I hardly ever order steak in restaurants because we cook steaks at home better than most of them do and, it has to be said, at a more reasonable price.
Notable exceptions, where the steaks are always good: the Rose & Crown in Harefield, Gaucho in Hampstead and Hawksmoor (my new favourite).
How you take your steak is very personal, it has as many variations as how you take your tea. The cut, thickness, the precise degree of doneness, the seasoning: all must be judged to a nicety. And that is without addressing the question of sauces, marinades and rubs. My sister in law, for example, loves steak. But if you were to serve her a lovely rare t-bone, with the outer edge of fat melting and the inner flesh just warmed, she would run away screaming. Her steak is a filet, not too large, cooked beyond medium but not absolutely well done.
Until recently I would have said I was a confirmed rib-eye girl, with sirloin as a back up. I like a strong beef flavour, but "melt in the mouth" is not really a selling point. While I have all my own teeth I want to take advantage of them and enjoy a steak I can actually bite, although I don't want meat so stringy that I need toothpicks at the table. Rib-eye has a nice balance of flavour and texture, plus it is usually the mid-priced steak which is good.
Then, I discovered the onglet. I can't remember what triggered it, but Paul announced that he was interested in trying some of the more obscure steak cuts. He felt it was a challenge to his skill as the family's chief wielder of fire and knives to take on a cut that is often described as difficult to cook.
When I went to place my order, I was delighted to discover that onglet is actually very affordable, which was pretty damn exciting in these economic times, but it also added an incentive for cooking it nicely.
As we'd decided to push the boat out on a steak dinner, we felt that it should be really, really nice. Our potatoes were pretty much the only outdoor crop that worked for us this year, so home grown maris piper chips seemed to fit the bill. Skin on, blanched for a minute in boiling water then allowed to dry out a bit before being fried twice in duck fat (once at 120C and once at 180C), then sprinkled with salt and chopped rosemary, these chips were superb. Particularly since I'd never made chips from scratch before...
We opened a bottle of wine from the cellar. In the years we've been carrying it around it had developed into something much finer than anticipated, all butterscotch and soft cherries.
The steaks were cooked for 4 minutes a side in a hot blue steel pan (Paul wants me to say good things about his pan. He really likes it) then seasoned simply with salt and pepper and allowed to rest with some finely diced red onion pressed into the surface (would have been shallots if I'd had any) while we made an onion and red wine reduction to serve with them. We sliced the steaks across the grain to serve them.
They weren't melt in the mouth, but they were much more tender than I had anticipated, with an excellent, long beef flavour. This is now definitely my go-to steak at home, but it is more challenging to cook than a regular steak, so it'll take a while before I order one in a restaurant.