The Surprising Thing You Should Avoid Ordering at a Steakhouse

Be careful how you order your steak. "Medium-rare" doesn't mean the same thing it used to.

We’ve all heard how to order steak: medium-rare, which translates to an internal temperature of 135°F. Most chefs recommend this temperature, as it brings out the flavor while ensuring that the cut stays tender, and also allows a little more time for a nice char on the outside. (Looking for a gift for that particular griller in your life? These gifts for the griller are sure to light up their board.)

But if you order your steak medium-rare these days, you might get it quite a bit more “rare” than you bargained for. In fact, some restaurant-goers are reporting receiving their “medium-rare” steaks to find that the steaks are almost completely raw!

Why Your Medium-Rare Steak Is Being Served Raw

The reason for this mishaps is not due to a personal affront from the chef or your server. It primarily comes down to one thing: cost.

The meat of it is, costs are rising all across the board. A quality pound of rib eye that was $6 two years ago now sells for $8. Rents are climbing. Labor costs are increasing. And competition between restaurants is fierce, resulting in even more expense as restaurants try to out-do each other with decor and advertising.

Editor’s tip: Is your steak dinner more pricy than your wallet can spare?  Learn how to make the best-ever steak in a cast-iron skillet at home.

How Cost Impacts Cooking

If a customer finds that their steak is underdone and they send it back, it’s easy to put that steak on the grill for a few more minutes and have it out to the table with no lost cost. However, if the table finds that their steak is overdone, that steak has to be thrown out, and the restaurant loses the money on the product. Pressured by tight profit margins, chefs tend to err on the side of caution, which can result in under-cooked steaks.

Get the Steak You Ordered

To keep a raw steak from hitting your table, be communicative with your server about what you’re looking for. Order your steak “medium-rare-plus,” not quite medium but more cooked than medium-rare. This ensures you’re getting the juicy, ready-to-eat steak you’ve been waiting for. Bon appétit!

Grilling at home? Check out our 10 best grilled steak recipes.

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Maggie Ward
Maggie’s background in the arts gave her a penchant for collaborative communication and the pursuit of conveying ideas in a clear, striking way. Outside of writing for Taste of Home, Maggie loves playing the piano and writing music, as well as performing with various bands and theatre productions around the city of Chicago.