The Proper Etiquette For Cutting Meat At A Steakhouse

In the hierarchy of American restaurants, steakhouses are probably the one type that people hold in the highest regard. In 2022, diners spent more than six billion dollars on steakhouses. Whether it is a branch of a national or regional chain of casual steakhouses or a palatial temple of meat that costs as much as a month's rent per serving, people embrace the steakhouse as a place to celebrate life's milestones over juicy and perfectly cooked cuts of beef.

However, do you know there is a certain etiquette when visiting a steakhouse? Not only is it polite to the establishment and the staff, but observing proper etiquette would also maximize your enjoyment of the meal. One of the rules to follow when dining at a steakhouse is to cut your meat as you go, avoiding slicing the meat all at once. That way, you can savor both your meat and your company, and your steak will not cool so quickly.

The benefits of cutting steaks slowly

There are a couple of reasons why you should avoid cutting steaks all at once. For one, steakhouse meals are designed to be consumed leisurely, with socializing in mind. You are supposed to engage in conversations with your diners through different courses, enjoying the atmosphere and the company. However, if you spend too much time cutting your meat into small pieces all at once, you are basically ignoring your fellow diners. Instead, cut your meat a bit at a time and savor the meal at your leisure.

More importantly, cutting up your steak all at once guarantees you will eat an inferior steak. Steakhouse meals are expensive because the meat is sourced and aged properly to maximize flavor and tenderness and cooked to your desired temperature. Cutting up a steak all at once almost guarantees that your steak would be colder and less juicy since the juices would leak out of your meat once cut, and the interior would cool considerably. Instead, when your steak is served, make one cut right across the center and check if the steak is done to your liking. If you are satisfied, you can keep on slicing the steak one bite at a time. Additionally, keeping the steak in one piece will also keep the flavor at its peak if you plan on having leftovers.

Other steakhouse etiquette tips

Aside from the steak-cutting tip, there are other etiquette tips you can observe to maximize your enjoyment. For example, dressing up properly for a higher-end establishment is encouraged and even necessary, depending on the restaurant's dress code. Aside from looking good, dressing well alongside other diners contributes to the restaurant's luxurious atmosphere. Also, taste your steak before using steak sauce since the meat comes out of the kitchen fully seasoned. Adding sauce before trying the meat signals you do not trust the kitchen staff's skills. 

Another suggested rule is to avoid picking the bone up and chewing on it. During the process of cutting a bone-in steak, such as a ribeye, there will be some bits that cannot be dislodged by cutting. While they are no doubt delicious, resist the temptation to pick up the bone and use your teeth like a Neanderthal. Instead, ask your server to pack up the bone to take it home and enjoy it in the comfort of your own home, where there is no need to behave properly.