No Redeeming Quality: Steak Redemption at Earl’s

I’m quite gullible when it comes to ads, commercials, and promotions. I never seem to be able to resist being seduced by the obviously-dressed-up-but-nonetheless-mouthwatering food pics in online and print media ads. Once I see the ads, I get an instant, overwhelming urge to visit the restaurant or store named in the ads.  The same applies for menu inserts and supplements at chain restaurants. As soon as I see the pornographic close-ups of whatever menu item being promoted, I instantly become mad with food lust and proceed to order the item.

Earl’s took a dual-pronged approach in promoting their ‘steak redemption’ event. First they bombard you with posters without pictures.

Then they give you a menu supplement with pictures (which I forgot to take a picture of). As you can see from the posters (or maybe can’t see), they make some bold and enticing claims. I totally identify with the red poster; I’ve had way too many ‘meh’ steaks at steakhouses. I was totally ready for a ‘mmm’ steak. I was in need of a steak redemption – especially when the steak was of the bone-in, 16 oz. variety.

I was a little surprised by the thinness of the steak when it arrived. Usually, if a restaurant serves a 16 oz. steak, they concentrate the 16 ounces into a compact and thick cut. The thick cut has the benefits of being more flavorful, juicier, and giving the diner more concentrated beef flavours in every bite. Thinner steaks are usually served by non-steak-focused restaurants who are not equipped with ovens with high enough temperatures to deal with thicker steaks…which…I guess…is a category of restaurants Earl’s belongs to.

I really shouldn’t worry. The white poster said that they have, “identified the perfect combination of thickness and higher heat cooking…”.

My first cut into the steak revealed that it was cooked perfectly to my specified temperature of medium rare. The meat was red but not raw. It was not as firm to cut through as the slightly more firm medium temperature and it did not have as much fiber and fat resistance to the knife than the slightly less cooked rare temperature.

My first bite into the first piece that I cut off of the thin 16 ouncer revealed that the steak was very well-spiced. It was so ‘well spiced’ that my taste buds registered mostly salt, pepper, and spice flavours; I could hardly detect any beefy flavours at all. Like it is sometimes with wine, I had to leave my second bite of steak in my mouth a little longer and mix it with a bit of oxygen to tease out its beefy flavours. Once I started to get hints of beef, I began to regret ordering the steak. I did not detect the sweet, grain-fed, fat-interspersed, and high-quality meat I expected from a redeeming steak. I detected flat, skinny, and lower-end-chain-quality beef.

The steak was a huge disappointment. In no way did it have any redeeming qualities. In fact, after eating it, I felt that I really needed a steak redemption. The steak was totally not a ‘mmm’ steak. It was a ‘meh’ steak. The steak even tasted worse than the minimally-aged Canadian-prime beef from Costco that I regularly put on my backyard grill. My faith in the high standards of local chains diminished by about 5% after this meal. Besides another steak redemption, I think I am also in need of a local chain redemption.

Earls Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

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