Wine & Dine: Steakhouse 101

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As a foodie, nothing excites me more than exploring a new restaurant. Even on my birthday, no number of flowers or cards could trump the sizzling sound of a juicy steak in front of me. This year for my birthday, my fiancé and I tried a long-time Houston landmark restaurant known as A Taste of Texas. They’re known for their western-theme Angus beef selection so my mind was already made up before the waiter handed me a menu. For my entrée, I chose the Tomahawk, a 38 oz. ribeye with a 14 inch bone hanging out (they even walk you back to the butcher’s area to choose your steak yourself!). It was… magical. I’ve tried quite a few steakhouses in my day so below I’ve listed a few things to look for when trying to find the right spot to dine.

img_7907Things to look for when choosing a steakhouse:

  • Years in business: As with any restaurant, practice makes perfect. While a new and happening steakhouse is tempting, I go for the tried and true where you can be sure they’ve worked out the kinks in quality, customer service, and cleanliness.
  • Selection of cuts: This will depend on your pallet preferences. I personally enjoy beefy, bone-in, and moderate marbling but no matter what  you’re in the mood for, the menu should provide a wide enough variety that you can stick to your usual or try something new.
  • Quality of beef: The USDA assigns grades of Prime, Choice, and Select (in descending order) to beef so don’t be fooled by even the longest, fanciest specifications if the restaurants fails to ‘t specify the brand, grade, and certificate of inspection. Simply saying “quality Angus beef” just won’t do!
  • Wine selection (duh): Steak pairs best with red wine and as a general rule of thumb, lean meat goes well with light wines while richer cuts of steak pair well with bolder wines. Here are a few common pairings for your next steakhouse visit:
    • Filet with Pinot Noir
    • Ribeye with a Malbec or Cabernet
    • NY strip with a Cabernet or Syrah
    • Prime rib with a Cabernet or Chianti

Now that I’ve gotten you nice and hungry, head out for dinner and drop me a line on what you tried!

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