There's nothing like stepping into a steak house. The aroma of grilled meat hangs in the air, stirring your appetite. Waiters navigate the dining room with massive cuts of beef in hand and you wonder if you'll be patient enough to wait for your order to arrive. That's the power of steak - whether it's rare, medium or well done it never goes out of style.
Steak is a juicy business (yep, we couldn't help that pun) and steakhouses are constantly evolving to keep up with consumer demands. Thus, we've turned our attention to two top industry leaders - Zagat and Forbes - to find out which steak trends are spreading like wildfire through America.
Here are the top nine steak trends sweeping the nation:
1. Grass-Fed Beef and Seasonal, Sustainable Ingredients
Sustainability has been a hot topic for a while now so it's no wonder it has crept into steakhouses. Forbes reports it's a big trend in Las Vegas where chefs are blending vintage steakhouse offerings with sustainable practices.
2. Sous Vide
Modern culinary techniques were once reserved for avant-garde kitchens like the legendary elBulli. Now, methods like sous vide have become common in home kitchens and steakhouses as chefs look to improve the texture and flavor of steak and sides.
In this category we find steakhouses offering beef options from countries around the world. Popular menu items include Italy's famous bistecca fiorentina, Argentinian chimichurri and Brazilian churrasco, among others.
Even meat lovers on a budget want to enjoy steak. Thus, steakhouses have begun offering what Forbes describes as ''less glamorous butcher cuts'' and value-driven sides.
5. Girl-Power Steakhouses
This has been a rising trend for a while as steakhouses are trying to expand their customer base. The leaders in this category are STK restaurants, which offer VIP female customers a chance to use a $30,000 sapphire-studded steak knife, and Eva Longoria's SHe by Mortons in Las Vegas.
6. Natural Grilling Methods
For some carnivores, the only thing better than a grilled steak is a smoked one. Cooking meat over a wood fire gives it a unique flavor that chefs like Tom Colicchio are recreating at steakhouses across America, Zagat reports. Recreating natural grilling methods that have been used for millennia has become the IT thing in Las Vegas, according to Forbes.
7. Old School
Blame it on Mad Men but the glamorous old-school steakhouse concepts are making a comeback. Zagat cites featuring "old-school waiter service, dishes rolled out on table side carts and a visible dry-aging room near the front door" as characteristics of this trend.
Old-school steakhouses inspired Grant Achatz to offer a Chicago Steak menu at his restaurant Next. Achatz offers his own twist on classics like Lobster Thermidor and Oysters Rockefeller. To promote the new menu his team recorded this stunning throwback to the luxurious 1950s steakhouse scene:
8. Giant Cuts
Both Zagat and Forbes report that massive steaks like Tomahawks naturally tend to draw a crowd. Apparently, when it comes to steaks the bigger the better. Larger steaks, aside from feeling like a luxurious indulgence, also promote casual family-style dining.
9. Special dietary menus
Steakhouses are adapting to various dietary restrictions as food allergies have become more common. Now it's easier to find gluten-free, dairy-free and even vegetarian and vegan offerings on the menu.
MORE: With all this talk about steak you might be hungry already. If so, feast your eyes on these helpful tips for grilling the perfect steak. Buon appetito!
Graphic via Visually