It's even out of fashion at chain steakhouses
As a child I was a picky eater, but loved dangerously rare steaks. At Outback, my dad would jokingly ask the waiter to just wave the steak over the flames, then I'd make a little puddle of A.1. in the corner of my plate and dunk the barely cooked filet into that sickly sour well. To find out if the mainstream had really turned on A.1., I hit up a local chain steakhouse to relive my youth with a filet mignon lunch special.
When I arrived there was no steak sauce on the table, but with the type of hospitality that only comes from people who serve overpriced tenderloins to businessmen, my waiter happily obliged my request. He even brought out a gallon-sized container for photo purposes. But despite all the accommodating, he quickly threw A.1. under the bus. In his two months at the restaurant, only one other customer had asked for it, and even that was more than he'd seen at his previous steakhouse gig.
Just asking for steak sauce was already embarrassing, and using it was even more so. I felt like everyone was watching me, as I ruined 6oz of presumably Select beef by dunking bites into a ramekin of sauce that black-holed all the beef flavor and replaced it with an encompassing sourness that actually made me physically pucker.
The manager, who'd obviously been alerted to my mission, did a polite table-touch to ask me how I liked the steak. I thanked him and said that everything was great. He smiled and smugly added, “Even without the sauce?”
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Dan Gentile is a staff writer at Thrillist. One perfectly good steak was harmed in the making of this story. Follow him to beef atonement at @Dannosphere.