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#1
Old 12-13-2009, 01:14 PM
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Do very nice steakhouses actually have temps like "med. rare plus"?

Hi, there. I've worked in Steakhouses either as cook or waiter for a few years now, but never in any sort of super high end restaurant. The most expensive place sells a N.Y. Strips for about $26 or so. A common theme between these restaurants has always a collective eye-rolling about customers who insist on exactly how their steak should be, whether they confidently declare "medium rare plus" or "medium well, on the medium side." Waiters assure them that "not a problem", then ring it up for medium rare, medium, etc, just like everyone else. Computers where we turn in the order don't have a button for "medium rare plus." Telling the grill cook about how they want it "pink, not bloody, with some char on the outside, and a teensy bit red" is generally considered a waste of his or her time.

So, in nicer restaurants, do they actually pay attention to things like this? The way these people order, it would be a difference of maybe two or three degrees, and you simply aren't going to get that kind of accuracy from most cooks without puncturing the meat with a temperature probe.

Last edited by Rex Goliath; 12-13-2009 at 01:15 PM.
#2
Old 12-13-2009, 01:49 PM
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I've been to several places where steaks are the centerpiece of the meal (Daniel's in Seattle, Ruth's Chris in San Antonio, and another place called Jax in Sammammish) and I have never heard of these options.
#3
Old 12-13-2009, 02:02 PM
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You mean all these years I've been ordering "medium rare, on the rare side, please," the waitstaff has been ignoring me? Hmm, I suppose they're right, since I believed I was getting what I'd ordered (and wasn't apparently), and it seems I don't have taste enough to know the difference.
#4
Old 12-13-2009, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Stratocaster View Post
You mean all these years I've been ordering "medium rare, on the rare side, please," the waitstaff has been ignoring me? Hmm, I suppose they're right, since I believed I was getting what I'd ordered (and wasn't apparently), and it seems I don't have taste enough to know the difference.
Yeah. Don't feel bad, I've gotten hundreds of requests like this, and 95% of customers think their steak is perfect. Most steakhouses cook just slightly under the requested temperature, because it's cheaper to cook up a steak than to cook a new one, and most people (again) are perfectly happy with what they get.

In my experience, the only people to consistently send back steaks cooked close to the requested temp are the "well done but not burnt" () folks, the OH MY GOD THAT STEAK HAS COLOR/BLOOD YOU'RE TRYING TO KILL ME weirdos, and the "I want it to moo" men who see the temperature of their steak as some sort of social status, simply because the cook and I like to call their bluff and send out a very, very rare steak.
#5
Old 12-13-2009, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Rex Goliath View Post
Yeah. Don't feel bad, I've gotten hundreds of requests like this, and 95% of customers think their steak is perfect. Most steakhouses cook just slightly under the requested temperature, because it's cheaper to cook up a steak than to cook a new one, and most people (again) are perfectly happy with what they get.

In my experience, the only people to consistently send back steaks cooked close to the requested temp are the "well done but not burnt" () folks, the OH MY GOD THAT STEAK HAS COLOR/BLOOD YOU'RE TRYING TO KILL ME weirdos, and the "I want it to moo" men who see the temperature of their steak as some sort of social status, simply because the cook and I like to call their bluff and send out a very, very rare steak.
There is a real steak ordering term below 'rare' called 'blue' which, as I understand it, is just a raw steak with some searing grill marks on it. Does anyone ever order it that way and is it allowed?

Last edited by Shagnasty; 12-13-2009 at 03:57 PM.
#6
Old 12-13-2009, 04:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
There is a real steak ordering term below 'rare' called 'blue' which, as I understand it, is just a raw steak with some searing grill marks on it. Does anyone ever order it that way and is it allowed?
I cooked in an nice restaurant, now wait at a large national chain. At the nice restaurant I cooked in for two years, I got maybe a dozen requests for 'blue'. We didn't really mind, and always had fun firing up the cast-iron to blistering levels of heat for a good Pittsburgh. It's a nice change of pace, and we always like to show off our skills to someone who knows how to eat well (without being a douche about it).

I've worked at the chain for about a year now, and never had anyone order it blue. It might be against the corporate rules, but I bet you that I could get it to you that way, especially if it's a slow night and the good cook is working. But the clientelle that orders a steak like this is generally either going to cook it at home or go somewhere nicer.
#7
Old 12-13-2009, 04:20 PM
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Just popping in to say that steak temperatures really do represent an internal temperature of the meat, and not a color, as many people assume. The temperature difference between each grade is about 10˚F, and requests like "medium rare plus" (aka "medium rare to medium") are fulfilled to the best of the cooks ability in fine dining restaurants. A skilled cook will stick a thermometer into every steak he/she cooks, where as a "hack" will just poke it with their finger and guess. A highly skilled cook will be capable of hitting those odd ball temperature requests to an accuracy of +/- 2˚ F.

"Black and Blue" refers to the act of searing the outside of the meat while not cooking it to any specific temperature. I see this request sometimes, and I have never had one sent back. Of course, the kitchen rarely hears about satisfied customers, so I don't know If they liked their steak or the hated it and didn't bother to say anything.
#8
Old 12-13-2009, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by statsman1982 View Post
I've been to several places where steaks are the centerpiece of the meal (Daniel's in Seattle, Ruth's Chris in San Antonio, and another place called Jax in Sammammish) and I have never heard of these options.
I always order my steak blue and accept whatever I'm delivered which generally is all over the map. My best result was a one time experience when visiting relatives in Dallas, Texas, (Plano) and taken to Ruth's Chris. Perfectly seared and tenderly warm. Not like its hard to do, because I cook my steaks that way for my self all the time, but why cooks have a problem with that style escapes me.
#9
Old 12-13-2009, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Rex Goliath View Post
In my experience, the only people to consistently send back steaks cooked close to the requested temp are the "well done but not burnt" () folks, the OH MY GOD THAT STEAK HAS COLOR/BLOOD YOU'RE TRYING TO KILL ME weirdos, and the "I want it to moo" men who see the temperature of their steak as some sort of social status, simply because the cook and I like to call their bluff and send out a very, very rare steak.
Why would you not expect food to be sent back when you've prepared it in a way specifically just to fuck with them?

I like my steak rare. Like, really rare. I like for the french fries to soak up the blood pool on my plate and the inside to be cool. The thing is, people (servers, not cooks) almost always want to make sure I really, really want it rare so I end up saying "YES. I want it to fucking bite back when I cut into it." Do I want a raw steak? No. But I would not like for it to be medium rare or medium because it's assumed that I didn't really want rare. So it's not really the cook's fault that I've ordered it that way, but I've gotten exasperated and think like the kitchen does that I'd rather get it a little rarer than I want than get it overdone. Worst case scenario I eat the veggies, get a to go box and make pepper steak at home.

I went to a Ruth's Chris one time and when I ordered it rare they waiter asked me "just how rare?" and I said I didn't know what that meant so he explained "blue" steak to me. Honestly I loved it and I want mine black and blue all the time but I'm afraid to order it like that at somewhere like Logan's or Outback or whatever chain and since I've become poor I don't spend much time in high end steak houses. I spend more time in Taco Bell, and believe me, you don't want to order a blue taco.

Last edited by ShelliBean; 12-13-2009 at 04:31 PM.
#10
Old 12-13-2009, 11:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amblydoper View Post
A skilled cook will stick a thermometer into every steak he/she cooks, where as a "hack" will just poke it with their finger and guess.
I have never seen this in a restaurant setting, and I have never seen a professional chef state that penetrating the steak with a thermometer is necessary to cook to accurately. FWIW, I've heard both Gordon Ramsay and Thomas Keller say that your hands are the best instrument for telling if meat is done. Not saying it doesn't happen, as your post implies that you work in a kitchen were it is, but it strikes me as unnecessary if you have a good enough cook.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shellibean
But I would not like for it to be medium rare or medium because it's assumed that I didn't really want rare
I really don't know a single waiter who would ring in anything other than what you ask for. They generally don't care, and they just pass it along and trust the cook to get it right. If your steak is overcooked, it's probably a result of the cook screwing up, not the waiter disbelieving you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shellibean
Why would you not expect food to be sent back when you've prepared it in a way specifically just to fuck with them?
There's asking for a steak extra rare because it's what you prefer, and there's the Foghorn Leghorn BOY I SAY BOY I WANTS IT MOOIN jackasses who think they're tougher than any pantywaist cook, and simply can not get it rare enough. People in the first group are happy with what I bring them; people in the second are usually just posturing, and really want a standard rare steak. I put it in how they ask for it, and if they can't handle it they shouldn't make such a show over it. Steak is a competition for them, in a way that some people are with spicy foods.

Last edited by Rex Goliath; 12-13-2009 at 11:57 PM.
#11
Old 12-13-2009, 11:58 PM
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I like my steaks on the rare side, but not raw or 'blue'. I tell the wait-person I want my steak pink, but warm in the center. Works like a charm!

If you're not sure, just tell the wait-staff how you like your steak. Describe it. You have to give them some help, they're not mind readers after all. Or you can ask them how they describe doneness. Is it red in the center? Brown? Charred to hell? It only takes a minute of discourse to determine how things are done at that particular eatery.

It increases the chances that you will get an edible piece of beef.
#12
Old 12-14-2009, 12:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Goliath View Post
There's asking for a steak extra rare because it's what you prefer, and there's the Foghorn Leghorn BOY I SAY BOY I WANTS IT MOOIN jackasses who think they're tougher than any pantywaist cook, and simply can not get it rare enough. People in the first group are happy with what I bring them; people in the second are usually just posturing, and really want a standard rare steak. I put it in how they ask for it, and if they can't handle it they shouldn't make such a show over it. Steak is a competition for them, in a way that some people are with spicy foods.
Eh, you're right about that. It's one of those "what an odd thing to get high and mighty about" moments for me.
#13
Old 12-14-2009, 06:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
There is a real steak ordering term below 'rare' called 'blue' which, as I understand it, is just a raw steak with some searing grill marks on it. Does anyone ever order it that way and is it allowed?
me ... though I have more heard it black and blue...If the hunk of cow is good quality, why not? Searing the outside deals with the external microbe population, and apparently after years of steak tartare I have a cast iron stomach. I do know that people around me will get food poisoning and I dont. I remember one SCA feast that had a spanish theme to it where almost everybody I knew that attended came down with 'the fluxes' and I was fine [and running around taking care of them]

I am, however not too foolhardy, I make my own chopped meat for steak tartare instead of eating commercial ground meat...I am probably more at risk for worms that food poisoning.
#14
Old 12-14-2009, 06:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Rex Goliath View Post
I cooked in an nice restaurant, now wait at a large national chain. At the nice restaurant I cooked in for two years, I got maybe a dozen requests for 'blue'. We didn't really mind, and always had fun firing up the cast-iron to blistering levels of heat for a good Pittsburgh. It's a nice change of pace, and we always like to show off our skills to someone who knows how to eat well (without being a douche about it).

I've worked at the chain for about a year now, and never had anyone order it blue. It might be against the corporate rules, but I bet you that I could get it to you that way, especially if it's a slow night and the good cook is working. But the clientelle that orders a steak like this is generally either going to cook it at home or go somewhere nicer.
If i were local to you, I would certainly be willing to give it a shot, I love a decent steak served blue, though I am perfectly happy with standard rare. I have even eaten a medium but anything more than that it seems to lose taste and get cardboardy. [I will agree that in some situations, buffet lines and some banquet situations you are stuck with what they have and all the whinging in the world will do nothing except be mean to the servers]
#15
Old 12-14-2009, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
There is a real steak ordering term below 'rare' called 'blue' which, as I understand it, is just a raw steak with some searing grill marks on it. Does anyone ever order it that way and is it allowed?
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Flying Dutchman View Post
I always order my steak blue and accept whatever I'm delivered which generally is all over the map. My best result was a one time experience when visiting relatives in Dallas, Texas, (Plano) and taken to Ruth's Chris. Perfectly seared and tenderly warm. Not like its hard to do, because I cook my steaks that way for my self all the time, but why cooks have a problem with that style escapes me.
One problem is the state/county health department. Food handling rules in Washington specifically state that rare beef may be cooked to 130 F if the meat is served immediately. Anything else must be at least 140 F. In other words, it's against the law for me to cook a steak to anything less than 130 F. There is no exception in the rules that says, "Unless the customer asks for it that way."
#16
Old 12-14-2009, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by aruvqan View Post
black and blue...If the hunk of cow is good quality, why not?
As a total side note, black and/or blue is the best way to cook kangaroo. The meat is very lean so it doesn't do well if you try to cook it to higher temperatures.

The U.S. needs more kangaroo farms!
#17
Old 12-14-2009, 03:36 PM
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Back when I ate meat, the place we went to listed their degrees on the menu and to be sure there was no confusion (because maybe my medium is rarer than your medium), it included descriptions.
I remember: blue, rare, medium, well done, and overcook.
#18
Old 12-14-2009, 03:47 PM
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I may have told this story here before.

I like hamburgers rare. But I am used to most chains being unable to cook them that way. So I got in the habit of ordering it "as rare as you can make it" usually getting medium and occasionally even getting it a bit medium-rareish.

One time at 3 in the morning after some serious drinking me and my friends ended up at Village Inn. and I ordered my Hamburger"as rare as you can make it" without actually thinking about. Apparently the chef didn't give a crap about corporate rules, and actually served it as rare as you can without it being totally raw. Maybe 7 seconds on each side on the grill, it hadn't browned at all.

For those who were wondering, Village inn does not use top quality tender beef in their hamburger mix. It is not a fine Tartare, it is pretty nasty and should in all circumstances be cooked before eating, particularly on a well lubricated stomach. But since the chef made it exactly how I had ordered it, I didn't feel right sending it back, so I ate it. Big Mistake, The grimy raw meat-like gunk didn't even slow down for a tour of the digestive system before it exited back out.

Last edited by wolfman; 12-14-2009 at 03:49 PM.
#19
Old 12-14-2009, 04:06 PM
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wolfman, I had that experience at a Chili's. Of course I wanted to stress rare, because I assumed that they wouldn't do less than medium. I got pretty close to a raw hamburger back. What can you do? I ate it. It was fine, but rarer than I cared for.

It's tough to order in those places. You want to encourage them to break the rules, but you also don't want to get an uncooked burger. If you have a chef willing to do it, as rare as you can get it, means raw. If you have a chef that follows the rules, as rare as you can get it means medium but medium rare if your lucky.
#20
Old 12-14-2009, 04:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neuroman View Post
As a total side note, black and/or blue is the best way to cook kangaroo. The meat is very lean so it doesn't do well if you try to cook it to higher temperatures.

The U.S. needs more kangaroo farms!
I have never seen roo in the US markets I have gone to

I would love a chance to try it, I keep hearing good things about it.
#21
Old 12-15-2009, 09:12 AM
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I'm currently a waiter. When customers get picky with me about how they want their meat/eggs, it is up to me to decide how our kitchen usually sends out those requests. I happen to have the service of one of the finest breakfast cooks ever. If I send in an egg for over easy, by god, it is over easy. I have absolute confidence in him sending out exactly what I ordered.

People typically don't get picky because they want to, they do it because kitchens and cooks are different. Some aren't as particular. I've always ordered Medium Rare, more rare than medium, because I have, of course, gotten steaks cooked from medium rare to well done.

Hats off to people in every job who have pride in what they do.
#22
Old 12-15-2009, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Rex Goliath View Post
There's asking for a steak extra rare because it's what you prefer, and there's the Foghorn Leghorn BOY I SAY BOY I WANTS IT MOOIN jackasses...
Just wanted to say that this is the most descriptive posts I've seen in ages, and also one of the funniest.

I'm a steak ignoramus. I used to get them medium well because that's what Dad did. I moved up to medium in the last couple of years. Doubt I'll try rare - I don't trust beef.
#23
Old 12-15-2009, 10:10 AM
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Most of us have no clue that there are so many options on a simple steak. And I, for one, am a little intimidated when ordering in a fancy restaurant. I don't want something I can't eat and I don't want fight with the waiter so I tend to go with the basics - rare or medium - as I suspect most folks do.

I once went out for steaks with my in-laws and family. Father-in-law likes his steak to be cooked until usable as shoe-leather, a state he calls "rare" in spite of being corrected many times. So my son, about 9 at the time, has to decide how he wants his steak so he goes with how Grandpa likes his: "rare." Both of them had to send it back for additional cooking. I swear, it would have been funny except that apparently Grandpa goes though the same process every time he has a steak. He just can't figure out why every single restaurant can't cook a steak the way he wants.
#24
Old 12-15-2009, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by aruvqan View Post
I have never seen roo in the US markets I have gone to

I would love a chance to try it, I keep hearing good things about it.
Kangaroo meat is available in a few U.S. supermarkets, at least ones with an exotic meat section but it certainly isn't common. If you really want to try it, you can order it online from websites that specialize in exotic meats. Here is one example:

http://exoticmeatsales.com/exoti...aroo-meat.html
#25
Old 12-15-2009, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by ShelliBean View Post
Why would you not expect food to be sent back when you've prepared it in a way specifically just to fuck with them?

I like my steak rare. Like, really rare. I like for the french fries to soak up the blood pool on my plate and the inside to be cool. The thing is, people (servers, not cooks) almost always want to make sure I really, really want it rare so I end up saying "YES. I want it to fucking bite back when I cut into it." Do I want a raw steak? No. But I would not like for it to be medium rare or medium because it's assumed that I didn't really want rare. So it's not really the cook's fault that I've ordered it that way, but I've gotten exasperated and think like the kitchen does that I'd rather get it a little rarer than I want than get it overdone. Worst case scenario I eat the veggies, get a to go box and make pepper steak at home.

I went to a Ruth's Chris one time and when I ordered it rare they waiter asked me "just how rare?" and I said I didn't know what that meant so he explained "blue" steak to me. Honestly I loved it and I want mine black and blue all the time but I'm afraid to order it like that at somewhere like Logan's or Outback or whatever chain and since I've become poor I don't spend much time in high end steak houses. I spend more time in Taco Bell, and believe me, you don't want to order a blue taco.

It isn't blood. (Bolding in quote mine)

Also, addressing some other concerns about the safety of rare steaks: It doesn't have the same problems as rare ground meat. Ground meat is handled and handled and handled, and during this processing it can become contaminated. Steak? Not so much.

Last edited by Philster; 12-15-2009 at 10:24 AM.
#26
Old 12-15-2009, 10:59 AM
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Okay. So what is it?
#27
Old 12-15-2009, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Philster View Post
It isn't blood.
As my executive chef corrected me not long ago (though talking about prime rib), "It's not blood, it's juice."

Quote:
Also, addressing some other concerns about the safety of rare steaks: It doesn't have the same problems as rare ground meat. Ground meat is handled and handled and handled, and during this processing it can become contaminated. Steak? Not so much.
To be more specific, any contamination is naturally only going to be on the outside of a piece of meat, so when you cook a steak you kill all those germs on the outside. The process of making ground beef (or sausage) takes the contaminated outside and mixes it all up through the whole bulk of the meat, so that it's on the inside as well, and that's why ground meat needs to be cooked well done.
#28
Old 12-15-2009, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by shiftless View Post
Most of us have no clue that there are so many options on a simple steak. And I, for one, am a little intimidated when ordering in a fancy restaurant. I don't want something I can't eat and I don't want fight with the waiter so I tend to go with the basics - rare or medium - as I suspect most folks do.
You shouldn't be. Whenever my GF and I go out for steak in NYC, the waiters are always helpfull answering any questions or making recommendations about cut, temperature, wine selection or anything else you might ask.
#29
Old 12-15-2009, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by ShelliBean View Post
Okay. So what is it?
I actually learned that it is not blood right here on this board. It took me a long time to convince my husband, who I think actually got a kick out of thinking he was eating bloody meat.

ETA: A bit of googling is telling me there is at least a tiny bit of blood, though. Don't know how reputable the cites are, so I'm not even gonna bother linking.

Last edited by Nzinga, Seated; 12-15-2009 at 11:26 AM.
#30
Old 12-15-2009, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by truthbot View Post
I like my steaks on the rare side, but not raw or 'blue'. I tell the wait-person I want my steak pink, but warm in the center. Works like a charm!
That's how most restaurants define Medium.

Med Rare is red and warm
Rare is red and cool
Blue is red and cold
#31
Old 12-15-2009, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by ShelliBean View Post
Okay. So what is it?
Primarily water, with a little bit myoglobin.
#32
Old 12-15-2009, 12:07 PM
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Then I'll rephrase:

I like it when I can soak my fries in a solution that is primarily water with a little bit of myoglobin. It tastes good and it is a perk of having a steak that is not done through.
#33
Old 12-15-2009, 12:09 PM
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Here is a pretty good set of pictures. Do we all basically agree on those
http://hilltopsteaks.com/images/degrees.jpg

Although actually I usually cook medium rare better than that. That's a lot of brown for medium rare, you usually aim for a sear with half pink and half red.

Last edited by wolfman; 12-15-2009 at 12:11 PM.
#34
Old 12-15-2009, 12:19 PM
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I had no idea that rare was rare as what is shown on that chart in wolfman's link. I don't eat steak at all, but when I cook my husband's what he calls 'rare', it is definetly medium rare.

And when I make my daughter's what we call medium rare, it is actually medium.

I'm clueless. And so is the steakhouse we go to.
#35
Old 12-15-2009, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by shiftless View Post
So my son, about 9 at the time, has to decide how he wants his steak so he goes with how Grandpa likes his: "rare." Both of them had to send it back for additional cooking. I swear, it would have been funny except that apparently Grandpa goes though the same process every time he has a steak. He just can't figure out why every single restaurant can't cook a steak the way he wants.
This must be a generational thing. My grandfather and one of my uncles, when they were both alive, also used to ask for their steaks rare when they really meant well done, and no amount of explanation would get them to change their view on it. I thought I was the only one who'd experienced that bit of weirdness.

I'm also one of those shoe leather eaters someone mentioned earlier upthread, or I was. I simply couldn't imagine eating a steak in any way other than well done and had mine cooked that way for years and years. Well, one day, I was at a catered client function and didn't have the option of requesting a specific doneness (if that's a word) and was delivered a medium rare filet mignon. Like a good little soldier, I sliced into the meat, hiding my revulsion at the sight of the pink center, and put it in my mouth...and my world exploded.

I can't adequately describe it, but it was like I'd never really tasted meat before taking that bite. The flavor engulfed me, and the succulence was all but intoxicating. This was a dinner meeting, but after that first bite the voice of the speaker simply faded into the background as all my concentration centered on what was on my plate. I coudn't tell you what the heck he was droning on about, and I didn't care. I just wanted more of that exquisitely cooked filet in my mouth. I was actually staring down at my plate in rapt wonder, like an idiot. I haven't had a well done piece of meat since.

Last edited by Onomatopoeia; 12-15-2009 at 01:11 PM.
#36
Old 12-15-2009, 01:42 PM
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Last two steaks I have had in a restaurant setting, some months ago, I ordered them 'medium'. They both came out 'medium rare', which for my preferences is much too pink and texturally off-putting. I didn't send them back, I endured and ate them... but I would have prefered that extra minute or two on the grill. Sorry, still don't see the appeal of eating undercooked meat... I will always prefer mine medium and higher.
#37
Old 12-15-2009, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by devilsknew View Post
Last two steaks I have had in a restaurant setting, some months ago, I ordered them 'medium'. They both came out 'medium rare', which for my preferences is much too pink and texturally off-putting. I didn't send them back, I endured and ate them... but I would have prefered that extra minute or two on the grill. Sorry, still don't see the appeal of eating undercooked meat... I will always prefer mine medium and higher.
Many of us don't see the appeal of eating overcooked meat.
#38
Old 12-15-2009, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by truthbot View Post
You have to give them some help, they're not mind readers after all. Or you can ask them how they describe doneness. Is it red in the center? Brown? Charred to hell? It only takes a minute of discourse to determine how things are done at that particular eatery.
These words mean specific things, and that's standard across the restaurant industry. Any decent chef knows what they mean. They don't have to be mind readers to know what "medium" means any more than you have to be a mind reader to know what "steak" is. (Wolfman's link is a good reference.)

Describing how you like it isn't a bad idea if you're not sure of the quality of the restaurant, but asking them how they would define doneness is just silly.

BTW, the uberboss is taking us to a very nice steakhouse this evening. I will order medium rare as per usual. I will report back.
#39
Old 12-15-2009, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Green Bean View Post
These words mean specific things, and that's standard across the restaurant industry. Any decent chef knows what they mean. They don't have to be mind readers to know what "medium" means any more than you have to be a mind reader to know what "steak" is. (Wolfman's link is a good reference.)

Describing how you like it isn't a bad idea if you're not sure of the quality of the restaurant, but asking them how they would define doneness is just silly.

BTW, the uberboss is taking us to a very nice steakhouse this evening. I will order medium rare as per usual. I will report back.
In my experience, the customer often misunderstands the terms. They tend to think of medium rare as "the way mom cooked it medium rare".
#40
Old 12-15-2009, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Onomatopoeia View Post
I'm also one of those shoe leather eaters someone mentioned earlier upthread, or I was. I simply couldn't imagine eating a steak in any way other than well done and had mine cooked that way for years and years. Well, one day, I was at a catered client function and didn't have the option of requesting a specific doneness (if that's a word) and was delivered a medium rare filet mignon. Like a good little soldier, I sliced into the meat, hiding my revulsion at the sight of the pink center, and put it in my mouth...and my world exploded.
I think that this is the reason so many steak affianodo's scoff at people that like their steak well done. It isn't so much that they don't think their tastes are worthy. It's that in most of our experiences, people that prefer their steak well done, done actually like steak all that much.

A quality rare steak is pure extacy to me. I can't tell you the number of people that will disagree with me then say that they only like their steak well done.
#41
Old 12-15-2009, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Green Bean View Post
BTW, the uberboss is taking us to a very nice steakhouse this evening. I will order medium rare as per usual. I will report back.
Ask if they actually communicate to the chef special modifications like "on the rare side of medium rare", or simply send in medium rare like most restaurants.
#42
Old 12-15-2009, 03:21 PM
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I like my steak Medium Well. Barely a hint of pink in the middle.
And I definitely love my steak.
I can cook steak to any desired wellness without poking anything into it. Puncturing the steak is an absolute no-no. You can tell how well a steak is cooked by lifting it with tongs by one end - the floppier it is, the rarer it is.

If I order steak in a restaurant and ask for well done and it comes out seared outside but bloody red inside, I will send it back with specific instruction to not reheat the same piece of meat. You cannot achieve the same result by reheating - the outer layer becomes too dry and hard. If the come back out with the same steak I had, I will and have walked out.
#43
Old 12-15-2009, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by pan1 View Post
I like my steak Medium Well. Barely a hint of pink in the middle.
And I definitely love my steak.
I can cook steak to any desired wellness without poking anything into it. Puncturing the steak is an absolute no-no. You can tell how well a steak is cooked by lifting it with tongs by one end - the floppier it is, the rarer it is.

If I order steak in a restaurant and ask for well done and it comes out seared outside but bloody red inside, I will send it back with specific instruction to not reheat the same piece of meat. You cannot achieve the same result by reheating - the outer layer becomes too dry and hard. If the come back out with the same steak I had, I will and have walked out.
You are serious business about your steak.
#44
Old 12-15-2009, 03:48 PM
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My favorite steakhouses won't cook Filet Mignon or Prime Rib past medium rare. I love a restaurant with conviction.

I love watching people get upset, especially during big company dinners. Sometimes the menu is pre-set, so that one of the options is Prime Rib versus chicken or fish.. or maybe filet vs whatever. When one orders the Filet or Prime Rib, the waiter will just say, "Medium rare, as the chef prepares it", instead of, "How would you like that cooked?".

My boss still doesn't get it. He wants his prime rib well done (dammit!). I keep telling him, "Look, they don't offer that particular menu item. They don't offer spam, and they don't offer mac and cheese, and well-done Prime Rib is NOT on the menu!"

How can you demand something that they don't offer?

Last edited by Philster; 12-15-2009 at 03:49 PM.
#45
Old 12-15-2009, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philster View Post
My favorite steakhouses won't cook Filet Mignon or Prime Rib past medium rare. I love a restaurant with conviction.

I love watching people get upset, especially during big company dinners. Sometimes the menu is pre-set, so that one of the options is Prime Rib versus chicken or fish.. or maybe filet vs whatever. When one orders the Filet or Prime Rib, the waiter will just say, "Medium rare, as the chef prepares it", instead of, "How would you like that cooked?".

My boss still doesn't get it. He wants his prime rib well done (dammit!). I keep telling him, "Look, they don't offer that particular menu item. They don't offer spam, and they don't offer mac and cheese, and well-done Prime Rib is NOT on the menu!"

How can you demand something that they don't offer?
That's so stupid it enters douchebag territory (the chef, not you). I can understand with Prime Rib, since it's cut from a larger roast, but there is no reason on this planet why a restaurant can't cook a filet past medium rare. None at all.

Last edited by Labrador Deceiver; 12-15-2009 at 04:00 PM.
#46
Old 12-15-2009, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
Just wanted to say that this is the most descriptive posts I've seen in ages, and also one of the funniest.

I'm a steak ignoramus. I used to get them medium well because that's what Dad did. I moved up to medium in the last couple of years. Doubt I'll try rare - I don't trust beef.
I'm like you, though I've moved down a scale. I grew up on medium well to well done and didn't know any differently for a long time. Then I adventured out to medium and liked that a heck of a lot better. I've tried rare steaks but I honestly don't prefer them.

What I want is a medium rare steak that's just a twinge over medium rare. The problem is ordering it. If I try medium, what usually comes back is something closer to medium well, which is entirely too overdone but edible and I feel like a jackass for returning a steak for being, what? 5 degrees too warm? And if I ask for medium rare I risk it going the other way of being closer to rare.
What I want is a nice, warm, somewhat firm red center. That should be a medium/medium rare hybrid.
So to get back to the OP, yes, if I could, I'd order my perfect steak to be medium/medium rare, but I doubt most restaurants I go to would be able to handle it or care all that much.

Last edited by Enderw24; 12-15-2009 at 04:04 PM.
#47
Old 12-15-2009, 04:23 PM
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I havn't had problems with steak cooked badly in years. Because I never order steak from a restaurant anymore. I always cook it at home, and I'm damn good.

The only steak like thing I ever order is prime rib, and half the time it is overcooked. Not because I can't cook it, but it doesn't work very well for one person. You need at least a half rib to cook the center right, and 80 bucks worth of meat for one really great meal, is just stupid. Sure you get some great roast beef sandwiches, but I really don't need 60 buck worth of roast beef sandwiches.
#48
Old 12-15-2009, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Labrador Deceiver View Post
In my experience, the customer often misunderstands the terms. They tend to think of medium rare as "the way mom cooked it medium rare".
Sure, but it still doesn't make a bit of sense to ask the waiter what he thinks about doneness. It makes sense for him to clarify what the customer means if he thinks it's necessary, and it makes sense for the customer to give a description if he's concerned, but the whole rigamarole suggested by the above poster is silly.

I've eaten a lot of steaks in a lot of restaurants, and I always order medium rare. And the vast majority of the time I get medium rare, or at least something close to it. I was at a good steakhouse recently where my medium rare came out medium well. I sent it back, and got something on the well-done side of medium. I've never been back. The first time could have just been a mistake. But twice? No.
#49
Old 12-15-2009, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Labrador Deceiver View Post
That's so stupid it enters douchebag territory (the chef, not you). I can understand with Prime Rib, since it's cut from a larger roast, but there is no reason on this planet why a restaurant can't cook a filet past medium rare. None at all.
Filet Mignon is a particularly thick cut. Not only would cooking it through be extremely time consuming, it would effectively be charcoal on the outside. I'm sure there are places that do it just fine, but IMO there is a clear reason for this policy. My wife only wants her steak well done. I have successfully cooked a filet mignon for her one time. I usually forget that it is on the grill and make a hockey puck that even she wont eat.

That's fine, because like most people I've met that prefer steak well done, she doesn't like steak.

Last edited by WarmNPrickly; 12-15-2009 at 04:46 PM.
#50
Old 12-15-2009, 04:50 PM
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I grew up with my dad cooking all the meat. He likes his meat dry. (On Thanksgiving we lost power so he ended up cooking the turkey in the grill. Then he thought it wasn't done, despite the temperature being right, because the white meat actually had moisture. True story. Fortunately he doesn't overcook to inedible, unless it's fish. I love the man, but I've learned he isn't as great of a cook as I grew up thinking.)

Anyway, I like my meat juicy. I tend to order either 'medium rare' or 'as rare as you're allowed to make it' (since, as people have said, most restaurants have limits). I want it warm and not raw tasting, after that I have a huge range where I'll eat it and enjoy it. I've never had to send meat back.
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