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Chefs: Sick of Customers Ordering Well-Done Steak?


DonRocks
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Not challenging the techniques Mark (or the role aging, slower cooking and resting the meat might play) and undoubtedly you're also working with a superior product tailored to your chef's method--but I believe Don was speaking citywide: isn't it also a matter of awareness and customer apathy?

But let me put it to you a more personal way--do you ever wonder how someone who had enjoyed excellent steak experiences, transcendent even, at Citronelle can do steak elsewhere around town, not as high up the food chain and not as refined technique-wise a la Richard or Ducasse, and not be painfully aware of the distinction? Or do you wonder sometimes if those distinctions are lost on them?

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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At the risk of opening a huge can of Acme Brand worms, The chain steak joints (Outback, Lonestar, even Ruth's Chris) have little pictures next to the grill stations. They also have their internal definitions of doneness (ie; Medium means a warm pink center, Rare is a cool red center, etc).

I mean, come on. The chain places with the $8 an hour college kid on the grill get the doneness right, very nearly every time I'm eaten there. The couple of time I haven't, it wasn't far enough from what I ordered to protest.

And you can throw peanut shells on the floor at some of them. What's not to like?

Please note, I realize this discussion was about higher end places. But when the college kids at a chain can get the steak right, and the pros at the $40 porterhouse places can't, there's a problem.

And you can always order the way Woody Harrelson did in The Cowboy Way": "Just knock its horns off, wipe its nasty ass, and chunk it right here on this plate."

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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For any Sommeliers reading, what would you say to a customer asking for a wine  recommendation to go with a well done steak?

Simple. Egri Bikaver (Bull's Blood).

At least then they will get a bit of blood with their steak!

I love animals.

They are delicious.

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For any Sommeliers reading, what would you say to a customer asking for a wine  recommendation to go with a well done steak?

Simple. Egri Bikaver (Bull's Blood).

At least then they will get a bit of blood with their steak!

That was the point! :laugh:

Mark

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At the risk of opening a huge can of Acme Brand worms, The chain steak joints (Outback, Lonestar, even Ruth's Chris) have little pictures next to the grill stations. They also have their internal definitions of doneness (ie; Medium means a warm pink center, Rare is a cool red center, etc).

I mean, come on. The chain places with the $8 an hour college kid on the grill get the doneness right, very nearly every time I'm eaten there. The couple of time I haven't, it wasn't far enough from what I ordered to protest.

I have not been to any of these chains (not a big steak-eater), but I have been told that the steaks are cut to different thicknesses so they all cook for the exact same amount of time for the desired temperature. As I understand it, there is a pile of steaks for "well-done" that are, say 3/4 inch thick, in the medium-well pile they are a little thicker, rares the thickest. Then all are cooked for 8.5 minutes or whatever, et voila - robosteak. Don't know if the thicker cuts are smaller in size to keep the weight the same, or if the people with enough sense to order their steak rare get a bonus couple of ounces.

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i had a steak overcooked at ruths chris in the very recent past....

and as much as i enjoyed my hangar steak at ray's, it was undercooked.

and don't get me started on my cashion's experience.

but then again, sometimes the grill guy/woman gets hit hard...and all hell breaks loose, and a steak or burger or something will get overcooked/undercooked. these people are human and make mistakes like the rest of us.

mr. sommelier...if the steaks produce a perfect mid-rare....what do you do if you want a medium?

Nothing quite like a meal with my beautiful wife.

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i had a steak overcooked at ruths chris in the very recent past....

and as much as i enjoyed my hangar steak at ray's, it was undercooked.

and don't get me started on my cashion's experience.

but then again, sometimes the grill guy/woman gets hit hard...and all hell breaks loose, and a steak or burger or something will get overcooked/undercooked. these people are human and make mistakes like the rest of us.

mr. sommelier...if the steaks produce a perfect mid-rare....what do you do if you want a medium?

Mr. Pastrami,

If you ask for it medium, it works that way, too. Pink all the way through.

Mark

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Egads--no way would I let an overcooked steak go with no protest at a topend Steak or Chophouse. With a large group, I reckon I'd have to confer with a captain, then return to either await a replacement--or scotch that and pork out on a couple shrimp cocktails--but no way would I feel they had earned their premium price. And they usually all guarantee your satisfaction.

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I can't imagine a steak overcooked at Ruth's Chris, as I recall they state on the menu their exact definitions for the differing degrees of doneness. I wonder if the mistake had to do with the sizzling plates (which, if I remember correctly, they do warn you about)...

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I can't imagine a steak overcooked at Ruth's Chris, as I recall they state on the menu their exact definitions for the differing degrees of doneness. I wonder if the mistake had to do with the sizzling plates (which, if I remember correctly, they do warn you about)...

do you mean you can't imagine the kitchen making a mistake? or you can't imagine getting something you didn't order because you aren't aware of the standards at Ruth's Chris.

i'm a *slight* proponent of Ruth's Chris, but, if the plate is cooking my steak too much, then i think they have an inherent problem with their system. i've never experienced this, but i suppose it could happen.

Edited by tommy (log)
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i'm a *slight* proponent of Ruth's Chris, but, if the plate is cooking my steak too much, then i think they have an inherent problem with their system. i've never experienced this, but i suppose it could happen.

okay, I guess in my original post, perhaps I was a bit harsh. Ruth's Chris, as a higher end steak house, should not make such mistakes. That isn't to say they never happen, as I can recall one occassion when a steak was undercooked (however they were very good about it, comp'ed the steak and dessert). The original intention was more to wonder whether the mistake was made due to their plates or not. I typically order steak on the medium well side, but will always make sure to order it medium at Ruth's Chris because the plate finishes off the job (and this is something I am pretty sure they inform the diner of before odering).

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i'm a *slight* proponent of Ruth's Chris, but, if the plate is cooking my steak too much, then i think they have an inherent problem with their system.  i've never experienced this, but i suppose it could happen.

okay, I guess in my original post, perhaps I was a bit harsh.

no, you weren't harsh at all!

as i said, if their hot plates are cooking the steak beyond what was ordered, then they have a problem with their system. that has not been my experience, but with a chain, like ruth's chris, there is the possibility that inconsistencies will rear their heads. that's not a good thing. but again, i've not seen this in the one Ruth's Chris that i've been to several times. although i always request "no butter" because that's pretty disgusting. unless you're Luger's, the temple that can do no wrong, event though they slice their hot meat and throw it back on the heat. :blink:

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but again, i've not seen this in the one Ruth's Chris that i've been to several times. although i always request "no butter" because that's pretty disgusting.

I totally agree about the butter, wonder why they even offer it this way, ugh! :huh:

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but again, i've not seen this in the one Ruth's Chris that i've been to several times.  although i always request "no butter" because that's pretty disgusting.

I totally agree about the butter, wonder why they even offer it this way, ugh! :huh:

i think i know why: butter is good! hell, like i said, even luger's, if i'm not mistaken, puts butter on their steaks. although the pool of butter with the steak at ruth's chris is a turnoff for me. this is probably for another thread though. i'll search for a "butter and steak" thread. if there's not one, there sure should be. :biggrin:

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here's what to do

1) go to bistro du coin

2) order the ribeye mid rare

3) order extra bernaise sauce while you're at it

4) enjoy

it's that easy..any questions?...ask the swiss guy

listen to Black Sabbath..often

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here's what to do

1) go to bistro du coin

2) order the ribeye mid rare

3) order extra bernaise sauce while you're at it

4) enjoy

it's that easy..any questions?...ask the swiss guy

Except I've had overcooked steak at BdC, not once but twice. And undercooked, soggy frites. Not a good meal.

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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i had a steak overcooked at ruths chris in the very recent past....

and as much as i enjoyed my hangar steak at ray's, it was undercooked.

and don't get me started on my cashion's experience.

but then again, sometimes the grill guy/woman gets hit hard...and all hell breaks loose, and a steak or burger or something will get overcooked/undercooked. these people are human and make mistakes like the rest of us.

mr. sommelier...if the steaks produce a perfect mid-rare....what do you do if you want a medium?

Mr. Pastrami,

If you ask for it medium, it works that way, too. Pink all the way through.

the real question i had, mark, was how much longer in a 205 degree oven does it take to get a steak medium, as opposed to medium-rare?

Nothing quite like a meal with my beautiful wife.

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Egads--no way would I let an overcooked steak go with no protest at a topend Steak or Chophouse. With a large group, I reckon I'd have to confer with a captain, then return to either await a replacement--or scotch that and pork out on a couple shrimp cocktails--but no way would I feel they had earned their premium price. And they usually all guarantee your satisfaction.

Shula's gets in there with a flashlight and if you even hesitate for a second on whether it is to your liking they will whisk it away and get you a new one. They usually do not over cook my Rare order there and they have a damn tasty ribeye too!

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I can't imagine a steak overcooked at Ruth's Chris, as I recall they state on the menu their exact definitions for the differing degrees of doneness. I wonder if the mistake had to do with the sizzling plates (which, if I remember correctly, they do warn you about)...

do you mean you can't imagine the kitchen making a mistake? or you can't imagine getting something you didn't order because you aren't aware of the standards at Ruth's Chris.

i'm a *slight* proponent of Ruth's Chris, but, if the plate is cooking my steak too much, then i think they have an inherent problem with their system.  i've never experienced this, but i suppose it could happen.

Ruth's Chris is a soul-less chain. Support independants!

"I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully."

—George W. Bush in Saginaw, Mich., Sept. 29, 2000

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