Why Do We Celebrate With Steak?

Why does one bite of steak close a business deal or encourage sex?
Why does one bite of steak close a business deal or encourage sex?

I dropped by Ocean Prime last night. The place was packed. The mood was festive and celebratory. Over a dry-aged rib-eye and blackened snapper, we attempted to answer the question of why people in Dallas pick fancy steak houses to celebrate a special occasion. For some, it’s a once-a-year date; for others it’s once-a-week. If you have a theory, leave it. Otherwise, go buy me a Christmas present.

15 comments on “Why Do We Celebrate With Steak?

  1. Is it really just a Dallas thing or is it more of an American thing? Oppulent steakhouses in every American city seem to be the de facto choice for many people to celebrate closing a deal or an important date.

    I think that the biggest reason these places are the destination for such occasions is that they are broadly appealing. You’re almost guaranteed that business associates or that special someone is going to find something that they like on a steakhouse menu. If you go somewhere more eccentric, or more nuanced … you’re at risk that somebody will not like their choices and that all of the cash that you’re spending won’t end up impressing anybody.

    Just my humble opinion….

  2. I believe it’s because people think of steak as being the best.
    Like Paul Newman used to say “why would I eat hamburger out when I have steak at home”?
    It seems to reference “top of the heap”

    So if someone is special and steak is perceived as the most special..it’s a marriage made in heaven or at least a great steakhouse.

    Enjoy….

  3. Another question…why, if one wants to celebrate with a steak dinner, would you go to a place that puts the emphasis on seafood?

  4. Nancy: Margaret is right…if you are thinking “steak” why go to a place that has “ocean” in the name. I am sure that they do a great steak, like III Forks does great seafood. OP’s on line menu for Dallas lists 8 specialties: 6 are seafood, one chicken and one is steak. I have never been to OP…nor to *pulling name out of the air* Bob’s, but if I were taking an steak hungry out-of-towner to dinner, I would choose Bob’s.

  5. Once Oprah settled her beef with the cattle boys out west, from that point on it became the celebratory default dinner choice. You know because as kathy griffin says, she’s Jesus. It couldve started before then now that I think about it…

  6. interesting question …

    i have a few hypotheses:

    steak is a status symbol – back in the day, the cut of meat you ate defined your status. so maybe we cling to the cultural history.

    steakhouses are are usually lively and fun, and not overly romantic, so you don’t feel weird going there with clients or work colleagues.

    and, men just like to eat meat. not long ago, i went to a business pitch at a steakhouse. i was the only women at the table, and i was shocked that when the waiter took the order, everyone ordered these huge steaks and nothing else. i wanted some creamed spinach, but i caved in to peer pressure and just got a hunk of meat, too. it was so weird, yet perfectly normal for them.

  7. Could be that outside of Las Vegas (and maybe one or two spots in Chicago), I think Dallas (including Lonesome Dove in Ft. Worth) has the best steak spots in the country. Add to that the fact that Dallas steak is far more reasonably priced than top spots anywhere else and that is a recipe for a great night out.

    Plus beef is as Texan as big hair, twangy accents and oil.

    By the way, the next person that tells me NY has great steaks should be punched in the mouth. Merry Christmas

  8. People, I never said I went to Ocean Prime to celebrate. I said the conversation came up as I watched people eating steak and celebrating. Ocean Prime is have seafood (OCEAN) and steak (PRIME).

  9. @cbs: I think most got a haircut, the yankees moved in and we lost our accents, and the oil dried up years ago.

    Lets celebrate the better coiffure and accent with a giant haunch of beef. You buying, Nancy?

  10. Damn Yankees come down here and violate the purity of our fine Texas womenfolk.

    The next thing you know they’ll want to own land and vote.

  11. Maybe it was a bad night but on my visit two of the three steaks ordered had to be sent back to be brought to the proper temperature. That didn’t help much as they were so flavorless none of us finished more than half of what was put before us. The rest of the meal was just as uninspired. When the vintage of wine we ordered was not available (it was on the wine list – odd that such a new restaurant would already be out) the waiter tried to get us to accept an off year from the same vineyard. The outdoor patio looked great for next Spring, but the rest of the décor looked like it was designed five years ago. The silk stocking law firms that surround the location should keep the restaurant stocked with customers but don’t expect to see many serious food connoisseurs as repeat customers.