In a Quandary Over a “Queen’s Cut”

Let’s think about the pros and cons of eating beef for a moment shall we…

The cons:

Beef’s carbon footprint is roughly the size of Montana.

It’s bad for your health.

And really bad for the cattles’ health.

Eating red meat more than twice a week increases the risk of bowel cancer, arthritis, breast cancer, and a lot of medical conditions with too many consonants to type.

And it contributes to global warming.

As restaurant main courses go, beef is expensive.

And boring.

Because all steakhouses are pretty much the same.

And the fine distinctions between how carefully rendered the side dishes are, or how well-aged the beef is, is lost on 95% of the customers.

They’re there for a steak, dammit, and gourmet distinctions (and cholesterol) be damned.

The rest of the world considers America’s obsession with consuming large slabs of steer muscle to be a barbaric form of eating.

And they’re right.

Steakhouses are the most unsophisticated of restaurants — no matter how gussied up they may be.

And most of the time you’re paying an arm and a leg for something you could cook just as well at home.

And finally, just look at that picture above for a moment. Really closely. Isn’t there something just obscene about it.

FYI: That’s the small “Queen’s” cut of prime rib from a recent meal at the Golden Steer.

It cost $40.

Just thought you’d like to know.

The dudes who go for the brontosaurus cut ($46) generally look like this.

‘Nuff said.

The pros:

Beef tastes gooood.

And sometimes, it seems our bodies just crave it.

Beef is an excellent source of zinc, vitamins, proteins and minerals essential for a healthy immune system.

And it goes great with red wine.

In fact, we at ELV would wager there’s hardly a better food/wine combo on earth better than a great Burgundy with a cote de boeuf with a tarragon-rich bearnaise. (Right up there with Chablis and oysters, we’d say.)

No matter what the food nazis say, we need a certain amount of animal protein in our diets to feed our brain cells.

Despite the boring, repetitive nature of most steakhouses, a few of them — Craftsteak, CUT, Carnevino — manage to elevate the experience to something close to fine dining.

So what’s a beef eater to do?

As we sat pondering this slab of steer, the more we thought about it, the more grotesque it seemed.

It threw us into a quandary. A crisis of conscience if you will.

Perhaps our days of ordering steaks and chops and rib-eyes and well-aged beauties are done. Maybe we’ve just had enough great beef, and neither our mind nor our body needs any more.

Because producing and eating all the cattle we do really isn’t good for anything or anyone.

In your heart and mind, you know this is true.

So let’s try eating less of it, shall we?

And do everyone a favor.*


* From his perch high above gourmandia, ELV suggests aiming for quality over quantity. Translation: Patronize high-quality steakhouses (and hamburger joints), and make beef-eating the luxury it used to be.

14 thoughts on “In a Quandary Over a “Queen’s Cut”

  1. Every now and then, it’s hard to beat a nice prime grade prime rib. However, they almost always come out medium/medium well like what your picture shows. It just has to be a real medium rare. A true medium rare slab of prime rib seems to be more difficult to find than a good dry aged steak.
    I was staying at the Warwick in Philadelphia with my wife a while back. The Prime Rib is there. Real old school prime prime rib. It was so good, we ate there twice in four days. We just couldn’t help ourselves. Even as fantastic a meal as we had doing the full monty at Morimoto’s for three times the price, I remember the prime rib the most.

  2. First, I’ll refrain from any jokes about ELV ordering a “Queen’s Cut.” Second: Here, Here! Steakhouses are my LAST choice for a good meal. For all of the non-environmental reasons you listed. And mostly because, as ELV mentioned, I can cook a slab of meat as well as the best cooks in the high-priced Strip establishments. Not that I’m any kind of good cook, it’s just plain easy.

  3. Hear, hear! It’s nice to finally see some omnivores speak up on this. America’s obsession is red meat is killing us. Literally. While I’ve enjoyed being a vegetarian for the last five years, I understand it’s not for everyone. As long as omnivores like yourself don’t overindulge on the red meat (try keeping it to once a week, no more than twice), you’ll be OK.

    Btw, notice how even your linky on brain food admitted that black beans are also a good source of iron? Hey, we vegetarians may be crazy, but we’re certainly NOT stupid. ;-)

  4. Btw, bwdining is totally correct on steakhouses. While I will add my environmentalist objections of all those extra greenhouse gas emissions and all that promotion of an unsustainable appetite for cow carcass, I also think so many of them are just plain boring. And yes, Las Vegas is cursed with way too many of these damned steakhouses!

    When, oh when, will we see a more diversified restaurant scene in this town? I just came back from visiting family in Orange County. And while I have many objections to the food scene there, at least I can find everything from Korean BBQ joints and Vietnamese pho houses to Salvadoran holes in the wall and vegan diners there.

  5. atdleft:

    Try Spring Mountain Road where they have Korean BBQ joints (such as Sam Woo) and Curtas writes about a new pho house about every week. Not sure about Salvadoran.

  6. Old Chinese secret — Vegetables flavored with meat — tastes good and cost low.

    And don’t forget this Mediterranean place (with a Moroccan flair) called Crazy Pita over at The District in Henderson.

  7. I like the beef.
    Exhibit 1…..the 16oz burger I ate last night at Fatburger.
    The wify was standing by with a difibulator. luckly she didnt have to yell “CLEAR”…..

  8. David-

    Yes, I promise I’ll make it there some time soon. Sometimes I’m not in the mood for a long drive for good food, but sometimes I am… And if Sam Woo is worth it, then I’ll give it a try.


    Yes, Crazy Pita is next on my list. And fortunately for me, bwdining’s joint is just a quick jump up Green Valley Parkway from my house! I’ve started to crave falafel again, so I might go there this week to give it a try.

    I guess I was just too spoiled when I lived right in the heart of Orange County, between the fancy, schmancy South Coast Plaza fine dining scene, the Latino (Mexican, Salvadoran, Guatemalan, etc.) flavors in Downtown Santa Ana, and the many Asian choices in Garden Grove/Westminster (Vietnamese, Korean), Costa Mesa (Japanese), and Irvine (Indian, Korean, and Chinese). Like the rest of Southern California, OC isn’t so much a “melting pot” as it is a “tossed salad” of all sorts of ethnic flavors, “Casual California Cuisine”, and fine dining. Last week, it was nice to explore some of this again.

    In many ways, the culinary scene here in Las Vegas is more sophisticated than SoCal spots (away from LA) like Orange County, as the fine dining restaurants concentrated on The Strip and scattered in some spots Downtown, Summerlin, and here in Henderson are among the best in the nation. But on the other hand, I feel it isn’t as mature precisely because we don’t yet have the various unique holes in the wall thriving in neighborhoods all over the valley that Orange County takes for granted.

    Now yes, we’re starting to see this. “Chinatown” on Spring Mountain is a good start. So are the Mexican places on The East Side. So are the mom-and-pop shops that are scattered around town. I just hope that with economic recovery will come more of these, more neighborhood eateries that offer a unique experience and not more of the same Cheesecake Factory/Claim Jumper/Olive Garden/Chili’s/insert-other-national-chains-here monotony that makes so much of The ‘Burbs so boring to my palette.

  9. I live in Dallas. We have a lot of steak joints here, too. Everytime I travel, I try to avoid steak places. Like John says in his blog entry, they generally tend to be the same. So, why go to one out of town when I can get a good one locally?

    But I always find myself at a steak joint when I travel to some city with my friends. And Las Vegas is no exception. Seems like every time I go there, I have one dinner at one. “The masses” really like them. It’s an easy sell to people. Over the past few years, I’ve been to Austin’s at Texas Station, Delmonico’s at the Veneitan, the one at Planet Hollywood, Morel’s at Palazzo, and most recently Carnevino at Palazzo.

    Were any of those BAD meals? No. Not at all. They were all decent to quite excellent. The standout in the group was Carnevino. Like John says, you gotta do something “special” to get me to think about going to a steak joint.. And at Carenevino, their highly aged steak is the just the ticket.

    But yeah, there are too many of them. But getting my friends to consider Alex or Bartalotta or Charlie Trotter can be a tough sell. So, I’m sure I’ll be in some steak joint on most of my future trips to las vegas. It’s just the way it’s gonna be. So, I gotta learn which ones DO offer something a little “different” and try a new to me spot when I do go to one.

    How many steak places are gonna be at Aria? I think Jean-Georges is going to open a SECOND one on the strip? It WOULD be nice to see him do something like he has in his other restaurants.

    FWIW, I love beef. Even when I go to some fancy sophisticated place and get a tasting menu, there is always beef on it. Even in a place that is primarily a seafood restaurant..

  10. Turtle-

    Hey, we care, too! I’m reducing my carbon footprint as much as I can.


    Oh no, not all steakhouses are bad. Sinatra at Encore is one of my all-time favorites. So is Mon Ami Gabi at Paris. It’s just that steakhouses like these really stand out… And they serve vegetarian dishes that make my tummy happy. ;-)

  11. I’m pretty sure neither Sinatra nor Mon Ami Gabi would consider themselves steakhouses, though they do each serve steak, but doesn’t almost every tablecloth restaurant nowadays?

    I had a NY Strip at Golden Steer and felt very good with my decision. Plus, the leftovers made for a great sliced beef salad the next day.

  12. Ken-

    Perhaps. Mon Ami Gabi has some real French flair, and Sinatra has plenty of good Italian dishes. But since they both have pretty meat-heavy menus (including steak!), I think it’s fair to also consider them “steakhouses”. After all, Urbanspoon already does.

    I haven’t done Golden Steer yet. Are there any vegetarian offerings? If so, then maybe I’ll let my dad drag me there. ;-)

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