Saturday, December 5, 2009

Trim: Ordering Steak at Restaurants

I had lunch on Saturday at a restaurant in Studio City, California. The restaurant has an excellent reputation for good and sometimes great food. I ordered a top loin (aka New York, strip, strip-loin) steak.

I did not expect SteakPerfection, but I did look forward to enjoying the rich, beefy taste of a well-cooked steak.

I was disappointed: my steak had not been trimmed of fat.

Top loin (New York, strip) steaks have a layer of fat that surrounds the meat. Before cooking, a steak master carefully trims off the fat layer. Why? For two important reasons.

First, when an untrimmed steak is cooked, the fat layer browns like the rest of the steak. That means that the fat is not readily visible to the guest, so the guest invariably bites into a piece of fat.

Second, cooked fat tastes bad - very bad. The taste of cooked fat spoils the taste of fine steak, so steak masters never cook a steak until it has been trimmed of the layer of fat.

Unfortunately, most restaurants today, including some expensive steakhouses, fail to trim their steaks.

The solution: when ordering steak at a new restaurant or steakhouse, ask the server specifically to make sure that the chef trims off the fat layer before cooking.

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