person cutting a steak on a cutting board
Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
March 26, 2024 ·  4 min read

8 Etiquette Mistakes To Avoid Making at a Steakhouse

Steakhouse dinners are one of the most popular, if not expensive, places to have a meal in celebration of a milestone like a birthday, promotion at work, or rehearsal dinner. As such, it’s not surprising to learn that the etiquette there may differ from that of an average or fast-food restaurant. Here are 8 examples of etiquette rules that most people fail to follow.

1. Season Before Tasting
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One of the worst and most disrespectful things one can do in an establishment like a steakhouse is to ask for salt, steak sauce, or any other type of added flavor. Especially before at least trying the dish first. In most upscale steakhouses the chef has personally selected the menu, using a flavor profile he or she believes to be the most aligned with their vision of culinary art. Try instead asking your server if there are any house made sauces that were created to be paired with the dish.

Read More: 25 Rules Of Etiquette To Know

2. The Use of Space

Wood cutting board with napkin on marble table, top view
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Steakhouse rules are much more rigid than at other restaurants. In part because people are paying a large sum of money for a unique, enjoyable, and exquisite dining experience. Another frowned-upon behavior in a steakhouse is to place napkins elbows, and other body parts on the table. Doing something like this is both unhygienic and can impede on the personal space of those dining with you. Additionally, this applies to touching up hair or makeup. These should be reserved for the restroom.

3. Ordering Steakhouse Steaks

Meat cooking levels. Rare, Medium Rare, Medium, Medium good, Well done. The degree of roasting of steaks. Meat cooking temperature
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Although there has been a lot of debate about the proper way to order a steak, everyone is entitled to their opinion. However, steakhouse etiquette calls for a medium rare steak, or about that temperature. While it isn’t necessarily rude to order steak at a higher temperature, a well-done steak doesn’t offer as much flavor to the diner, taking away from the dining experience.

4. Don’t Cut the Meat

Juicy Beef rump steak from marble beef medium rare with potatoes and sauce on stone plate, close-up. Selective focus.
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Most people know that meat has to rest once it’s done cooking before it can be cut and served. One major reason for this is because it allows the juices, and flavor, to seep in and ensure a moist and flavorful piece of meat. However, the same concept applies to cutting a steak bite by bite. When the whole steak is completely cut into pieces prior to consumption, the steak will become dry and chewy.

5. Don’t clean a Steakhouse Plate

eating food almost empty dish
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Although some people have been taught that it’s rude, seemingly ungrateful, to not eat everything on their plate, steakhouse rules call for the opposite. While dining at a steakhouse, it’s actually a good idea to leave at least one bite, if not a couple, on your plate. It’s seen as a sign that the meal was enjoyed and left the diner satisfied rather than still hungry at the end of the meal.

Read More: 11 Things I’m Teaching My Kids By Age 10

6. Spitting Out Chewy Pieces

Beef bones isolated on white background
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For most, it’s customary to discreetly put a piece of gristle or chewy meat, into their napkin. It’s actually okay so to do, so long as the diner remembers to remove the meat from their napkin before leaving the table. This ensures that the waitstaff don’t accidentally hurl a bite of half chewed food across the room while clearing the table. Or worse, unexpectedly sticking their hand in someone’s half eaten food and saliva. Alternatively, one can discreetly remove the chewy piece using their hands, then place at the upper left corner of the plate.

7. Don’t Chew Steakhouse Bones

Beef T-Bone steak on a black table. Top view. Free space for text.
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In all sincerity, this might actually be a rule of etiquette no matter what kind of restaurant it is, steakhouse or otherwise. Because it’s distasteful and unpleasant, chewing on meat bones should be reserved for in the privacy of your own home if done at all.

8. Follow Steakhouse Dress Code

Boutique window with shoes, bags and mannequin
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In many cases, an upscale steakhouse will have dress code requirements that call for at least a button-up shirt, no jeans, and close-toed shoes. However, some might even go so far as to require diners to wear a jacket or gown. On the other hand, dressing up can be fun sometimes so it doesn’t hurt to go the extra mile for a special night out.

The Bottom Line

Grilled sliced Beef Steak with tomatoes and rosemary on a plate Isolated on white background top view
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Most people, except vegans/vegetarians, or those who can’t eat red meat, love to have a good steak dinner and there is probably no better place to do so, than a steakhouse. However, they tend to be upscale so it’s important to follow etiquette and be respectful of others and their dining experience.

H/t: Taste of Home

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