When visiting a top, high-end steakhouse, your palette relishes the tastiest, juiciest and tender of steaks. Taste is subjective to the diner, but juiciness and tenderness is what diners expect at the best steakhouses. First, it’s important to know that beef is graded by expert USDA inspectors based upon amount of fat specs (marbling) and age of cattle before harvesting the beef.
Younger The Beef, Greater The Marbling, Better The Quality
There are eight USDA grade levels of beef, but only the top three levels are sold to consumers. The best grade is Prime followed by Choice and then Select. The highest rated steakhouses exclusively serve USDA Prime and USDA Choice. Prime is the superior grade. It is the most tender, juicy and flavorful. Read more about the USDA Beef Grading System.
What Are The Best Steaks To Order?
Generally, the most popular steaks for grilling or broiling (dry heat) will be those from the short loin, tenderloin and rib sections of beef. Taste is a matter of individual preference but tenderness and juiciness is imperative to steak enjoyment. Following are the top five most popular steaks ordered at top steak houses.
1. Tenderloin Filet. It’s also known as Filet Mignon. It is the most tender of steaks yet has very little fat marbling. Since it is both lean and tender it’s the best choice for those watching their fat intake. It has the mildest flavor compared to other cuts. Since it has little fat that renders into the steak as it cooks, it is not nearly as juicy as other steaks and can become dry if cooked beyond medium. More about the tenderloin filet.
2. Ribeye Steak. The ribeye has the most abundant fat marbling. That’s why it is considered the most juicy and flavorful of all steaks. This is the choice of real steak aficionados. Beefy, robust, and fatty. It can often be too fatty for some. It has a bone-in option and you guessed it. It is from the same cut as a standing rib roast. When roasted it’s called Prime Rib. When sliced into steaks, and grilled or broiled, it becomes a ribeye chop. More about ribeye steaks.
3. New York Strip. The New York, sometimes called a Kansas City, is perhaps the best steak when all things are considered. It has less fat than the ribeye and almost as tender. It has a flavor all its own. Succulent and buttery. Some steakhouses feature a bone-in version. Read more about what a New York Steak is.
4. T-Bone Steak. The T-Bone is really two steaks in one. Can’t decide between a Tenderloin Filet and a New York Strip Steak? You’ve just hit the jackpot of all steaks. That’s because it features both a filet and a New York Strip portion separated by a T-shaped bone from hence it gets its name. If you like your steak medium-well or well done, keep this in mind. The meat that sets next to the bone is difficult to reach those temperatures without overcooking the entire steak.
5. Porterhouse Steak. The Porterhouse and T-Bone are essentially the same cut of steak. In fact, it is often called the “king of the t-bones”. It is a larger version of the T-Bone because it is cut from further up the loin section. It is bigger with a larger piece of tenderloin filet. Usually you won’t find a smaller Porterhouse than 20 ounces. There are even 48 ounce Porterhouse steaks offered at some steak house restaurants. It’s the perfect steak to share giving everyone a taste of both the Filet Mignon and New York Strip.
How Big of A Steak Should I Order?
That’s up to the individual of course. But usually “eyes are bigger than the tummy”. That’s OK. Leftover steak makes a great midnight snack. Realistically though, after ordering an appetizer, a salad, a side and adding a potato, it’s hard to imagine an average person being able to eat a steak much larger than 8 to 12 ounces.
Larger steaks are more expensive versus smaller steaks. You also may be concerned about too much fat consumption. If so avoid the ribeye or compromise with the New York Strip. Keep in mind the filet has very little fat and is the most tender steak. That’s a great option for those watching their weight.
Description and Diagram of Where Cuts of Steak Are Located
Tips On Buying Steaks