Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Modernizing Steakhouse Fare

3 meaty dishes exemplify the menu possibilities

Modernizing Steakhouse Fare

3 meaty dishes exemplify the menu possibilities

By Flavor & The Menu
July 10, 2024

By Flavor & The Menu
July 10, 2024

Once upon a time, steakhouses were the destination for fine-dining experiences, complete with high-quality ingredients, the requisite—and recognizable—cuts of steak and an ambiance of white tablecloths and candlelight accents. While these touchstones remain, a growing proportion of consumers are seeking options beyond filet mignon and New York strip. Rethinking steak formats, incorporating global flavor systems and expanding beyond the typical beef can bring fresh intrigue to any menu, whether it’s at a traditional steakhouse or other concept.

The following three restaurants offer fresh plays on the classic steak formula without skimping on the elevated, indulgent flavors that define the category.


Explore Different Formats

Photo Credit: Michelle Min

Shredded oxtail is transformed into a savory-sweet jam and served with grilled sourdough toast points, pickled Fresno chiles and shallots as a decadent starter.

Vincent Castillo is the first to acknowledge that oxtail is an unconventional option on a steakhouse menu, but it’s clear he’d like to see more of it. “Personally, I love oxtail. It’s one of my favorite things to eat,” says Castillo, executive chef of Izzy’s on the Peninsula. The San Carlos, Calif., restaurant was redesigned, rebranded and reopened late in 2023. Its all-new menu features Oxtail Jam, an intriguing starter option that proves well suited for the indulgent lineup of steakhouse fare. “It’s very rich, so a little goes a long way, making for a truly craveable appetizer,” he says.

Castillo starts by seasoning the oxtail with salt and pepper before searing to produce a nice caramelization. It’s sautéed with julienned red onions and thyme then deglazed with red wine, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar before getting a slow braise. The meat is marinated in all of the ingredients overnight prior to shredding. “Once shredded, it is mixed together with the marinade to create the savory, sweet and spreadable oxtail jam,” he says. At service, guests smear the jam on grilled slices of rustic sourdough and top it with pickled Fresno chiles and shallots. “It performs well on the menu,” says Castillo. “The servers love it, too, so it’s easy for them to sell it to guests.”


Try a Different Meat

Photo Credit: Supper Club

A blend of Grand Marnier, soy sauce and orange marmalade yields a flavorful glaze in this extra-large frenched bone-in lamb lollipop.

“The Lamborghini.” That’s what the kitchen team at Supper Club has dubbed its Grand Marnier Lamb Chop, a nickname that speaks volumes about the promised flavor experience, summoning visions of extravagance and elegance in a singular package. It won’t disappoint, assures Brandon Truesdale, culinary director of the Nashville, Tenn., restaurant. “It’s a lamb lollipop glazed with our signature Grand Marnier sauce, an irresistible mix of the liqueur, soy sauce and bourbon-infused orange marmalade, completed with a house spice blend,” he says. “It’s a taste bud-stimulating experience.”

Success rides on the rich flavors of both meat and glaze. “For this entrée, we let the lamb speak for itself, highlighting the flavor and quality of the meat with the orange-liqueur glaze, resulting in a flavor pairing that complements each other well,” says Truesdale. “A lot of flavors and seasonings can overpower lamb, but with this glaze, I can make sure the lamb chop is the star on the plate.” The dish has been one of the most popular orders since Supper Club opened in 2023 and is expected to keep driving forward with guests.


Embrace Global Flavors

Photo Credit: Clay Williams

This take on Xi Fan (Taiwanese congee) features Australian Wagyu ribeye cap and chile vinaigrette.

Win Son Restaurant and Bakery in Brooklyn, N.Y., features craveable Taiwanese-American fare, helping build momentum in the U.S. behind this global cuisine. Its menu stars flavor bombs like Sesame Noodles with black sesame purée, oyster mushrooms, snow pea leaves and peanuts. But it’s the Xi Fan (the Taiwanese term for congee) that’s earned a deeper dive here. For this dish, Trigg Brown, executive chef, sources Australian Wagyu ribeye cap. “The fat in really good meat carries the story of where it’s from and how it was raised, and it also takes on smoke really well,” says Brown. “I knew this would be a great way to showcase the beautiful beef.”

He slowly chars the ribeye cap over a binchotan grill. “Traditionally in Taiwan, congee is soupy and loose. But I made it a bit firmer as a platform to hold and carry the melted Wagyu fat and flavor; it’s perfect for that,” he says. A condiment made with garlic, ginger, scallion and mustard greens, plus chile oil, lands a punch of herbaceous notes and aromatics. At service, Brown slices the ribeye cap, retherms and plates the portions, tucking in a little pork floss. “The floss is a traditional condiment and adds that bacon-like saltiness and unique texture while allowing the Wagyu to be the star,” says Brown.

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