Ahhh beef. Quite possibly the most well-known of all meats, it’s been in our diet since prehistoric times, and for good reason – it’s just so damn tasty (what? Did you think I was going to harp on about its nutritional/protein content? Please…).
Of all ways of eating beef, none are as hallowed as the simple steak. Oh, if only steak were simple. There are perhaps over 12 different cuts of steak, that can be cooked to various temperatures, utilising many different and often conflicting methods. See, cooking the perfect steak is as much an art as it is a science. Everyone’s taste for what a good steak should be differs – but thanks to the selection of cuts and temperatures that’s offered at most steakhouses, you more or less shouldn’t go wrong when you order a juicy hunk of red.
Steerson’s Steakhouse on Bridge St (formerly Kingsley’s Steakhouse) is one that I’ve been to before (while it was still Kingsleys), and I was interested to see what the change of management did for the place. The result it seems, is quite a mixed bag…
Date Visited: 26/10/2012
Address: 7 Bridge St, Sydney, NSW 2000
Go-to dish: filet mignon
The place gets decor points for being situated in a heritage building. It flaunts this quite unabashedly – you know you’re entering some seriously old stone.
Of course, I’m all for this kind of decor – you can so see it being a steakhouse thanks to the emphasis on wooden furnishings and a generally brownish colour scheme. Yeah it doesn’t sound pleasant (talking about brown usually isn’t), but it definitely looks the part, and still carries with it a touch of fanciness.
In a very nice touch (literally), the menus are bound in real cowhide – there is no mistaking that supple yet firm, leathery texture and the smell of it (despite the fact that it must’ve been used so many times!).
Two bottles of The Musician red was ordered, however since I don’t drink when I have the choice, I skipped this so didn’t know how it tasted. The refined tastes of my workmates however, said it was quite good. Worth a try if you’re into your reds?
Which type of mustard you choose to have with your steak will ultimately depend on your texture preferences. I always like a little bit of pizzaz so I went for the whole-grain version most of the time. It has a mild flavour that isn’t particularly pungent. Just right, really.
So, what’s the difference between grain-fed and pasture-fed? Pasture-fed usually connotes slightly healthier beef due to allowing them to feed on their natural food – grass. Additionally, pasture-fed cows are usually not subject to growth-enhancing hormones and other chemicals.
Having said this, the difference between the two types is minimal – and grain-fed generally tastes a little better due to
a) the consistency of the grain feed being fed to the cows (you can’t control the quality of the grass nearly as much)
b) the marginally higher and richer fat content.
Generally, opt for grain fed as you’ll get the best taste, which is of course, exactly what we did.
The rib-eye is a cut of the cow that comes from approximately the upper-middle section of the cow. It’s a full-bodied cut, and it tastes fine on the palate. It was not exceptional however, and I think there are some good pubs that do a better steak than this. Overall it would’ve been exceptional as a $10-$12 steak, but as a $30+ cut…phoooar it feels like a rip. The quality used to be better.
The rump comes from the place it sounds like – the back of the cow. It’s mostly gluteal and thus is somewhat tough and very lean. It’s tougher to bring out the flavour in a rump cut as there’s less fat to work with.
Steerson’s grilling method unfortunately left this cut very dry, and thus it did not taste particularly good at all. The red wine jus (which is thankfully included in any and all cuts you order) somewhat mitigates this – but you can’t use a sauce to mask the base texture of the steak. It was already ordered medium, but I guess medium-rare or rare is the way to go for this particular cut.
The veritable T-bone comes from the short loin, near the back of the cow. It’s distinguished by the…well…the T-shaped bone that divides the cut up.
What was odd about this particular cut was that it was unevenly cooked. That is, it was cooked well on one side, but on the other side it was undercooked. Wtf? This was a pretty weird situation but it was clearly the case. I wished I had taken photos of each side as it even looked visibly different. This is incredible for a steakhouse of this reputation. Colour me genuinely surprised!
That alone pretty much killed this cut, but thankfully there isn’t anything else to comment on – what’s truly the issue is how inconsistent this was.
If there’s one steak at all that redeemed Steerson’s to some extent, it would be the filet mignon. It is the rarest and most expensive cut from a cow (all else equal – aging, etc) as a cow can only produce maybe 8 filet mignon steaks. Its location? In the tenderloin’s tip – near the back of the cow between the short loin and the rump.
It’s not only prized because it’s rare though – it’s also the most tender cut out of the entire cow. This makes the taste absolutely amazing.
This is a strong case for the saying that ‘great cooking starts from great ingredients’ – getting a proper cut of filet mignon and failing to cook it straight is possible, but thank goodness Steerson’s delivered on this front. The result is some of the best steak I’ve ever had. Succulent, soft, it just pulls itself apart so nicely and the butter is absolutely divine with it. And then there’s the bacon wrapped around the whole thing – best idea EVER.
This is the cut to get – you may not fill up on it, so why not just get two?
Look at that inside – so pink and soft, I drool just thinking about this.
By the way, you may have noticed that you can get your potato side in three ways – as a baked potato, as chips, or as mash. The mash is presented in a very nice way – as if it were moulded. The taste isn’t too bad either, though it can’t compare to mash from the likes of 4Fourteen and other truffle-infused mashes. It doesn’t need to compare though – it’s classic steak-side mash. No need to be fancy.
The baked potato is the healthiest option, and doesn’t disappoint as long as you can baste it generously with sauces. Do so, and you’ll love yourself for it.
As for the chips…well chips will always be chips
We didn’t order dessert, but we did get some choc-coated coffee beans. There were both milk and dark chocolate varieties – they tasted delicious, as these do. Mmm caffeine & sugar yum.
Steak is one of those rare kinds of foods for which the texture can matter just as much, if not more than its flavour. You really need to nail both correctly for it to work. Steerson’s succeeds only moderately on this front, producing subpar steaks which would be fine as cheap eats, but in a steakhouse where cuts start at $30, this isn’t really acceptable.
The one exception is definitely the filet mignon – go there, get this cut, and only this cut, and you’ll walk away very impressed. If it weren’t for the filet mignon…I’d give it 4 or fewer Caesars.
As usual, feel free to leave a comment or three
The Good: a good corporate lunch environment, a killer of a filet mignon
The Bad: pretty much every other steak failed in one way or another, no consistency in the cooking.
I give Steerson’s Steakhouse a grand total of five Caesars out of ten