How you order and eat your steak is more than a matter of preference. It’s also an indicator of taste and personal development. If you wanna argue about that, seek out someone who prefers well-done New York strip with a side of ketchup. On one hand, your meat, your rules. On the other, both the overcooking and the condiments mask the taste of some really fine aged beef, so it’s like buying $300 jeans and spray painting them. Why go to the expense in the first place?
There are all sorts of unspoken rules that pervade the steakhouse experience. Most people stick to medium-rare orders. But, savvy connoisseurs know tougher cuts ― like tri-tip, hangar, flank, skirt steak, and flap steak ― need time for their fibers to loosen up. Those need to be cooked past medium-rare. Knowing things like that, or that filet mignon is best not ordered on its own because it lacks flavor, mark you as an insider. And touching steak sauce is an affront, one that leaves jaded servers making meaningful eye contact with one another to signal yet another meat rube in the dining room.
Everything I know about steak, I learned on television under the tutelage of culinary personalities — watching people get dragged for their violations. I am not in a position to give you the definitive cut and temperature for the cultured carnivore. However, I do know a lot of really fine chefs, so I contacted them and asked about the best steaks they’ve ever ordered. Check out their answers, luxuriate in some beef porn, and hop into the comments to tell me that the best steak in the world is the one that you make. You know you want to.
Hawaii Volcano House (Hawaii National Park, HI)
Chef Erica Abell — Chef, Boneyard Bistro
I stayed in Hawaii a few years back, and almost every night for a week, I dined at the Volcano House and ordered the grilled New York steak, perfectly cooked and paired with a buttery lobster tail and locally grown mushrooms … amazing. It might have just been the island air and the fact that we were sitting, staring at a beautiful star-filled sky with an active volcano glowing in the distance, or it’s just one damn good steak!