The average cost of a meal in the United States varies greatly depending on where you are in the country, the type of restaurant you visit, and what you order. What is consistent, however, is that when you dine at a steakhouse, you are going to pay more for your meal than at any other type of establishment. Not all steakhouses are going to drain your wallet, but there are subtle (and not-so-subtle) signs that a steakhouse is overpriced.
Steak is a more expensive food on its own, and you also walk into a mid- to high-end steakhouse knowing you’re paying for the experience, one filled with crispy tablecloths, beautiful cutlery, expert staff,… a comprehensive wine list, et al.
That said, many potential diners think some steakhouses are extremely expensive. Sure, that cut of Chateaubriand is expensive for the chophouse, but just because a restaurant offers fine food and drink doesn’t mean it has to gouge its discerning patrons. We scoured the web and even posted an original survey, which garnered hundreds of comments, to help identify the telltale signs of an expensive steakhouse.
Watch out for those red flags and if you spot them, maybe consider dining at that other steakhouse down the street instead.
If a steakhouse doesn’t even offer self-parking, consider driving right next to it. Many respondents to an ETNT Facebook survey identified valet parking as a warning sign that the restaurant was going to be unreasonably expensive. (Granted, you can park on the street and drive up, at least saving on that tip.)
It could be a case of “If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.” When a steakhouse menu doesn’t list prices, chances are it’s very expensive. Another notorious telltale sign of excessive pricing, according to a Facebook post, is when a restaurant puts “market price” or MP on the menu instead of actual prices.
Steakhouses provide customers with cutlery – in particular this massive Ramob-sized steak knife – that is heavier than regular utensils because it makes the meal fancier and entices people to pay more. And that’s not guesswork, that’s science. According to a study published in Flavor Diary of Bio Med Central: “The weight and type of cutlery [offered] exerted a significant impact on how artistically the main course was plated, how much diners liked the food and how much they would have been willing to pay for it.”
The darker the dining room, the more expensive the steakhouse, it seems. A Facebook commenter warned of places where “it’s so dark [that] you can’t see the menu,” while a Redditor shared the results of a radio poll that found business men often take their dates to steakhouses precisely because of the difficulty of seeing. other people around the restaurant.
Watch out for steakhouses with tiered cakes on the dessert menu, warns the Reddit community. A poster shared a snap of a chocolate cake with an amazing 12 layers of cake and frosting each and although many commenters admitted it looked amazing (one wrote ‘I would commit crimes for this cake”), it was agreed that the lavish desserts promise a fat check.
According to many Reddit posters, if you see a name like “Gordon Ramsay” attached to a steakhouse, you’re going to pay more than you would at most other places. Sure, Bobby Flay, Wolfgang Puck and José Andrés might be great chefs, but are their names worth the extra dollar signs?
When entrees are unaccompanied, watch out for exorbitant prices, warn people on Facebook. What’s even more worrying is when you even have to pay extra for the sauces, especially when the toppings are designated with a word like “accessories”.
If a steakhouse is only open for dinner, it’s likely to be an expensive dinner, many Facebook commenters warn. Be especially wary of a steakhouse with a parking lot that doesn’t start filling up until later, and with expensive vehicles.
Beware of steakhouses that use the very word “steakhouse” in their name, many ETNT Facebook survey respondents warned. One person joked to beware “when steakhouse is in the name – not Arby’s” while many people said something like, “It says steakhouse.”
Steven John is a freelance writer for Eat this, not that! based just outside New York. Learn more about Steve
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