For those who enjoy meat, a steakhouse dinner creates a feeling of contentment and well being of unique character … at a price! It’s no trick to spend $100 per diner at a top flight steakhouse makes that such an occasional pleasure for most of us. Fortunately, if you can cook, or even just follow directions, and if you’re willing to take risk an occasional, less-than-perfect outcome (as you’ll see later in this article), you can create a comparable experience at home. You’ll have the satisfaction of having done it yourself, and of enjoying a meal that “money can’t buy”. And as long as your dining companion(s?) are okay with it, you can wear your sweats and be comfortable as you savor the meal!
Now, one of the several challenges to serving a steakhouse dinner at home is that you won’t have a kitchen staff and you won’t have a wait staff. Rather, you’ll be both. So if you want to socialize with your dining companion(s?), there will be some staging involved. Typically, a steakhouse dinner will begin with an appetizer, move on the steak/entrée, and conclude with a dessert. In presenting this dinner, I’m leaving the appetizer and dessert to you, but recommend that you focus on courses that can be staged in the ‘fridge and simply served at the appropriate time. For example, you could pre-stage a shrimp salad appetizer and cheesecake dessert in the ‘fridge … both covered in plastic wrap, please! … ready to appear at the appropriate moment.
This “Flatiron edition” steakhouse dinner will run less than $20 per diner, with wine. Here’s the menu:
Appetizer of your choice
Flatiron steak with an onion, mushroom & pepper relish
Crispy Tater Pops
Field greens dressed with a Dijon caper vinaigrette
Dessert of your choice
Total prep time will be an hour and 15 minutes of so. Only the last 30 minutes will be active cooking time. Here are the ingredients (to serve two):
A Flatiron steak, just over a pound
plus 2 Tsps Kosher salt and 2 Tbsp worcestershire
Two handfuls of greens
For the dressing, a Tsp of Dijon, a Tsp of capers (chopped), a Tbsp chopped parsley, big pinch ground black pepper and big pinch (or two) of sea salt. 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar and 3 Tbsp EVOO extra virgin olive oil.
Some onions, mushrooms, and red bell peppers
And some Tater Pops
(Bake them on a brown paper bag for extra good results. That’s a nice serving for two, BTW)
And a nice wine! There are so many really good California red blends now, it’s a Golden Age for table wines….
So we dissolve the Kosher salt in the Worcestershire, and put the steak on a plate, on the counter, to marinade for one hour before jumping on the grill.
That steak is actually a good inch thick. I flip and baste with marinade every 10 minutes or so. I find that steaks cook better on the grill if it’s near room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 450, and start your grill and get it as hot as you can, or 550-600. If you’ve read these pages, you know that I swear by Grill Grates, and you’re about to see why. Here’s where timing comes in. If you’re going to serve an appetizer, and be the kitchen staff, and the wait staff, you’ll need a campaign plan. The grill will need your attention, so you can join your guests at the appetizer either a) before grilling the steak, or b) the second the steak comes off the grill. Option B is probably a better choice. So here’s one possible timing sequence:
30 minutes before appetizers, add the onions, mushrooms, and peppers to a skillet on medium heat, with a turn of oil, salt and pepper, and some herbs as you desire. Continue to shake/stir throughout.
25 minutes before appetizers, put the Taters in the oven.
10 minutes before appetizers, shake the Taters, pop the Flatiron onto the grill
(see note at the very bottom of this article)
- 7 minutes before appetizers, turn the Flatirons about 60 degrees
- 4 minutes before appetizers, flip the Flatiron:
Give the steak a push test to verify doneness, then remove it to a warm plate to rest while you start your appetizer. Turn off the oven and crack the door. Give the onions. mushrooms, and peppers a final shake.
When your appetizer is finished, slice the steak (add any juices to the onion relish). Whisk the vinaigrette and dress the greens. Remove the Taters and plate your meal
Now, you can probably do a more artistic job of plating, the steak and relish probably should have gone in the middle. I wasn’t completely happy with this steak. It’s the first Flatiron I’ve gotten from Safeway that had major gristle running through the meat. And the thick end came out a little rare, although the thin end was nicely medium-rare:
Costs were: steak and marinade ingredients $9, wine $7, Taters $2, Greens $2, dressing ingredients $1, onion mushroom pepper relish ingredients $4, propane and hickory chips $1. So $26 for the entrée and wine for two. Add an appetizer and dessert and you can come in under $20 per diner for a three course steakhouse dinner with wine!
“note at the very bottom of this article”: If you serve the steak intact (not sliced), one side will be “up” and the other side will be on the plate. In this case, it pays to pick with side you want to “present”. As a general rule, cooking on my Weber with GrillGrates, I divide the cooking time into thirds. The first third, presentation side down. Then I give the steak a “twist” and another third of the cooking time. Then I flip the steak over to cook the “plate” side for the final third of cooking time.
G’day all, and may God continue to bless America!