Designing The Perfect MenuDesigning The Perfect Menu

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Designing The Perfect Menu

Those brand new area rugs and that spiffy dining room paint job might look great, but all customers will remember about your restaurant is the food. Unfortunately, if you design a lackluster menu, your guests might not be tempted to try some of your best dishes. In my twenty years in the restaurant business, I have made some mistakes and had more than a few successes. I want to share the things with you that really work, so that you can enjoy your early days as a restaurant owner. Operating a restaurant is hard, but by heeding the right advice, you can enjoy the journey.


Common Sauces You'll See On Steakhouse Menus

While some people are definitely purists when it comes to their steak — they prefer to enjoy it alone without sauce — many do prefer some sort of sauce on their meat. As such, steakhouses often include various sauces on their menu. Sometimes these sauces may come paired with certain steaks, and other times they are offered a la carte. In either case, you may initially look down the list of sauces without quite understanding what each one is. Thankfully, you've stumbled upon this article, where you'll find each common steakhouse sauce defined.

Mornay Sauce

Mornay sauce is a classic French cream sauce that you will sometimes see served on the side of a steak for dipping. It's made from butter, flour, and milk, which are cooked until thick before the cheese is added. Traditionally, Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses are used, but you may see some steakhouses advertising blue cheese Mornay sauce,, since blue cheese is known to pair so well with steak. Mornay is a really thick, flavorful sauce and pairs best with fattier cuts, like ribeye.


Demi glace is often served over the top of steak. Some steakhouses use it as their default, spooning it overall or most steaks unless the diner requests something else. Demi glace is consists of beef stock, wine, and herbs simmered down and thickened with butter. It looks like a plain, brown gravy, but it is so much more complex than that.

Buerre Blanc

Beurre blanc is another creamy, rich sauce that pairs really well with steak. It is made with white wine, vinegar, cream, and white pepper. Some versions also call for some garlic. Buerre blanc really coats the tongue, which helps the flavors from both the sauce and the steak linger on your palate for longer. 


Bearnaise sauce is similar to buerre blanc, but instead of being made and thickened with cream, it is thickened with egg yolks. Lemon juice is also typically added for some sharpness. This sauce is thick and creamy, but the flavor is almost refreshing and light, which makes Bearnaise sauce a nice accompaniment to a leaner, less flavorful steak, like a tenderloin or filet mignon.

Now, if you see one or more of these sauces on a steakhouse menu, you'll know what it is! Even if you are someone who typically enjoys their steak plain, consider ordering a sauce now and then. It can add complexity and a whole new mouth feel to the experience of eating steak. Visit a restaurant like Lawry's The Prime Rib Dallas on your next night out.