Ordering steak at a fancy restaurant can be intimidating, especially if you’re not familiar with cuts of steak or how they should be cooked. But with a bit of knowledge, ordering steak like a pro is easy.

Here’s a quick answer if you’re short on time: When ordering steak at a nice restaurant, choose the cut based on your budget and preferences. Tell the waiter how you want it cooked using terms like rare, medium-rare, etc. Specify if you want any extra preparation like au poivre sauce or Oscar style.

And don’t be shy about sending it back if it’s not cooked to your liking.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk through the entire process of ordering steak at an upscale steakhouse or fine dining restaurant. You’ll learn how to choose the right cut of steak, determine doneness, customize your order, and send food back politely if needed.

We’ll also cover steakhouse etiquette so you can dine with confidence. By the end, you’ll be ready to order steak like a seasoned pro at even the fanciest restaurants.

How to Choose the Right Cut of Steak

When dining at a fancy restaurant and ordering steak, it’s important to choose the right cut that suits your preferences. Here are some tips to help you make the best choice:

Consider the tenderness and flavor

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a steak is its tenderness and flavor. Some cuts, such as the ribeye, are known for their marbling and rich flavor, while others, like the filet mignon, are prized for their tenderness.

Researching different cuts and their characteristics can help you make an informed decision.

Select based on your budget

Another consideration when choosing a cut of steak is your budget. Steaks can vary in price, with certain cuts being more expensive than others. While some may prefer the luxuriousness of a prime ribeye, others might opt for a more budget-friendly option like a sirloin steak.

It’s important to find a balance between quality and affordability that suits your personal preferences.

Pick a thickness suited to doneness preference

The thickness of a steak can greatly affect its cooking time and doneness. Thicker cuts may require more time on the grill or in the oven to reach the desired level of doneness, while thinner cuts may cook more quickly.

Consider your preferred level of doneness, such as rare, medium rare, or well-done, and choose a thickness that will allow you to achieve it.

Choose between common cuts like ribeye, NY strip, filet mignon

There are several common cuts of steak to choose from, each with its own unique characteristics. The ribeye is known for its rich marbling and intense flavor, while the NY strip offers a balance of tenderness and flavor.

The filet mignon is exceptionally tender and is often considered the most luxurious cut. Researching the qualities of these cuts and others can help you determine which one would best suit your taste.

Understand steak naming conventions

Steak naming conventions can sometimes be confusing, with different names used for the same cut of meat. For example, a New York strip steak may also be referred to as a Kansas City strip or a sirloin steak.

Familiarize yourself with the various names for different cuts to avoid any confusion when ordering your steak.

By considering factors such as tenderness, flavor, budget, thickness, and naming conventions, you can confidently choose the right cut of steak when dining at a fancy restaurant. Enjoy your meal!

Determining Doneness and Cook Time

When ordering steak at a fancy restaurant, it’s important to know how to determine the doneness and cook time to ensure you get the perfect steak. Here are some steps to help you:

Use terms like rare, medium-rare, etc. when ordering

When ordering steak, it’s common to use terms like rare, medium-rare, medium, medium-well, or well-done to indicate the level of doneness you prefer. These terms refer to the internal temperature of the steak and the amount of pinkness in the center.

For example, a rare steak will have a cool, red center, while a well-done steak will be cooked all the way through.

Know the differences between doneness levels

It’s important to understand the differences between the various doneness levels when ordering steak. Rare steak is cooked quickly at high heat, leaving the center cool and red. Medium-rare steak is cooked a bit longer, resulting in a warm, red center.

Medium steak has a warm, pink center, while medium-well steak has a slightly pink center. Well-done steak is cooked all the way through, with no pinkness remaining.

Consider cooking method when determining doneness

The cooking method used by the restaurant can also affect the doneness of the steak. For example, a steak cooked on a grill may have a slightly different doneness than one cooked in a pan. It’s important to take this into account when ordering, as the same doneness level may result in a different cooked steak depending on the cooking method.

Pick a doneness suited to the cut of steak

Lastly, when ordering steak, it’s important to consider the cut of meat you are ordering. Different cuts of steak have different textures and flavors, and some cuts may be better suited to certain doneness levels.

For example, a tender filet mignon may be best enjoyed at a medium-rare or medium doneness, while a tougher cut like a flank steak may be better cooked to medium or medium-well to ensure tenderness.

By following these steps and understanding the various factors that come into play when determining the doneness and cook time of a steak, you’ll be able to confidently order the perfect steak at a fancy restaurant.

Customizing Your Steak Order

When dining at a fancy restaurant, it’s important to make your steak order truly your own. Customizing your steak allows you to tailor it to your personal preferences and create a memorable dining experience. Here are a few tips on how to customize your steak order:

Ask for steakhouse butter or sauce on the side

One way to customize your steak order is by asking for steakhouse butter or sauce on the side. This allows you to control the amount of flavor you want to add to your steak. Whether you prefer a classic béarnaise sauce or a savory garlic butter, having it on the side gives you the flexibility to enjoy your steak just the way you like it.

Request extra preparation like au poivre or Oscar style

If you’re looking to elevate your steak experience, consider requesting extra preparation like au poivre or Oscar style. Au poivre refers to a peppercorn crust on your steak, giving it a bold and spicy flavor.

Oscar style typically includes topping your steak with crab meat, asparagus, and a rich hollandaise sauce. These additional preparations can take your steak to the next level and impress your taste buds.

Inquire about add-on ingredients like blue cheese crumbles

To add a touch of indulgence to your steak, inquire about add-on ingredients like blue cheese crumbles. The tangy and creamy flavor of blue cheese pairs perfectly with a juicy steak and can enhance its overall taste.

Whether sprinkled on top or melted over your steak, blue cheese crumbles can add a delightful twist to your dining experience.

Order side dishes that complement your steak

A well-rounded steak order includes not just the steak itself but also complementary side dishes. Consider ordering side dishes that complement the flavors of your steak. For example, a perfectly cooked medium-rare steak pairs wonderfully with garlic mashed potatoes or a crisp Caesar salad.

The combination of the steak and the sides creates a harmonious balance of flavors.

Ask if off-menu customization is available

For those looking for a truly unique and personalized steak experience, don’t be afraid to ask if off-menu customization is available. Some fancy restaurants may have special ingredients or preparations that are not listed on the menu but can be requested.

This allows you to create a one-of-a-kind steak order that will leave a lasting impression.

Steakhouse Etiquette and Dining Tips

Use proper knife and fork technique when cutting

When dining at a fancy steakhouse, it’s important to use proper knife and fork technique when cutting your steak. Hold the knife in your right hand and the fork in your left, and use a sawing motion to cut through the steak.

Avoid using excessive force or sawing back and forth too aggressively, as this can cause the steak to lose its juiciness. Remember, a well-cooked steak should be tender and easy to cut.

Season steak with provided salts/pepper as desired

Most upscale steakhouses provide salts and pepper on the table for you to season your steak to your liking. Before taking a bite, it’s a good idea to sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper on your steak to enhance its flavor. However, it’s important to avoid overdoing it – a little goes a long way.

Taste the steak first and add seasonings gradually to ensure you don’t overpower the natural flavors of the meat.

Mind your manners and avoid loud chewing sounds

While enjoying your steak, it’s essential to mind your manners and avoid making loud chewing sounds. Chew with your mouth closed and take small, manageable bites. This will not only ensure a more pleasant dining experience for yourself but also for those around you.

Remember, a fancy restaurant is a place where people come to enjoy a quiet and sophisticated ambiance.

Feel free to politely send food back if not cooked properly

If your steak is not cooked to your liking, don’t hesitate to politely send it back to the kitchen. Upscale steakhouses take pride in providing high-quality meals, and they want their customers to be satisfied. However, it’s important to communicate your concerns politely and respectfully.

The staff will be more than happy to accommodate your request and ensure that you have a perfect steak dining experience.

Relax and savor the upscale dining experience

Finally, when dining at a fancy steakhouse, it’s important to relax and savor the upscale dining experience. Take your time to enjoy each bite of your steak, appreciating the flavors and textures. Engage in conversation with your dining companions, and take in the elegant surroundings.

Remember, dining at a fancy restaurant is meant to be a special occasion, so make the most of it and create lasting memories.


Ordering the perfect steak at a high-end steakhouse or restaurant may seem daunting. But armed with the knowledge in this guide, you can confidently select the ideal cut, doneness, and preparation for your taste and budget.

Refer back to tips on steakhouse etiquette so you can fully enjoy the lavish culinary experience. With the skills to articulate your order and customize your dish, you’ll dine on an expertly cooked steak tailored specifically to your palate.

So next time you visit a fancy steak restaurant, you’ll have the confidence and savoir-faire of a seasoned steak connoisseur.

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