Why Some Restaurants May Strategically Undercook Your Steak

So many of us have had that "Emily in Paris" moment when the steak we ordered arrives at the table, we cut into the slab of meat only to find it so undercooked that we wonder if it is going to moo (via YouTube). Emily tries her undercooked steak and loves it, but many people, and their taste buds, have preferences about how they want their favorite cut of beef cooked, and for good reason. Steaks are expensive.

In 2016, The Daily Meal ranked 15 of the most expensive steakhouses in the United States, and found Wolfgang Puck's Las Vegas restaurant The Cut was the priciest with an average cost of $117 per person. For some people, that's groceries for a week. The point is, if you are paying that much money, your steak should be cooked to your desired perfection, whether that be with a light pink or warm red center. 

So, why are restaurants serving undercooked steaks so frequently? It's a question the New York Post delved into, and the answer and solution might surprise you.  

Undercooked steaks can be better for restaurants' bottom lines

According to the New York Post, the rising cost of food, including beef, which CNBC reports is 20% higher since 2020, combined with restaurants still trying to recover from the pandemic lockdown (via Yahoo), means managers and chefs are trying to find ways to keep their eateries in the black. An overcooked steak cannot be saved, but an undercooked steak can easily be thrown back on the grill to satisfy a customer without having to cook an entirely new one, which can save a restaurant inventory and money.

So, what's a person to do if you don't want an "Emily in Paris" moment? The New York Post spoke to a meat purveyor who suggests we might need to change how we order our steak. For example, if you like your steak cooked medium-rare, try asking for it cooked "medium-rare-plus." 

The outlet also explains there is a culinary trend of "rawness" and beef. In fact, Mark Schatzker, who wrote the book, "Steak: One Man's Search for the World's Tastiest Piece of Beef," said, "A rare steak is edgy ... [but] an overcooked steak, on the other hand, is a criminal act, like putting ketchup on foie gras." We can definitely see both sides of this coin, but at the end of the day, you deserve your steak cooked the way you want it, so don't be afraid to politely speak up.