Fire Grilled Steak
He suggested we go out to eat over the weekend. He mentioned “steakhouse” and I grabbed onto it. I can barely recall the last time we went to our local steakhouse. 2008? 07 maybe? It’s been a while.
Oddly enough, we’d driven past it tons of times on our way back and forth to the grocery store. Sometimes I could smell that beef being grilled and my mouth would water. One time, a year or 2 ago, with a heart full of longing, I heard a little voice whisper in my ear, “The next time you go will be the last time.” I scoffed. I argued. Nonsense! I love going out to eat there! I’m a steak girl and I love that place.
So when my beloved said, “Hey, maybe we could go to the steakhouse, it’s been a while since we’ve eaten there,” I said, “Sure! Let’s go!” before he could change his mind. He’s used to me being a skin-flint and eating at the steakhouse isn’t cheap.
We saddled up the kids and went.
Nothing had changed since the last time we were there – nothing I could tell anyway. The smell of cooking beef wafted from the kitchen. The country music was still playing over the speakers. The little loaf of appetizer bread still arrived on the table by our server. Then Darc opened the menu. I don’t think he cursed but he might have. I was alarmed. “What? What’s wrong?”
“Look at the menu.”
I held it up, opened it, looked at the front and the back. “Looks like it always did.” No, I wasn’t trying to be a smartass. He rolled his eyes.
“Read the descriptions.”
Oh. My. Gosh! No! Please tell me it’s not true! But there it was in black and sepia.
We sound like real food snobs, don’t we? Maybe we are, I don’t know. What I do know is this: I can get USDA Choice at Walmart. And pay a lot less than what the steakhouse was charging. Yeah, I get the overhead part, believe me, capitalist that I am, pro-business that I am, I get the overhead charges. But to pay USDA Prime prices for the lower grade of Choice product, well, that didn’t make me happy and I said to Darc, “Well, we’ll just never eat here again, but I suppose we can only make the best of it while we’re here.”
And that little voice whispered, “See? Last time.”
Perhaps a quarter of my steak was inedible – gristle, fat, that tough white membrane stuff. It was cooked okay and the flavor wasn’t terrible, but it was kind of tough. As soon as I saw Choice on the menu, my expectations went from a 7 to maybe a 3, so I wasn’t really disappointed in that sense. When the manager came by to ask how the meal was I said it was everything I expected it to be, with a smile. When our server asked if everything was okay I said that it was. She was a decent server. And we tipped her well. It was nice to go out to a sit-down place and have someone wait on us.
What was so disappointing was to realize that after waiting so many years for a good steak, I wasn’t going to get anything better than the cheap stuff I can get at Walmart, for triple the money. I walked in expecting better quality food from a restaurant, and didn’t get it.
There’s no such thing as a chicken knife, and Choice just don’t cut it.
A USDA Prime beef crave should be satisfied with USDA Prime beef. I’m just sayin’!
- Steakhouse Confidential – WSJ.com.
- Finding Prime Beef at Your Local Grocery Store – WSJ.com.
- How USDA Beef is Graded | Why Prime Steaks Are So Tender and Flavorful.