My sister-in-law was in town this week on business, so the Boy and I met her for dinner. She suggested a steakhouse near her hotel, which triggered the mantra of Yes! Steak Dinner! in my head. Steak Dinner is one of my favorite types of meals, probably because I don’t have it all that often. For starters, the Boy doesn’t eat beef, which is not really a deal breaker because there are always other meat and non-meat options at Steak Dinner. However, Steak Dinner also gets expensive and there’s planning involved, so it turns into more of a special occasion meal (though Steak Dinner in and of itself is a special occasion). And there’s the fact that Steak Dinner can be a highly calorific meal, so it’s best to keep it in moderation. A couple of years ago I had Steak Dinner four weekends in a row, and while it was heavenly, at the end of the run my wallet and waistline said, No more! I’m salivating just thinking about it though.
By now you may have figured out that Steak Dinner is a particular kind of meal, much like Fancy Dinner or Nice Dinner, and thus it cannot be classified as such unless it meets certain specifications:
- Steak Dinner takes place at a steakhouse. If, for some unfortunate reason, you’re in an area where a steakhouse isn’t available, the restaurant menu must have multiple steak options. This is important. You’re primarily there to eat an expensive steak, so the restaurant should specialize in it. Service at steakhouses is also top notch, and that element can really make the meal.
- Dinner should include a cocktail and/or wine and/or a digestif. You don’t have to drink, but it helps. Savor the alcohol and you shall savor the meal.
- There shall be sides. I’ve eaten at enough steakhouses now to know that if your dinner includes its own sides (choice of potato, standard vegetable), it’s not going to be among the best steak dinners you’ve eaten. A la carte sides are expensive, yes, but they are meant to be shared, which gives your dinner a more communal, jovial feel. If you have a large group for Steak Dinner, it’s recommended to have a voting protocol for your side selections, because that makes life much easier when it comes time to order.
- Dessert should be a factor. Dessert should always be considered, but it doesn’t have to be ordered if the options don’t meet your personal specifications. For me, Steak Dinner should always end with a slice of cake as big as my head. If the restaurant doesn’t offer that option, I am likely to decline.
For me, the rituals help make Steak Dinner what it is, and beyond the points above, I just flat out fucking love a good steak. I realize that’s kind of sweary, but I will often say that phrase in my head throughout the meal–I don’t mean to; it just happens. Peruse the menu and make my selection? I fucking love steak. Take a bite? I fucking love steak. In fact, the steak can be so delicious that at times I will tune out of portions of the conversation because the steak is so fucking delicious and I love it so fucking much. Even just writing this, I fucking love steak.
So that’s what Steak Dinner is. Let’s dissect this dinner, shall we?
- Steak Dinner takes place at a steakhouse. Check! Abe & Louie’s on Boyleston in Boston. When you go, try to get Heather as your server. She’s delightful. I strayed from my usual choice of a small filet and opted for the Delmonico. It was so good. So fucking good. I know I missed some important family decisions due to the deliciousness of my steak.
- Dinner should include a cocktail and/or wine and/or a digestif. When there’s a cocktail on the menu called a Judy Garland, how can you not order it? The cocktail + it being a school night meant that I did not also indulge in wine with my meal or a glass of amaretto afterwards, though I have been known to do all of that too.
- There shall be sides. With only three of us, it was pretty easy to choose sides. My sister-in-law and I split a massive baked potato (in a very meta way, it came with its own sides), and the three of us shared grilled asparagus and sautéed broccoli. Perfect and delicious. I do like getting at least one side that you normally don’t make at home. While I really like asparagus, I don’t make it at home very often.
- Dessert should be a factor. Abe & Louie’s has a cake that’s close enough to the size of my head. No ice cream necessary. This rich chocolate is all I need.
All told, it was fantastic. Fantastic in only a way that Steak Dinner can be. I can’t fucking wait until the next one.