11 Sides To Avoid Ordering At A Steakhouse

You've made a reservation at your favorite steakhouse for an anniversary, birthday, holiday, or just because you're craving a well-made steak. You pick out the cut of steak you want, whether that's prime rib, filet mignon, or a massive tomahawk. You've even decided to order a glass of red wine on the side. All of that was easy. But now, it's time to figure out the hard part: What sides are you going to order? Often, steakhouse sides feel like an afterthought. You're there because of the meat, after all, and all that other stuff? Sometimes, it just seems like a distraction.

But if you've ever had an excellent steakhouse experience before, then you know that the sides definitely matter. In some ways, they can make or break the meal. You don't want every single bite to be a hunk of meat, do you? Without other flavors and textures to add variety to your steak dinner, you're likely to be left feeling vaguely unsatisfied with your meal.

Some steakhouse sides can seriously enhance your meal, but others are best left off the table. We've compiled a list of the sides you can skip so you can focus on the best side dishes on the menu. Take a closer look before you book your next steakhouse meal.

Steamed broccoli

There are fewer side dishes bleaker than most of the steamed broccoli you'll find at steakhouses. Often, it seems like steamed broccoli is just on the menu to provide a healthier option, but it doesn't seem like most spots put a lot of time and effort into ensuring that it actually tastes good. Most of the time, it comes out soggy and unseasoned — if you want to add any flavor to it whatsoever, you have to sprinkle it with a generous amount of salt and pepper from the shakers in the middle of the table.

We also don't like the fact that you're going to pay a premium for steamed broccoli when you get it from a steakhouse. This is one of the easiest dishes to make at home, and you don't exactly need a lot of culinary experience to make it taste decent. So why would you rack up even more money on your bill for something you could throw together in your own kitchen in a matter of minutes? There are other, more complicated side dishes on a steakhouse menu that would be challenging to cook at home, and that's exactly what we want to order when we go out.

Making healthy decisions should be celebrated, but that doesn't mean you should sacrifice flavor when you're going out for a special event. If you want to enjoy your meal and get the best bang for your buck, you may want to skip the broccoli.

Loaded potato soup

Don't get us wrong — we absolutely love loaded potato soup. How can you not like potatoes, sour cream, cheddar cheese, bacon bits, and sliced scallions transformed into a slurpable soup? But it's definitely not one of our top choices when we go out to a steakhouse. That's because we think there are usually better potato options to choose from. If you want to enjoy your potatoes in the simplest form possible, you can always order baked or mashed potatoes. But you're probably not going to want to get sides and the loaded potato soup, and if we had to choose, we'd definitely opt for the former.

There's another problem with loaded potato soup: It fills you up too fast. Not only are you downing a lot of potatoes, which are incredibly filling, but you're also getting a hefty dose of meat and dairy products in this dish as well. That could make it difficult for you to finish your steak — which is, after all, why you're there in the first place.

Go ahead and enjoy your loaded potato soup, but consider ordering it at another type of restaurant — it's not the best choice when you're trying to have the best possible steakhouse experience.

Lobster mac and cheese

Mac and cheese is a classic side dish, and we'd never encourage you not to order it — unless, of course, the mac and cheese was filled with lobster. We get the idea of lobster mac and cheese: It takes a basic, often budget-friendly dish and attempts to turn it into a slightly fancier, more elevated dish with the inclusion of lobster, one of the priciest ingredients on any menu. But lobster mac and cheese is more about the show than it is about flavor. Lobster itself doesn't have much of a strong flavor, and the subtle seafood notes are completely lost in the midst of the overwhelming cheese sauce. All you're left with is a strange texture in your otherwise creamy mac and cheese.

Not only is the flavor of lobster mac and cheese generally unimpressive, but the addition of lobster raises the price of this staple side dish precipitously. Most of the time, you're going to pay way more for lobster mac and cheese than you would for the plain stuff.

If you ask us, mac and cheese is a great side dish, and if the steakhouse you're at offers a standard version of the classic, you should definitely order it for the table. But if it's mixed with lobster? We'll have to pass.

Onion rings

There is a time and a place for onion rings, and it's not at a steakhouse. Good onion rings can be transcendent, but is that really what you want to eat with a steak? A good steak is relatively fatty, but so are onion rings. When you eat them both together, you may be overwhelmed by all that fat, which could affect your enjoyment of the steak. Additionally, because onion rings are breaded, they tend to fill you up faster than many types of side dishes, which is why we'd prefer to skip them most of the time.

Then, you have the issue of how you're actually going to eat them. If you're at a more casual steakhouse, the finger food policy probably applies. However, if you're somewhere nicer, you may not want to have to think about whether you should eat your onion rings with your hands or with a fork.

Ultimately, onion rings just don't seem like the best bet for a steakhouse dinner — you'll have to save them for your next midnight burger run instead.

Wedge salad

Whenever we see a wedge salad on a menu, we're automatically disappointed. That's because wedge salads are some of the worst salads that have ever been placed on the face of this earth. The first red flag is that most wedge salads call for iceberg lettuce, which is one of the least flavorful leafy greens. It tastes of little more than water, so really all you get from it is the crisp texture. This is why they have to cover your wedge of iceberg in the most over-the-top salad dressings available. It's usually something ranch- or blue cheese-adjacent, and because the lettuce is so light, all you can really taste is the dressing itself. Sure, you get a bit of flavor from the random ingredients, like bacon bits, sprinkled over the abomination, but it's not enough to save this salad from where it belongs: the trash.

Some wedge salads are better than others, but ultimately, most of them can't help but disappoint. And to make it even worse, they can be difficult to eat — especially if you get a particularly tough wedge of lettuce. If there are other salads on the steakhouse menu, we would suggest that you choose those instead. Although the idea of starting off your meal with something fresh is appealing, a classic wedge salad isn't going to satisfy true veggie lovers most of the time.

Roasted Brussels sprouts

There are few side dishes as perfect as roasted Brussels sprouts. They sometimes get a bad rap because of their bitter flavor that's particularly noticeable when they're steamed. However, when you roast Brussels sprouts, they develop a deep, rich sweetness that's surprisingly complex, even when they're not seasoned. Add in a flavorful spice mixture, though, and you'll have an incredible side dish after just a few minutes in the oven.

So if we love roasted Brussels sprouts so much, why don't we think you should order them at a restaurant? It all comes down to the fact that they're so easy to make at home. All you have to do is coat the Brussels sprouts in some olive oil, salt, and spices, place them on a tray, and slide them into the oven for a few minutes until they're crisp and brown. Why would you pay a premium for that when you know you could just as easily make your Brussels sprouts at home?

Of course, if you absolutely love this vegetable and want it on your plate when you go to a steakhouse, then go ahead and order the Brussels sprouts — just know that you could've made a similar side dish at home for way less.

Loaded sweet potato

We are pro-baked potatoes, but unfortunately, we can not bring that same energy to the loaded sweet potato. But let us be clear about one thing: When we say you shouldn't order a loaded sweet potato from a steakhouse, we're talking about a very particular type of loaded sweet potato. The ones that are prepared with minimal savory ingredients are fine and can be an interesting departure from a standard loaded baked potato. However, the ones that are covered in sweet ingredients like honey, walnuts, and even marshmallows should be banned from steakhouses altogether.

Let's be honest: A sweet potato loaded with other sweet ingredients is a dessert, not a side dish. To even put it on the same plate as your steak should is deeply concerning. Can you imagine if some of that melted marshmallow topping were to mingle with the juice from your steak, creating a puddle of artificially sweet, sticky sugar in the middle of your plate? It's a nightmare of the highest degree. If you're a sweet potato fan and want to see what the loaded sweet potato has to offer, go ahead and order it. Just do yourself a favor and get it after you're done with your entree. Or at least have the decency to ask for a separate plate if nothing else.

House rolls

There are few things we love in this world more than bread. We don't even really care what form that bread tastes as long as it's thick and doughy and it sops up all the juice from our soup, stew, or whatever else we're eating. But when it comes to ordering at a steakhouse, we'll generally forgo the house rolls completely. This isn't about the rolls themselves — many of the best steakhouses have incredible bread. That's part of the problem, though. It's so easy to fill up on the bread that you won't even have room for your steak once the entrees come out.

Of course, your server may bring you out rolls without you explicitly ordering them, and in that case, you may want to use a roll or two to sop up the juices from your steak. If you have to order them separately, however, we think it's best to just skip them altogether. You'll have more space on the table for other, more interesting side dishes, and you won't fill yourself up too quickly before you've finished your steak.

Corn on the cob

When you're at a casual steakhouse on a weekday night and just want to get a moderately priced steak in a relaxed setting, then ordering corn on the cob shouldn't be a problem. Go for it if that's what you're craving. However, when you go to a fancy steakhouse, this may be a menu item you want to avoid. Why? Because eating corn on the cob can be a messy affair, and cleaning the butter off your hands with a cloth napkin isn't exactly the easiest task. When you're out to eat at this kind of restaurant, a messy side dish may not be ideal.

That being said, just because a food is messy doesn't mean that you have to totally skip it. Sometimes, it's worth the mess if it's one of your favorite foods, so we're not stopping you from enjoying some corn on the cob if it's truly what speaks to you on the menu. However, if you don't have a strong preference either way, it may be better to order a dish that's slightly easier to eat.


We have the same problem with fries as we do with onion rings. Of course, we like them, but is a steakhouse the best place to order them? We'd argue that in most cases, it's not. Most of the time, the fries are not what steakhouses are focusing on. The meat is their first priority, and then other, more classic potato-based sides take precedence over the fried ones. So while your baked potato or au gratin potatoes may be top-notch, there's a good chance that the chef doesn't put in quite as much effort for the fries. They're probably not going to taste bad, but don't you want to make sure you're ordering the best dishes on the menu?

The other problem with fries? Like several of the other dishes on this list, they fill you up too much, too quickly, limiting how much you can enjoy your steak. If you're super hungry and know you can get through both your steak and your fries and you don't care that you could probably snag better fries from your local McDonald's, then go ahead and order them the next time you go to a steakhouse. But if you ask us, opting for a different potato-based side is probably going to be your best bet.

Blooming onion

Do we really have to say it? Blooming onions just aren't that good. They're basically a soggier, more watered-down version of onion rings. They don't crisp up in the same way that onion rings do, and until you dip them into the accompanying sauce, they taste like little more than fried batter. Considering we don't even think you should order those at a steakhouse, it shouldn't come as a surprise that blooming onions aren't at the top of our list, either. Yes, blooming onions can be pretty, and they look impressive laid out on a table next to all of your other side dishes, but often, the flavor is pretty lackluster. There's a good chance everyone at the table will only take a few bites before moving to the more desirable sides.

If you've never had one before and you want to see what it's all about, go ahead and order the blooming onion. Once you've had one, you've had them all, and there's really no reason to revisit them again and again.