Steaking Out New Ground
Served as whole cuts, steaks dazzle diners but they also thrill with creative preparations
Steak reigns supreme at Rare Steakhouse’s three locations and its menu doesn’t go deep into the land of fussed-up preparations. “People come here expecting to order steak,” says Michael Sternberg, partner in Rare’s locations in Madison and Milwaukee, Wis. as well as in Washington D.C.
When there’s beef on Rare’s menu that isn’t steak, it serves a dual purpose. First, of course, is to ensure a something-for-everyone approach. Equally essential, says Sternberg, is that a little creativity paves the way to smart use of product. Steaks are cut in-house and that inevitably means that a certain amount of trim can be expected. Sternberg says Rare chefs are adept at using it in creative ways.
Its appetizer menu is anchored by classic steak tartare with truffle oil, while the main menu features tagliatelle pasta with braised prime beef, poblanos, pickled onion, mushrooms, ricotta and pine nuts. “The only cost, basically, is the pasta,” notes Sternberg. “Everything else in the dish is secondary use.” The lunch menu also deliciously exploits these kitchen riches with such items as a knife-and-fork braised beef sandwich and the option of adding sliced steak to any of its four salads.
Not using the trims would be brutal, says Sternberg. “Food cost control relies on these strategies.”
Need inspiration for ways to gussy up steak? Look no further.
Tom’s Steakhouse, Melrose Park, Ill.: Tenderloin beef brochette with tomatoes, onions and peppers
Pelago, Chicago: Carpaccio with cremini mushrooms and Parmigiano Reggiano
Tony’s of Lexington, Lexington, Ky.: Rig-a-Tony made with rigatoni pasta, house-ground prime beef, San Marzano tomatoes and Pecorino Romano; beef tartare with egg yolk, capers and crostini
Webster’s Prime, Kalamazoo, Mich.: Blackened butcher-cut beef tips with béarnaise sauce and flatbread
Capital Grille: Sliced filet mignon with cipollini onions, wild mushrooms and fig essence
Wildfire, multiple locations: The signature steakhouse salad with sliced grilled tenderloin, little gem lettuce, grape tomatoes, blue cheese, roasted red onion and blue cheese vinaigrette
Longhorn Steakhouse, multiple locations: 7-Pepper sirloin salad: grilled sliced sirloin with 7-pepper seasoning over fresh field greens with tomatoes, crouton, red onions and blue cheese
Hamilton Walker’s, Champaign, Ill.: Prime rib pasta with rigatoni, savory herb cream sauce and Parmesan
Top Ten Ways to Turn Steak Trims into Profit
- Add sliced steak to any salad
- Put an up-market spin on tacos with steak slices spicing things up
- Create signature sandwiches with sliced or braised steak
- Augment the bar or lunch menu with steak sliders
- Make flatbreads substantive with cubes of steak
- Tartare and carpaccio are naturals
- Braises turn beef into meltingly delicious pasta sauces
- Boeuf bourguignon has never been better than when prepared with tenderloin
- Match thinly sliced steak with veggies for stir-frys
- Grind trims for burgers