Switch Up Your Steak to Create International Flavor and Appeal


What kind of side dishes do you think are most common in steak house restaurants and foodservice establishments across America?  When you see a plated steak, chances are you will see a baked or mashed potato serving, and maybe some broccoli or carrots, some au jus, and maybe sautéed mushrooms and onions.

That’s the box standard serving of a really good steak entrée, for the most part.  And it been that way for decades because that’s what people expect and like.  But lately, we have been seeing some really amazing side dish and steak sauce innovations, that take the steak plate to a whole new level of culinary experience.

In this article, we’re going to explore some internationally-inspired ideas for plating a quality steak in a food service setting and share some interesting ways you might add some exciting new menu ideas for your establishment.

Let’s Start With Exceptionally Good (and Different) Steak Side Dishes

We know that restaurants need to have innovative, delicious, and competitively priced food for success.  For restaurant owners and operators, that doesn’t necessarily mean replacing your fan favorites with a large number of new offerings.  In fact, it is better to launch one or two new entrees for a limited period of time as a ‘special’ to test demand, before adding it as a permanent menu option.

Varying up your grilled steak and chops entrees relies more on changing side dishes and seasonings.  The customer will order the grilled level (rare to well-done) and they are looking for a juicy, well prepared, and generous meat portion.  But what they are also craving, is something different; from sauce to topping and side-dishes, how can you ‘shake up’ your menu with exciting steak entrée options?

At Miami Beef®, we sell to food service establishments across the United States, through South America, and overseas to Asian Pacific countries.  As ‘globe-trotting meat connoisseurs’ we are always looking for innovative new recipes, seasonings, and service ideas that we pass on to our restaurant franchise, hotel and entertainment venue wholesale meat customers.

In our opinion? Once you have a really great steak or chop, it’s really all about the side-dishes you serve and creating that harmonious plate of flavors that complement quality beef or pork.

Creative Plating Methods for Five-Star Steak Entrees

Some of the most elegant plating designs we’ve seen in restaurants were establishment that served Japanese Kobe or Wagyu.  There is something so elegant about Japanese food service that is worth incorporating into five-start premium gourmet dishes on your menu.

We found some very amazing and inspiring examples of plating steak or chops to create an unforgettable food service experience for your diners, on Pinterest:

  1. Mashed potatoes and Brussel Sprout art (click here).
  2. Shiitake, Leek Puree, and Filet Mignon (click here).
  3. Coriander Beef Tenderloin Cascabel Chikee Purée and Sautéed Heirloom Carrots (click here).

For some more exciting plate design ideas, you can try in your restaurant, check out “Components of an Artistic Plate Design” by Chef’s Resources.

Trendy Table Side Smoking of Steak and Side Dishes

If you have ever tried to smoke your own meat at home, you know how delicious the notes that different flavors of smoke can bring to grilled meat.  Wouldn’t it be nice to bring that freshly smoked flavor to every steak plate in your restaurant?

Serving dishes ‘under smoke’ isn’t a new idea but it is trending right now overseas, which means we will probably start to see more of it in American restaurants.   It’s less complicated than it seems with a tool called a Cloche.  It allows you to create flavored smoke, with a directional spout and tube that allows you to control the flow of the smoke under the presentation glass. Check out this video for some professional culinary tips on smoking food with a cloche.

South American Churrascaria Methods

Across Brazil and South America, the steakhouse experience is nothing like it is in the United States.  The idea of getting one portion of one single type of meat on your plate is a foreign concept at the traditional South American Churrascaria.  Grilled meat takes on a whole new personalized dining experience.

The Churrascaria method of grilled meat is actually easier to prepare for restaurants.  Large portions of meat are marinated and seasoned, then grilled in bulk on industrial-sized skewers (which can be shaped or involve more than one sword, depending on the weight and volume of meat grilled on it).

It’s basically South American rotisserie, and the cooking method originates from the Gauchos of Southern Brazil, in Argentina and Uruguay.  One of the most popular beef cuts used for Churrascaria is the beef top sirloin, which they call picanha.

There are two methods of plating Churrascaria.  The traditional method is to have the meat waiter stand beside the customer’s table and carve the meat directly onto the plate.  A variety of different table side carving options are available to Brazilian steakhouse guests, which can also include braised pork, poultry, and seafood.

While tableside carving does not present an issue regarding health code, it can expose the meat to a variety of different patrons and tables within the restaurant.  This can of course impact food safety if the proper carving distance is not observed.  It is important to remember that in Brazil, you may have a ‘dirty plate’ and continue to have meat carved to that plate.

In the United States, Brazilian steakhouses have sometimes opted for an individual serving size skewer instead.  For instance, if the customer requests both seafood and steak, they would be provided with an individual custom grilled skewer, plated and brought to their table.    This is viewed as a more practical approach that reduces serving time and hygiene concerns.


What did you think of our plating design suggestions and tips for adding more drama to your gourmet steak food service?  We would love to hear your feedback, so leave us a comment below.