absolutely delicious. Fairly expensive, but more than worth it for the occasion. (PS...my rack of lamb was as good as I've ever had)

                3. Most steak houses are located where rent and expenses are higher than in NH, and customers have higher incomes.
                  I noted on a recent thread that the $150 fee to uncork and pour a bottle of wine at The French Laundry is equal to one year's pay in Cuba.
                  Bottom line: rich guys like red meat.

                  19 Replies
                  1. re: Veggo

                    The French Laundry is on my bucket list ..but $150 to uncork and pour a bottle of wine? .Was it a expensive bottle of wine that was brought to the restaurant or a bottle purchased there? I'm confused..It sounds like that was the fee to open a bottle?

                    1. re: tunapet

                      A corkage fee is for when you bring your own wine to the restaurant. IMO, they're doing that high price to discourage people from doing it. But off-topic for this thread.

                      1. re: c oliver

                        I know what a corkage fee is...but you're saying that they charged $150 to open a bottle of wine?
                        How do they know what the bottle is worth? Do they run a check on it? I'm not trying to be a smart ass here...I am really curious as to how that works...I can't imagine it makes any difference, except to the people drinking it?

                        1. re: tunapet

                          The resto doesn't care what its worth - its a flat rate. Sure its expensive, for a $50 bottle of wine.
                          I'd think its a bargain if you brought a $3000 bottle where with markup would otherwise cost you $6000.

                          1. re: porker

                            Thanks for the clarification...I would imagine that you would only bring a bottle of wine there if it had some sentimental value to be shared with the ( amazing ) experience/meal.. and I guess it's all in the eye ( and pocket) of the drinker? I would just probably order an $150 bottle of the menu...I dunno...I do have a couple of bottles of Stags Leap left...not sure they will survive the wait....:)

                          2. re: tunapet

                            The restaurants want to sell you their wine. If they can't it a loss for them, so they charge you their corkage fee. At a restaurant like The French Laundry where every seat is occupied at every meal I think it's justified.

                            1. re: zackly

                              Exactly (and agreed off topic for this thread). You are not paying for the restaurant to "uncork and pour a bottle of wine." You are paying for the restaurant's opportunity cost which is the profit they lose from losing a sale on a bottle of wine they otherwise would have sold you. Obviously they do not know how expensive a wine you personally might have otherwise bought, but they do know their average profit margin on wine, and through experience, set the corkage to reflect that. If they didn't charge that much, but only based it on the actual cost of corkage service, everyone with any sense would always bring their own bottle (at zero restaurant markup) and pay the nominal restaurant fee for the labor of uncorking and pouring the wine (and washing the glasses), and the restaurant would lose a key source of earnings/profits.

                              1. re: MagicMarkR

                                True. But the no-so-subtle message of a $150 corkage fee is BUY OUR WINE. Exceptions may be if you inherited wine from Thomas Jefferson and you have been appointed Ambassador to Switzerland and want to enjoy the moment.

                                1. re: Veggo

                                  Yes, I completely agree --it is not a subtle message, nor do I think it is intended to be. The BYO practice in Napa/Sonoma e.g. French Laundry is so ubiquitous of course because restaurants know that people have been wine tasting and may have just bought a lot of wine they might want to try with food (or perhaps the TJ-inherited bottle). Their view is fine, if you want to bring in your own wine, ok, but we are going to treat is as though you bought it from us and apply a markup, a.k.a. "corkage." (So one take-away I guess is if you are going to bring in your own bottle, make sure it is super expensive such that the corkage fee is a small percent of the price:-) )

                                  1. re: MagicMarkR

                                    Well stated. As I wait for an order of serious vintage port from NY, delayed by 2 weeks of lousy weather! I'm in FL.
                                    I like to get those warm socks in a drawer so I can sleep better.

                      2. re: Veggo

                        Rich Americans with no clue....

                        1. re: Veggo

                          "Most steak houses are located where rent and expenses are higher than in NH, and customers have higher incomes."

                          Veggo there's a steak house in Chapel Hill, NC that charges exactly these prices. I've never been and never will go. There are too many other restaurants around here who offer great food at more reasonable prices.

                          I wouldn't say that Chapel Hill exactly fits into your category.

                          1. re: Jeanne

                            Jeanne, I would guess that a steakhouse in Chapel Hill gets a fair amount of business from visiting parents taking their children to dinner who are in college there.

                            1. re: Veggo

                              I agree that most college towns have that one steakhouse that everyone goes to when their parents visit. For me it was the 50 Yard Line in Lubbock - late '80s. Long wait to get in and horrifically expensive for the quality, but I was in Lubbock last year and it's still going strong.

                              1. re: Veggo

                                The occasional weekend in Chapel Hill is all the r&r lots of rich alumni ever really get (including my jackass investment banker brother and half the people I graduated with.) There's a reason you can't get a hotel room in Chapel Hill for less than $250/night...
                                Go for a basketball/football game, spend lots of money on bourbon and rich food, go home and get back to work. That's Chapel Hill once you start getting "old."

                                1. re: caganer

                                  Hey, at least it's still vibrant. I went to college in Philly in the 70's, and the 2 best restaurants at the time, Bookbinders and Le Bec Fin, are now closed.

                                  1. re: Veggo

                                    Bookbinders was one of the best in the 70s, but it was never very good, even then. The Philly foods scene is much better now...even vibrant!

                                2. re: Veggo

                                  Yeah kind of like 10 Prime Steak House in Providence Rhode Island, every time I go to visit my daughter at Johnson and Wales.

                                3. re: Jeanne

                                  RTP is a pretty high income area, and as Veggo points out, there are many occasions for special event meals.

                              2. Here in D.C., it's no coinkydink that the big steak houses are located where the expense accounts are.

                                1. Going to a steakhouse is not about value but, rather the event. Depending on the aging process, steak can be expensive, ie dry aging because there is a lot of waste, As for the sides, desserts etc, it's not about value but, the experience, accept it, enjoy and move on.

                                  13 Replies
                                  1. re: treb

                                    "Going to a steakhouse is not about value but, rather the event"

                                    I think this is a big part of it. Going to a steakhouse is partly about the splurge. If you're in the mood to splurge, then you're willing to spend $10 on a side. The restaurant maximizes on this.

                                    1. re: porker

                                      I rarely eat steaks. It's so boring, regardless of the profit margin. If I want steak, I rather eat at a Latin American place with a variety of meats. Paying big bucks for just one slab of meat is unchowhoundish to me.

                                      1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                        "Paying big bucks for just one slab of meat is unchowhoundish to me."

                                        yep

                                        1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                          I am happy to pay big bucks to my butcher for a good slab of meat ;-)

                                      2. re: treb

                                        Personally, more often than not, I think going to a steak house means charging it on the business account.

                                        HUGE part of their business.

                                        1. re: treb

                                          treb: also, in my experience, many folks really can't taste the difference between a perfectly dry aged steak prepared perfectly and a regular, well-prepared, choice, steak that came wrapped in plastic on a styrofoam tray from the regular grocery store.

                                          it's not that anything is wrong with the grocery store steak, it's just a very different food item than a perfectly dry aged steak.

                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                            If it is so different, how do you explain folks not being able to taste that difference?

                                            1. re: grampart

                                              Something medically wrong with them :-)

                                              1. re: grampart

                                                grampart: i didn't say ALL folks can't tell the difference, just that SOME folks can't tell the difference.
                                                in the days that i was a personal chef SOME of my clients could tell the difference with the first forkful, while others coudn't tell the difference at all.

                                                1. re: westsidegal

                                                  I'm guessing that most all people can differentiate between the two (texture, taste, aroma, look - you're hitting on 4 of the senses. Some might argue they sound different, but not so much in my experience).
                                                  Perhaps *some* people will not find one *better* than the other.

                                                2. re: grampart

                                                  I'm not so sure it's that some people cannot discern a difference between select, wet aged beef versus prime, dry aged; but, rather they don't care to.

                                                  Or, in other words they're ambivalent so long as it's beef in one form or another.

                                                  If you want to be nice about it, those people can be described as "easy to please".

                                                  If you want to be a bit less diplomatic, they'd would be described as having a "lazy palate".

                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                    Another variant of that - and I agree with your idea that probably most people are *capable* of discerning the difference - is that there are people for whom steak isn't really one of their favourite foods. So they're indifferent due to neutrality on the topic to begin with.

                                                    People for whom steak is something they can take or leave, or who really aren't fussed so long as it's beef, probably won't go to an expensive steak house unless going with someone else - because for them the value isn't there in the first place.

                                                    But for others, the value is most emphatically there: people who really do enjoy a great steak, excellently prepared. So it *can* be about value, not the "experience", just not for everyone.

                                                3. re: westsidegal

                                                  I can understand that a non steak lover may not feel the substantial price difference between (dry aged high prime) vs (supermarket choice) is worth it or justified but if they can't taste the difference a visit to the doctor may be in order.

                                              2. It's an expense-account standard is why. The three-martini lunch usually took place in a steakhouse-y joint and you took a client (or group of clients) to dinner there.

                                                1. First, the potatoes the best Steakhouses use for their Baked Potatoes are generally very specific, weighing more than 12 ounces and more often up to a pound....in other words, they are quite large. As for the Spinach, while you may think Spinach is cheap, fresh spinach may or may not be and it is labor intensive to removed the stems, wash and dry, chop and prepare, Some may make it in bulk, while some may make it from scratch.

                                                  Second, the Dairy products used to complete the Sides, either in the kitchen, or at the table are expensive. Most Potatoes are offered loaded and the Spinach may be made with cream, rather than simple Bechemel made with milk. When you add the bacon to the Baked Potato, and you are looking at the toppings....butter, sour cream & cheddar cheese... all together, there's a food cost of $3-4 added to the potato. You factor in labor and other overhead....and then you will understand why the Simple Baked Potato is priced at $7 and the Creamed Spinach is $8.50.

                                                  What am I missing here?

                                                  Overhead and food costs.

                                                  37 Replies
                                                  1. re: fourunder

                                                    4......
                                                    What are you missing?

                                                    An OP who lives far from the metro area and thinks $38 "is paying "TOP DOLLAR" for a great steak is going to experience sticker shock when ordering sides,

                                                    That $7 side equal to 20% of the main might only be 10% in NYC.

                                                    Time for a reality check. Not everyone lives in NH where there is no sales tax. Imagine if OP had to add 9% tax to his meal, he'd have a cororary without red meat...............

                                                    1. re: bagelman01

                                                      It's all relative...rents, utilities, costs of other restaurants. The difference is the same for the OP as it would be for a resident of Manhattan.

                                                      1. re: carolinadawg

                                                        So, how much would a comparable steak dinner cost me in Manhattan? I know the cost of rent, etc would be much, much lower here? And probably income would be lower here too, no? Not sure I get your point?

                                                        1. re: tunapet

                                                          Steak would be about $50, sides would be $10 to $15. I'm pointing out to "bagelman" that while he may attempt to denigrate your post by pointing out that $38 for a steak in Manhattan isn't very expensive, in relative terms, your point is a good one.

                                                          1. re: carolinadawg

                                                            I am not denigrating the OP, I am pointing out that a $7 side may seem expensive when the main is priced at $38, it may not seem expensive when the main is $75.

                                                            It's a matter of perspective.

                                                            I have seen great differences in the price of the main in steakhouses, but the sides don't seem to increase in price to match

                                                            1. re: bagelman01

                                                              Sides at the high end steak houses in Manhattan, for example, are well above $7.

                                                      2. re: bagelman01

                                                        I believe NH has about a 9 % meal tax.

                                                        So if OP doesn't reply , you'll know why.

                                                        1. re: C. Hamster

                                                          And NY has a 8.5 % meal tax? Your point is?

                                                        2. re: bagelman01

                                                          NH has a 9% meal tax.

                                                          1. re: bagelman01

                                                            NH has a meal tax, 9% last time I was there. NH makes up for its lack of sales tax with higher taxes in other categories than are levied in neighboring states.

                                                          2. re: fourunder

                                                            Also missing the higher profit margins. And the fact that many, if not most customers are on an expense account. i.e, spending someone else's money.

                                                            1. re: carolinadawg

                                                              Well, I'm spending MY money...That was the question that I was asking for an answer for..I get than they can...I guess your answer is that somebody else is paying for it so they don't care if they are being ripped off...Not their dime...Interesting...thanks for the answer..

                                                              1. re: tunapet

                                                                That's part of the answer, imo, along with other factors I mentioned.

                                                                1. re: tunapet

                                                                  I have family, friends and clients.....all who have eaten in high end steakhouses.....all on their own dime and without the benefit of any expense accounts paying for them. Weekends are always busy at these type places and there's rarely any business entertaining going on, so that assumption/answer is incorrect.

                                                                  1. re: fourunder

                                                                    You're going to deny expense accounts are an important source of business for high end steak houses? Really?

                                                                    Here's a quote from an article in the Chicago Tribune:

                                                                    "At some finer steakhouses, Tristano said, expense accounts account for 70 percent or more of sales."

                                                                    1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                      I wonder how they know that.

                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                        I believe it's something called "market research".

                                                                      2. re: carolinadawg

                                                                        You're going to deny expense accounts are an important source of business for high end steak houses?
                                                                        ___________________

                                                                        Expense accounts are an important demographic for high-end restaurants. Steakhouses, or otherwise.

                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                          That doesn't change my point. This thread is specific to steak houses.

                                                                          1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                            Folks, we removed a super-testy argument about whether steakhouses get a significant minority or an actual majority of their revenue from expense accounts here. Please let this issue go, since it's not being discussed in a friendly manner. Thanks.

                                                                        2. re: carolinadawg

                                                                          Carolinadawg and others - I don't know why you think businesses are backing high expense accounts any longer. Granted I worked in a medical setting - where the daily per diem for food had a limit. But businesses (around here at least) are cutting back on expenses anyway they can. I think the overblown expense accounts are a thing of the past.

                                                                          1. re: Jeanne

                                                                            High end business expense accounts are alive and well. And thriving.

                                                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                              And you know this how? Are you on one?

                                                                              1. re: Jeanne

                                                                                Personal experience.

                                                                              2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                Have to agree here, my best friend recently had a pharmaceutical rep ( actually more like a company bigwig) sweep a bill off a table he estimated at at least 1000usd up without missing a beat.

                                                                                At a Boston Steakhouse.

                                                                                1. re: hyde

                                                                                  He also said that the table (all men) drank an incredible amount, left hundreds of dollars worth of prime beef on their plates, were horrible to the poor waitress and were generally ungracious to everyone.

                                                                                  He was horrified.

                                                                                  So some things change and some things........

                                                                            2. re: Bkeats

                                                                              I've frequented Peter Luger's and the Old Homestead for more than 50 years.
                                                                              There has been a shift away from the expense account meal over the years as IRS rules (and corporate budget watching) has changed.

                                                                              I find it more likely to run into those dining on an expense account during weekday lunch than at night, and seldom on the weekend.

                                                                              As I own my own business, as did my father and grandfather before me, dining, even when taking clients was always on our own dime.
                                                                              The day of out of town buyers coming into NYC and expecting to be wined and dined in order to secure their order is generally long gone.
                                                                              Grandpa was a clothing manufacturer. Up until the 70s every mid size American City had its own hometown department store and many independent clothing shops. These buyers expected the wine and dine treatment in ther twice yearly buying trips to NY. Today, every mall has the same three basic anchors; Macy's, Sears, JC Penney, with an occasional Lord and Taylor, Saks, Neimans, Norstroms. The chains have NY buying offices, so a manufactuirer may only have to take the Macy's 'juniors sweater' buyer out for two meals a year instead of 200 meals a year for the out of town buyers from the chains bought up by Macys.
                                                                              And in low end goods>>>think Walmart, the salespeople have to travel to Arkansas, Walmart doesn't spend money coming to the market

                                                                      3. re: fourunder

                                                                        It's still gouging....

                                                                        1. re: tunapet

                                                                          My thought is that you know all this going in. If you don't like it, don't go there.

                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                            I agree!...It's a free market....I should just open my own place, right!!..Really, just curious ... :)

                                                                          2. re: tunapet

                                                                            No it's not.

                                                                          3. re: fourunder

                                                                            fourunder: not only am i completely in agreement with you, don't forget, when you are getting beautiful, plump, flavorful, asparagus flown in out of season, this will be costly.

                                                                            let's not forget what the additional costs are to get huge, gorgeous, bursting-with-flavor beefsteak tomatoes out of season. keep in mind that once such a tomato is refrigerated, no matter how good it was when picked, it will become flavorless and mealy. just getting purveyors that can consistently deliver this kind of item is a job in inself. . .

                                                                            1. re: westsidegal

                                                                              I'm in total agreement in your explanation that paying for off season produce is something that bumps up the cost...I would expect to pay $$$ for a tomato that was flown in when they were out of season. Or to have a meal anywhere that showcases a dish that you know is out of season. ( Not sure of the smarts of it because I think cooking in season and with local produce is smarter? Another discussion for another day) However, these menu prices are year round and don't reflect that at all.....9 bucks for Onion rings or creamed corn? I highly doubt that any restaurant brings in fresh corn off season?. ( I have a great recipe using canned corn with cream, fresh thyme, etc. lol.) I just couldn't imagine that would be a good business decision to do that? I rarely feel ripped off when I go out to eat....Don't know why this makes me feel that way..I feel much better after my venting thou! :)

                                                                              1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                wsg,

                                                                                You bring up excellent points....quality ingredients and efforts should be rewarded...but I would even take it a step further for argument....beside the obvious, if you're going to quibble about what a restaurant charges, and sets it prices at...then maybe that restaurant is not a good fit for you.....the argument, I can make better at home isn't even comparanlr 99% of the time, as not all homes have equipment, access or resources that could even come close to what a Top Steakhouse has and offers.

                                                                                The Parmigiano Reggiano alone is $10

                                                                                btw....Houston's sells their Baked Potato for $7 as well....so that pretty much debunks the argument the potato is price @ $7 to target expense accounts. Last time I looked, Houston's' Hillstone is not considered a Steakhouse by any definition and they are not very big on business entertaining.

                                                                                I actually believe the Sides, be it vegetables or potatoes are actually the best value on the menu(especially the Baked Potato. Using your example of Asparagus, Tomatoes and Onions....all probably are $3-4 per pound purchased at the local supermarket. When you factor in the Olive Oil, Balsamic Glaze and Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano....$8 is a steal With regards to the Tomato and Onion, again with the Dressings and Blue Cheese that accompanies the dish...another steal.

                                                                                $3 for Sour Cream, $4 for Cheddar Cheese, $5 for Butter, $1 for Scallions and $5 for Bacon...that's $18 to purchase the toppings to duplicate at home....and that's before you even purchase the potatoes.

                                                                                1. re: fourunder

                                                                                  I made pasta carbonara a few nights ago from REALLY high quality ingredients. I estimate that the dish, which served four in modest quantities, cost about $25. Quality ingredients cost.

                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                    how's the weather out on the point.

                                                                                    1. re: fourunder

                                                                                      There was A LOT of snow on the ground. AND their furnace had gone out :( But we ate well - of course! What time are you picking us up in the morning?!?!?! J/K

                                                                            2. money.....

                                                                              1. Open a restaurant and try to make a profit. Then get back to us and let us know how much you are charging for sides, etc.

                                                                                1. Actually,steakhouses using aged Prime beef don't make a lot of money on the steaks, they make it on everything else.

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: zackly

                                                                                    You can't make a decent profit charging $38+ for a steak? How does a 4 star restaurant that is not a steak house, and does not use the steak house add one pricing, stay in business then?

                                                                                    1. re: tunapet

                                                                                      I was chatting with the manager of a steakhouse several years ago. He told me that his porterhouse steak that he was selling for $32.00 cost him $24.00. Then if you figure in a few that are sent back to the kitchen because of customer complaints, you can see how they have to make money elsewhere on the menu.

                                                                                      1. re: tunapet

                                                                                        By jacking up the prices of sides, desserts, coffee, etc. and selling lots of wine and spirits at inflated prices. The steak (or whatever is the specialty of a restaurant) is the come-on to get you there, the restaurant looks to all the extras to make a profit. It's just business as usual.

                                                                                    2. Expense accounts

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                        I'm not trying to be obtruse, here Hamster. But it seems the accounts are at my expense...I feel it's a sham....And it's sounds to me that you are either a chef or waiter that profits from it?

                                                                                        1. re: tunapet

                                                                                          Or just a realist. Maybe those of us that live in " big city" areas (I live and work in the NYC metro area) are just jaded to these cold, hard facts?

                                                                                      2. Because steaks are low margin items.

                                                                                        In other words, the money you're paying for the sides is subsidizing the relatively bargain price of your red meat.

                                                                                        23 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                          I have never seen ' bargain' prices for steak in a steak house.

                                                                                          1. re: daislander

                                                                                            Did you conveniently skip over the word "relatively"?

                                                                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                              lol I did. but I have never seen 'relatively bargain price' of red meat in a steak house in my life just the opposite.

                                                                                              1. re: daislander

                                                                                                Then you're paying too much for your steak.

                                                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                  lol not me I refuse. I get the chicken. Ill do my own ribeye steak at home for 1/4 or less of the price.

                                                                                                  1. re: daislander

                                                                                                    A quality dry-aged bone-in ribeye will run you about $30-$40/pound retail.

                                                                                                    At a high end steakhouse you might lay about a 15% markup.

                                                                                                    How and where are you buying your quality dry-aged beef at something like $10-15/pound?

                                                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                      my local store http://www.thriftyfoods.com/eflyer/in...

                                                                                                      7.99 a pound http://www.thriftyfoods.com/eflyer/in...

                                                                                                      1. re: daislander

                                                                                                        That's not dry-aged beef.

                                                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                          show me a steak house menu where the meat is 'bargain' and 'dry aged'?

                                                                                                          1. re: daislander

                                                                                                            http://midtownlunch.com/2007/11/01/a-......

                                                                                                            1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                              post was from 2007 updated in 2010 to 12.95 and not a prime rib steak and not dry aged

                                                                                                              1. re: daislander

                                                                                                                It's meat(as you requested), it's a bargain @ <$15( the current price)....and it's aged.

                                                                                                                It's a legitimate deal today anyone can walk into and order.

                                                                                                                Maybe you should ask someone for a coupon or gift certificate to realize your request.....no Steakhouse is going to give you a discount for a bargain for a piece of meat they lay out a couple of hundred bucks for, nurse it for a month, cook it for you....then serve it to you on their best China with wait staff they have to pay..

                                                                                                                1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                  the other person brought up dry aged where as I thought we were just taking about the price of aged. i see yours says aged but not dry as he was referring too. but its actually prime aged... don't care enough to argue any more. I see what his point was.

                                                                                                              2. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                I'll be staying near Rockefeller Center next month, so will keep this in mind for a possible bar lunch. Thanks for the tip (haha).

                                                                                                                1. re: curiousgeo

                                                                                                                  I've eaten at this mini-DelFrisco's and its not bad at all. Right near 30 Rock.

                                                                                                                  1. re: curiousgeo

                                                                                                                    It's nice to know when information is requested, or given, it is appreciated....

                                                                                                                    1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                      Hey Fourunder,

                                                                                                                      Little off topic but ShopRite has their CAB bone in prime rib roasts @ $5.99 this week. Just scored a killer center cut one with loads of small specs (slightly abundant or higher). Box date was 03/31/14 so it will be good to go in another week or so.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                        Yes, I caught that, thank you. I purchased a couple myself...and a couple Leg of Lambs...one which I will Wet Age a minimum 30 days in the Cryovac.

                                                                                                                2. re: daislander

                                                                                                                  Just about any high end steakhouse that serves dry aged beef.

                                                                                                                  Because if you're paying, say, $50 for a 10 ounce dry aged sirloin at a steakhouse it represents about a 1.5x markup over the restaurant's costs, which is a relative bargain compared to the sides or the, ahem, chicken.

                                                                                                                  A low menu price does not necessarily mean "cheap" or a bargain. On the contrary, some of the cheapest or lowest priced menu items (on an absolute basis) are the worst bargains - like salads, sodas or teas or coffee, or desserts.

                                                                                                                  If you really wanted to put a steakhouse out of business order nothing but the steak and a tall glass of water. From the tap.

                                                                                                                3. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                  Nor is it prime. My butcher occasionally has 28+ day prime dry aged beef. Usually runs $30+ a pound so the fact that a steak like that in the steakhouse goes for $45 is a relative bargain when you consider a $20 plate of pasta has about $2-3 worth of ingredients in it. I find that the higher the price of the dish, the percentage mark up is lower.

                                                                                                              3. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                Lobel's (boneless) ribeye is $52.98/lb. (Of course, their steaks are the best I've ever eaten.)

                                                                                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                  But most restaurants aren't buying from Lobel's, or if they are, they aren't paying retail prices like that.

                                                                                                                  1. re: acgold7

                                                                                                                    I think on average I recall my buddy who sells it to restaurants saying dry aged "high" prime boneless ribeye or striploin costs restaurants about $25.00 lb give or take a few $'s.

                                                                                                                    Once you enter into high prime, what the Japanese are willing to pay can be a big factor on both availability & price.

                                                                                                  2. At Tadich Grill, you get a piece of fish and a boiled potato.

                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: mwhitmore

                                                                                                      Yes, and unfortunately you also get their steak.

                                                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                        You order fish and you get steak also? I've not seen that there.

                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                          No.

                                                                                                          You order the steak, and get the fish. Restaurant's way of apologizing. Sheepishly.

                                                                                                      2. re: mwhitmore

                                                                                                        Really? It better be the best boiled potato eva! Maybe not for $38 bucks thou?

                                                                                                      3. And...you just paid $12 for that glass of wine when you could have bought the whole btl for that price at those great NH liquor stores

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                                                                          Well, that's true everywhere right? Lol...But they are pretty great liquor stores...Right off the highway!! Live free or die! :)

                                                                                                        2. Be happy you are in NH. I go to steakhouses in NYC and the bill can easily top a grand for a dinner when you're done. $45 for each steak, sides at $15, wine at $150 a bottle, dessert at $20' drinks at $30. But I agree that without expense account dining the prices would have to come down.

                                                                                                          1. I'm with you. So next time don't bother with sides, or order less. I usually just get hash browns - usually big enough for two or more people.

                                                                                                            1. Expense account joints.

                                                                                                              Some of the worst prepared food at the highest possible prices.

                                                                                                              Steak house au gratin potatoes? Cheesy dreck from a Kraft or Campbell's recipe.

                                                                                                              Potatoes Lyonaise? Last one I had in Ruth's Chris (or was it Morton's) was deep fried. DEEP FRIED. Really.

                                                                                                              They live on salesmen taking customers out to dinner.

                                                                                                              And pro athletes who have Fred Flintstone tastebuds.

                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: sal_acid

                                                                                                                Hey! Don't knock Fred! :)

                                                                                                                1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                  YEAH, besides his tastes run more towards ribs than steaks.

                                                                                                                  1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                    +1...

                                                                                                                2. if your going to pay 38 bucks for a steak your going to pay 8 bucks for something to go with it.

                                                                                                                  1. (I haven't read all the answers so if I'm repeating my apologies)

                                                                                                                    There are a few reasons the primary reason is the cost of their product, steak, is one of the highest in the industry. Compound that if you are talking prime grade as well. By comparison Italian or pasta is among the cheapest or lowest.

                                                                                                                    In order to make up for that lower profit margin on how much the can mark up (charge) for their product they have to charge the ridiculous price for sides.

                                                                                                                    Also keep in mind a true steak dinner can be like a religious experience for some people. Steak dinners generally take a little longer, consist of multiple courses, and are more of an "all night" experience. Dinners routinely run 2+ hours. This means typical steakhouses do not get the same turnover as other restaurants do. On a weekend a steakhouse may only turn a table twice in a night, whereas other restaurants will try for 3 or 4 turnovers for a table.

                                                                                                                    Steakhouses use linen table clothes, linen napkins, offer bread baskets, water etc. all of which carry their associated expense.

                                                                                                                    Primarily steakhouses start with one of the narrowest profit margins, so the high cost sides, drinks and appitizers are all there to increase those profit margins.

                                                                                                                    1. As many have said, expensive real estate, linen tablecloths & napkins, expensive china, silverware & stemware & much slower customer turnover.

                                                                                                                      Then there is the cost of the steak. Please don't confuse typical boxed beef "prime" with a slightly abundant marbling score found at most retail locations that sell prime beef with high end steak house beef.

                                                                                                                      Most high end steakhouses work closely with purveyors like LaFrieda who bring in the very best of the prime grade with abundant marbling which is often then aged on the bone which adds a significant cost to an already expensive piece of meat.

                                                                                                                      As other have said, total food costs typically don't exceed 30% at most restaurants. At a high end steak house, just the cost of the steak can exceed 50% or more of the menu price. Higher markups on sides & beverages make up the difference.

                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                        This is the best answer yet. To make money, every restaurant has to be somewhere around 30% for food costs. It's an industry standard formula. So if the Food Cost for the steak is 40 to 50%, as it often is, you need a lower than average food cost % for other dishes to make up for it.

                                                                                                                        Sides can cost anywhere from .40 to $2.00 for a half-cup serving for the ingredients alone. As Fourunder pointed out way upthread, the potato may only cost fifteen cents (but those huge unblemished premium two pound bakers are way costlier), but all that dairy and bacon is expensive. At our restaurant (not a steakhouse) the creamed spinach, in which we use real butter, cream and bacon, costs us .79 for a half-cup serving for the raw ingredients alone. So at a 26% cost factor (which they are probably aiming for due to the way-above-30%-average cost of the steak) the menu price ought to be $3.09.

                                                                                                                        But of course no steakhouse would ever give you a half-cup (4 oz.) serving. More likely it is a plate to share, probably close to two cups (16 oz.). So using this formula the menu price should legitimately be around $12.

                                                                                                                        Looking at it this way, $8.50 for the spinach seems like a bargain.

                                                                                                                        1. re: acgold7

                                                                                                                          I really appreciate those of you in the biz explaining it to the rest of us.

                                                                                                                          1. re: acgold7

                                                                                                                            Precisely.....the Baked Potato is like a Five guys hamburger.....you are paying for the toppings, whether you want them or not.

                                                                                                                        2. For some people, the "luxury" steakhouse represents the highest stratosphere of dining and they are willing to pay those prices for it.

                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                            I for one am one of those people.

                                                                                                                            1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                              And it's neither good nor bad, it just is. God knows I "overspend" on things that someone else gives a giant eyeroll to.

                                                                                                                              1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                Yes exactly I by no means meant to insinuate everyone should. Steak, steakhouses and trips into NY City for them is my "pampering" in life. It is the equivalent to women who treat themselves to a spa day, or mani-pedi's etc. I don't play golf anymore, I just dine very well.

                                                                                                                          2. As far as I know that's how they make real money...on potatoes and creamed spinach...onion and tomatoes slices.

                                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Monica

                                                                                                                              Let's not forget $12-$13-$14-$15......Martini's !!!!!

                                                                                                                              1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                                Even those pricey cocktails may not be that profitable. A cocktail needs to be in the 12-22% area to be profitable, but many cocktails using premium ingredients that I design for high end bars and restaurants are in the 22-28% range... for a $12-15+ cocktail. Of course these cocktails are in the same category for care in preparation, flavor, presentation, etc. as a dry aged, high prime, steak.

                                                                                                                                1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                  Well let me preface this with the fact I'm a lil old school, so my use of the term martini is the classic version. In my case I don't even want vermouth so it's just a straight chilled pour for me, there is plenty of profit in that. With no insult towards you or your mixologist talents, a drunk monkey with a shaker can make my drink.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                                    jr, I wish I could make you a Martini with my choice of gin, vermouth, and bitters of choice, with a lemon twist. (Tuthilltown Half Moon Orchard gin or Knickerbocker gin, Dolin or Boisserie dry vermouth, and Angostura Orange bitters, stirred well on large pieces of clear, hand cut ice for 35-60 seconds, strained into a icy, chilled Nick and Nora glass, cut to order lemon peel folded to express the oils, wiped around the rim, and slid into the drink.) I'd change your mind.

                                                                                                                                    I am a chilled gin drinker, and I call it what it is, not a martini. A classic martini is something a bit more than just chilled gin. The right good quality vermouth, freshly opened, not old, and stored in a fridge, to the right gin, with the right bitters... more than the sum of its parts.

                                                                                                                                    Recently I had someone send back a martini, untasted, because it had a lemon peel instead of olives and a yellowish tinge to it. He refused to try it. I finally said I would serve him chilled gin all night long for free if he drank three sips of the martini I made him. Needless to say, he paid for his drinks that night, and very happily.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                      well done sir.

                                                                                                                                      How much of each?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: hyde

                                                                                                                                        My normal proportions are 2-2/3:1 gin to vermouth. I find the when using very good quality ingredients this ratio works for the majority of people. Even those who like and extremely dry Martini, this showcases how important a great, fresh, vermouth is, and the orange bitters.
                                                                                                                                        2 oz. gin
                                                                                                                                        .75 dry vermouth
                                                                                                                                        2 dashes orange bitters
                                                                                                                                        1 large lemon peel

                                                                                                                                    2. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                                      Your martini is NOT "the classic version" if you're not including vermouth.

                                                                                                                              2. While the markup percentage may be highest with the sides (and likely lowest with the beef), most money is made on alcohol from what I hear: this is generally true in US where people are more willing to pay for pricy alcohol than pricy entree. In Europe it's the reverse.

                                                                                                                                1. I was just looking at the menu for a non-steak house restaurant in San Francisco. That's about the price they posted for vegetable side dishes. This is a place with main dishes in the $16 - $29 range.

                                                                                                                                  So, I don't think you're getting ripped off for these items at your steak house.

                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: 512window

                                                                                                                                    "I was just looking at the menu for a non-steak house restaurant in San Francisco. That's about the price they posted for vegetable side dishes."

                                                                                                                                    But you are comparing SF to the OP's Manchester, NH. That is not a fair comparison. A side for $7-$8 in SF is a bargain!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                      No, a side dish for $7 in San Francisco is not particularly a bargain, it's pretty standard. And that is at a restaurant where the main course costs far less than the steak he's buying in New Hampshire.

                                                                                                                                      Since the vegetables are mostly grown near San Francisco (except the potatoes), I would expect them to cost more in the New Hampshire restaurant. Not the case.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: 512window

                                                                                                                                        You missed my point. $7 for a side in a big, tourist-oriented city where most restaurants are trying to make the most they can, is a bargain.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                        512, thanks for sharing that.

                                                                                                                                        Here's a moderate price restaurant menu in Reno, NV:

                                                                                                                                        Sides
                                                                                                                                        daily additions

                                                                                                                                        $7.00
                                                                                                                                        Crispy Polenta
                                                                                                                                        grana padano

                                                                                                                                        $7.00
                                                                                                                                        Crispy Potatoes
                                                                                                                                        herb oil

                                                                                                                                        $7.00
                                                                                                                                        Roasted Winter Squash
                                                                                                                                        Daily Addition

                                                                                                                                    2. Some posters have responded that the high cost of the steak means restaurants charge more for everything else to give themselves some profit. No doubt there is at least some truth in that.

                                                                                                                                      Meanwhile as for the reason customers will pay for that, it's a captive market. You're not going to be able to get a steak nearly as good as what you can get at a really top-notch steakhouse, anywhere else, and thus if it's steak you want, a steakhouse is where you're going to go. While you're there, you're likely to want other things besides the slab of meat. So you'll order them. You might not be thrilled with the price, compared to what you might know is the cost involved (in relative terms), but if you want the great steak (which you *can't* get elsewhere), you're not really in a position to argue.

                                                                                                                                      However, I would stop VERY short of assuming steakhouse owners are all cynical operators with a view primarily to fleecing every customer for every dollar, or pound, or Euro, they've got. Many of them are much more interested in providing customers with the best steak they can reasonably provide.

                                                                                                                                      It should also be noted that the seafood example you give is in fact quite typical in Italian seafood restaurants. If you order a piece of fish, you'll get ... a piece of fish. You'll need to (and be expected to) order contorni separately.

                                                                                                                                      1. "I get it ( somewhat) for say...Potato Au Gratin...there is some work to getting this dish together.. "

                                                                                                                                        I've been attacked by many non-chowhounds for this argument exactly. If there is culinary skill involved in making a dish, I'll pay. Broil a steak? Not so much. Sides? Do you really think the dishwasher or broilerman knows enough to care or cares enough to know how to make any simple or simpleton sides? Patrons are there for the steak, and as for the sides, well, if you enjoy 30+ bites of the same thing, anything on the side, no matter how awful, would suffice.
                                                                                                                                        I'm not a fan of steakhouses or the lack of a chef in any and all of them.

                                                                                                                                        29 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                                          I used to be a fan of steakhouses but for years have been aging my own beef and can do as good or better than a steakhouse at a fraction of the costs.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                            How do you 'age' your beef? wet aging or dry aging?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Monica

                                                                                                                                              I do both because my wife and kids like the wet aged and I like the dry aged. I vacuum seal and mark accordingly.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                Dry aging at home is great fun. Best to do it with a separate fridge.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                  Yeah thats what I do. The door on the main fridge spends to much time open with kids endlessly staring at whats on the shelves thinking somehow there is something in there that wasn't there a 1/2 hr ago.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                    Dad? Is that you?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                      Hey, I do that and I'm 53! It seems with every haf hour that goes by the selection of food in there looks better and better. lol

                                                                                                                                              2. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                Agree, I've been dry aging for years, usually a whole rib eye which produces less waste when trimming, then cutting into steaks. The taste is excellent.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: treb

                                                                                                                                                  "I've been dry aging for years"

                                                                                                                                                  Are you done yet?

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                                                    Old Egyptian trick with a sarcophagus.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                                                      I'm a work in process.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: treb

                                                                                                                                                        A masterpiece.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: treb

                                                                                                                                                      We cook steak often for guests and they are always blown away by the steakhouse quality. Good quality meat with the right age, either dry or wet depending on the individual is all it takes. A high choice grade sub primal is really good enough if one knows what to look for.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                        I "grade" my beef as well. I look at what I'm buying even if it's in cryovac. If I don't see what I'm looking for, I put it back and look at another. If I don't find "the one", I ask if they can open another case and let me look.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JayL

                                                                                                                                                          Sometimes I get them at Restaurant Depot and have looked at a couple dozen striploins and walked out empty handed. Big variation in marbling score within the choice grade. IMHO, branded products like Sterling Silver & Certified Angus Beef are much more consistent in terms of high choice marbling.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                            I haven't come across much Sterling Silver as I have CAB. I'm surprised you say you find CAB to be more consistant, now I'm going to have to pay closer attention.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                                                              Sterling Silver & CAB are both certified programs that have minimum choice marbling scores of Modest or higher.

                                                                                                                                                              Sam's Club "used" to carry Sterling Silver and it was always very good. They switched to National Beef's Black Canyon which has a marbling score of small. Have looked at it, and a small amount of marbling is just what it has.

                                                                                                                                                              CAB is carried by many but I have had a hard time finding a retail place that sells CAB sub primals. If you have a friend that has a restaurant and an account with Sysco, Sysco's meat division "Buckhead Beef" has it in both Choice & Prime. Thats how I have gotten it and it was outstanding.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                              <Big variation in marbling score within the choice grade.>

                                                                                                                                                              Agreed. You find many that border on Select grade and alot that are clearly right in the middle of the Choice spectrum...with a few in the upper Choice range.

                                                                                                                                                              I sliced into a rib loin at work one day and was amazed at what I saw. Clearly a Prime loin that had been graded as Choice. I cut a few steaks for customers that day, but couldn't wait to grill one for myself later on. It was so damn good that I sliced, sealed, froze, and took home the remaining loin for myself.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JayL

                                                                                                                                                                JayL, I find Choice that should be labeled Prime occasionally at my local H-Mart Korean grocery, but I had to become friends with the butcher and throw him a bribe, I mean tip, so I can get large cuts, because they cut the meat differently.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JayL

                                                                                                                                                                  I have found the same thing at Restaurant Depot. They have a private label "Superior Angus Beef" product that comes from Nebraska Beef LTD. It can be low choice, middle choice, top choice and every once in a while flirting in the prime grade. Every time I go in there I give them a look over just in case that gem is on the rack.

                                                                                                                                                                  I have found with the strip loins that what you see on the the 1st cut (eye side) side "usually" carries throughout the loin.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                                  I've never been impressed with Restaurant Depot. I find quality and prices are not very good.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                                                    Back in the day R.D. stocked more branded Certified Beef Programs such as CAB, Sterling Silver & US Premium Beef which IMHO were all consistently top choice or better.

                                                                                                                                                                    Several years back they switched almost exclusively to "Superior Angus Beef" from Nebraska Beef LTD which does not use USDA graders. Seems to be a big variation with marbling. Very much hit or miss.

                                                                                                                                                                    Friends have told me R.D.'s prices on many items they stock are cheaper than Sysco & US Foods regular prices but you have to watch freshness like a hawk and they suspect a lot of re-labeling with new dates.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                                      Our local Depot marks the prices down by at least 25% once they get about halfway to the pull date. Then my family eats great for at least a month.

                                                                                                                                                                      This week they are advertising whole cryo boneless ribeyes, SAB high choice, for about $7/lb. My son wants to try his hand at a steak dinner for the family tonight so I'm off to Depot in a few minutes to pick one up. If I don't like what I see it's on to the Costco next door.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: acgold7

                                                                                                                                                                        Thats great that your Depot does that. The only discounted product in our local Depot has cryovacs puffed up like a balloon or the product is dried out like a raisin.

                                                                                                                                                                        At our local Depot the meat MGR won't crack a case as long as the rack has product, even if the product is miserably marbled and badly manhandled.

                                                                                                                                                                        At a different Depot store about a 1/2 hr away the meat MGR will crack a couple cases and let you root through them as long as you properly re-pack everything. Super tight cryovacs out of the case with no fluids which also makes it easier to see & judge the marbling.

                                                                                                                                                                        Normally boneless strips and ribs bottom out this time of the year but they haven't hit the (mid $5 lb) of previous years. Me thinks grilling may be pretty expensive this summer.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: acgold7

                                                                                                                                                                          Off topic but I just shaved off the bark from a 28 day dry aged striploin (Excel Beef) I had picked up at R.D.

                                                                                                                                                                          Following the recommendation of either you or Fourunder, forget which, I made stock out of the bark.

                                                                                                                                                                          Cut into long strips, then cubed, yielded about 5 cups. Then into stock pot w/water simmered and reduced for about 6 hours.

                                                                                                                                                                          OUTSTANDING!!!!!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                                            Yep. We waste nothing. And the dogs love us.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                                          I've found a lot of Restaurant Depots prices are higher than retail. I had been buying from them the past year for restaurants/bars I consult to, but now only for certain things.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                                                            On some produce and frozen items I've found that too.

                                                                                                                                                            3. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                                                              I see no reason to expect that there aren't steak houses where whoever the person is who prepares other food items - and there could be several, including a dedicated pastry chef - both knows enough and cares enough to make good accompaniments for a steak. I've been to places where this has clearly been the case.

                                                                                                                                                              As for what's on the plate generally, there are people for whom as you suggest, large amounts of fairly simple dishes don't have much appeal - they need a lot of variety and fairly complex flavours in order to be satisfied.

                                                                                                                                                              Others can like very plain things, and there is no given correlation between preference for complex versus plain and discernment of food quality. Many people who like or even prefer plain foods are very much interested in and excited by high quality food - which it must be noted, can include a high-quality steak. It's plain, but that's the whole point: the flavour of the meat comes through. They would be very distressed to get an "awful" accompaniment to a steak.

                                                                                                                                                            4. There is always Tad's Steak House $13.79 with baked potato, salad and garlic bread!!!

                                                                                                                                                              9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                I remember when it was under $3.00 and you got a potato the size of a kid's football. I think each little cup of sour cream and/or butter was an extra nickel.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, but a loaf of bread was a nickel during the depression too. And we had to walk uphill 12 miles throught the snow to go to school. Ane we liked it.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: acgold7

                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, and it was uphill in both directions.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                      With no shoes on our feet!
                                                                                                                                                                      Feet? Who had feet?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                        My brother and I had to share one pair of feet, even days he got the feet odd days I did. Gosh did I cherish leap years!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                                                                          Ha!

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                    Mid 60s it was $1.79

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                                                      And a steak at Chucks Steak House with salad bar was 5 bucks.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                                                        It was about 65 or 66 that I was thinking of. I thought for sure it was about $2.69. Maybe that was after they added the charges for all the extra butter and sour cream. Plus the drink.

                                                                                                                                                                  3. What about the question of what % of the steak houses are actually using prime or dry aged? Of course the top top dogs are but the rest which there are plenty and maybe majority?

                                                                                                                                                                    That is the price I begrudge paying, the restaurants that are AAA and still charging the premium prices.

                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: daislander

                                                                                                                                                                      What you suspect may be true of a Mom & Pop operation...but that would not be true of a larger chain. They fully disclose their grade of meat....and they may even provide you with their purveyor as well.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. "I can't imagine ( well I can and the image sends me into a fit of giggles) ordering..say the halibut at a seafood restaurant and all that arrives on my plate....is a piece of.... fish....No sides...no sauce.....nothing..?"

                                                                                                                                                                      I know I've already responded to this OP,
                                                                                                                                                                      BUT>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

                                                                                                                                                                      This is memories of my youth and my mother's cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                      If supper was steak, or veal chops, or lamb chops, or broiled chicken.....my mother would plate your meat on your dinner plate and serve it as the meal. No veg, no starch, just the meat.

                                                                                                                                                                      Her attitude was that you had your veg and starch in the soup and salad course before the meat main. Only at holiday meals were veg and starch served with the main course.

                                                                                                                                                                      I can remember school friends asking 'what did you have for supper last night?' and I replied steak, when asked what I had with it, a glass of water

                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                                                        This is exactly what I would do when I lived alone - I would only eat one thing at a time. When I wanted a steak, I would make a steak and eat just that for dinner. I did eat more than the traditional 3 meals a day though. I might have made a steak for dinner at seven and then have green beans for a snack at midnight. I just was never hungry enough to eat more than one thing at a time.

                                                                                                                                                                        Later learned that I have digestive issues, including delayed gastric emptying - things made a lot more sense after that.

                                                                                                                                                                        I make more typical meals with sides for my husband and stepdaughter now, but I still frequently eat only one thing. I might have a few veggies and a few pieces of roasted potato when they have dinner and then have just a piece of fish or a sandwich several hours later.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                                                          When I allot myself a steak meal all I want is to eat my perfect medium rare steak. I eat it so infrequently that when I do it is a big treat that I want to savor.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. I think they're popular with business diners, leading to expense account inflation. It only bugs me in that I am sad about all the leftover steak that probably does not get packed to go... On the very rare occasions I get steak at a restaurant I eat about half and save the rest for another meal!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. I have found that the best way to pay ~only~ for the cost of food is to cook and eat at home.

                                                                                                                                                                            When dining out, I feel that I am paying for the business' rent, utilities, labor, taxes etc etc etc. I understand that all of those little costs add up. I believe that they are passed on to the diners.

                                                                                                                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                                              How would a restaurant or any business exist if their costs weren't part of the selling price?

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                Exactly!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                                                  Pedal, I think you are right that in these economic doldrums more people eat at home when they are home, and the high priced meals out are are reserved for business or vacation trips away from home.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                    Agreed.
                                                                                                                                                                                    I think for me, it's also related to having so many great resources for excellent ingredients, from farmers markets to quality grocers to butchers etc.
                                                                                                                                                                                    I think I may need to start dabbling in dry aging steaks at home.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                      And Chowhound is perfect for enabling us to eat better at home, with all the wonderful and accessible ingredients nearby!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                        We've been in Manhattan for almost two weeks and the depth and breadth of the ingredients continues to amaze. The carbonara that I make at home with cheap ingredients cost about $25 the other night (great guanciale, pecorino, pasta, etc.) But so worth it. And it fed four of us with leftovers.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                          There's been a lot of talk of carbonara recently- I can feel that dish in my near future.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                        I concur!

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                                                    There are other costs involved besides "~only~ the cost of food". I'm thinking fuel to cook (gas/propane/electricity/charcoal/wood/etc) and cost to obtain the food (car overhead/bus ticket/delivery charge/etc).
                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm just sayin.

                                                                                                                                                                                  3. It seems to me, from my stone-age experience cooking in restaurants, that in addition to the low margins (relatively speaking) on prime, aged beef, the high fixed costs for location, and so on, there is also most likely a relatively high employee cost. The simplicity of the menu is deceiving. You really cannot fool anyone about how perfectly their expensive steak is cooked, and to do this consistently must require a pretty high level of training and care on the part of the cooks. I know that when I was a cookie, the guys who could do that were paid more.

                                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Teague

                                                                                                                                                                                      Great point. I imagine the cost of having steaks sent back must really bite.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Teague

                                                                                                                                                                                        "my stone-age experience cooking in restaurants"

                                                                                                                                                                                        I like that one and might use it sometime. My usual line is 'I used to cook on a line in a previous life'...

                                                                                                                                                                                        There was a high end steakhouse in Montreal awhile back where I got to know the bartender. I asked him similar questions about the grill cooks (they had an open, charcoal grill as well as a closed BOH kitchen). At this particular place, they didn't really pay the grill cooks a premium. In fact, they were paid the same (low rate) as any other cook in the city. I was surprised at this, however, the owner *was* draconian.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                                                          "however, the owner *was* draconian."
                                                                                                                                                                                          is that amount of meat, red meat, showing it's signs of "draconian" manners amongst it's partakers?

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I thought of y'all last night. We had a free dinner at a local casino steakhouse. Here's a list of the sauces and sides:

                                                                                                                                                                                        Sauces
                                                                                                                                                                                        Sauce Bearnaise $4
                                                                                                                                                                                        Demi Glace $2
                                                                                                                                                                                        Mushroom Bordelaise $4
                                                                                                                                                                                        Sauce au Poivre Rose $3
                                                                                                                                                                                        Chimichurri $3
                                                                                                                                                                                        Truffle Butter $4
                                                                                                                                                                                        Horseradish Cream $2
                                                                                                                                                                                        CBC Steak Sauce $3

                                                                                                                                                                                        Side dishes
                                                                                                                                                                                        Hand Cut Steak Fries $5
                                                                                                                                                                                        House Made Gnocchi $5
                                                                                                                                                                                        Baked Mac & Cheese $6
                                                                                                                                                                                        Cream Spinach $5
                                                                                                                                                                                        Seasonal Vegetable $4
                                                                                                                                                                                        Garlic Mashed Potatoes $4
                                                                                                                                                                                        Beer Battered Onion Rings $5
                                                                                                                                                                                        Loaded Baked Potato $5

                                                                                                                                                                                        The creamed spinach came in a bowl and was more like a super thick, cheese, creamy spinach soup :) So bad I'm actually going to write the executive chef and give him a recipe I use.

                                                                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                          The prices don't seem so outrageous.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                            I didn't think so either. And you know going in and has been said before the alternative is don't go there.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                              I used to love steakhouses until I learned to smoke up my own kitchen so rarely if ever go now. However, just yesterday I received a gift certificate to The Prime Rib so I guess I will have to go see what kind highway robbery they are trying to get away with these days :)

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                Same here. This was a birthday gift to Bob from the casino, a thank you for our "donations to the local economy" that we make there :) It WAS a lovely filet with a quite nice demi-glace.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm sure the Prime Rib will serve up a tasty meal and so I can't really lose. I'll probably cozy up to the bar and use it all for myself :)