Fine dining is like any other activity that requires poise and sophistication, you need to know the basic terminology or you’ll appear uneducated. The last thing you want is to look like an uncouth plebian who has the mannerisms of a stable hand if you attend dinner at an upscale steakhouse–or any fine dining establishment for that matter.
A steak is a delicacy that will always satisfy someone who has an exquisite palate. However, before you break out a bottle of A-1, it’s best that you learn some fundamental vocabulary for ordering the perfect dish at a steak house.
Various meat comes in classes called ‘grades’ that are set by the USDA. Knowing the difference between the three will allow you to make an informed decision regarding what goes on your plate.
- USDA Prime This is beef taken from young cattle. Served at most restaurants, these cuts are excellent for broiling, grilling, and roasting.
- USDA Choice While this cut of beef is still of reasonably high quality, it’s second fiddle to a prime cut. These are usually served with a small amount of liquid to make them more tender.
- USDA Select Lacking the juiciness and flavor of the other two grades, select cuts are known for their natural tenderness.
Popular Cuts of Steak
You might have seen many of these names listed when you go out to eat or if you frequent that butcher section at your local grocery store. To get a better understanding of what each one is, we offer this brief rundown.
- Ribeye When the term ‘prime rib’ is mentioned, you now know where it comes from. A ribeye steak is one of the tastiest and most delectable. Cut from the top part of the center of a rib, they’re tender and remain that way even after cooking.
- T Bone/Porterhouse Cut from the short line, a T bone gets its name from the ‘t’ shaped bone that runs down the center. Porterhouse steaks are cut from the same area, albeit the rear of the loin.
- Filet Mignon Usually expensive (and worth it) this buttery and tender cut of beef can be cut with minimal effort if cooked right, and is made from the tenderloin.
- Sirloin Less expensive than some of the other cuts mentioned in this article, the sirloin is quite popular and is the most common cut that is served at dining establishments. Lower in fat than the average steak, it also has a rich amount of protein.
- New York Strip Boneless and containing a decent amount of lean and fatty meat, the New York strip steak isn’t as tender as some of its high-class cousins, but still delicious.
- Flat Iron The flat iron steak has gained a large amount of popularity in recent years. Succulent and tender but less expensive than a fillet mignon, it’s often found in the grocery store butcher section.
Open the Vault
Now that you’ve passed our crash course in steak etiquette, the time has come to try out your new sophisticated language and know-how. The Vault Downtown is the crème de la crème of fine dining in Bluefield. For a menu, our incredible cocktails, and reservations, visit us online. We are located at 401 Federal Street in Bluefield, WV. We may also be reached at (304) 308-6601.