Marketwatch compiled a list of “10 things steakhouses won’t tell you,” which you can read here in detail and in slideshow form. Here are the basics, though.
1. All this delicious steak is in short supply. Premium steakhouses are one area of the restaurant industry that’s growing, which means that there might not be enough premium beef to go around, leading to higher prices or actual shortages.
2. You’re going to pay more soon. Those rising beef prices mean that prices will go up at the fanciest steakhouses in order to keep profits going. Even if they keep entrée prices low, they might charge more for other items on the menu, like sides or drinks. They could also shrink the steaks a bit to preserve margins.
3. You might have to do your homework. Not all “Angus” beef is created equal, but you wouldn’t know that to look at many steakhouse menus. Are you eating premium Certified Angus Beef or something else? You might have to ask before ordering.
4. At busy times, it might not matter what grade beef you’re really getting: a busy restaurant means more steaks on the broiler, unpredictable temperatures, and a chance you won’t get the tasty sear that people visit premium steakhouses for.
5. Lots of menu options look good, but might not taste good. Sure, it might help get companions who don’t like beef in the door, but a steakhouse probably won’t do pasta or seafood very well.
6. On a date? You aren’t their priority. Steakhouses cater to corporate expense accounts, since executives out to impress run up higher tabs and generally tip more generously. Mere civilians might not get the same attention if servers have to choose.
7. Mmm, steak and red wine go well together. But you’re going to find fewer affordable choices on a steakhouse wine list than at other establishments. Why? Because they can.
8. Steakhouses aren’t known for their pastry chefs. While outsourcing dessert isn’t necessarily a bad thing, keep this in mind–the slice of cake you get might be from the same supplier as other local restaurants. That isn’t bad, but it isn’t special, either.
9. Steakhouses aren’t for dieters. Well, they can be if you’re on a diet based on large slabs of meat, but generally the sides and appetizers aren’t low-calorie. Some places make a point to flag lower-calorie options, though.
10. More steakhouses doesn’t mean they’re necessarily improving. Big, famous names like Morton’s and Ruth’s Chris have been accused of coasting on their former reputations and serving up crappy experiences.
10 things steakhouses won’t tell you [Marketwatch]