A far cry from the Chophouse

Whilst the modern day Steakhouse is a far cry from  the Chophouses of London and the fundraising Beefsteak Banquets of 18th Century American politicians it originates from, there are a few iconic elements that have not changed.

The first Chophouses appeared in London in the 17th Century serving local bankers, stock brokers and Lloyd’s workers a hearty midday dinner of beef, mutton, veal, pork or lamb in whatever quantity they pleased and trimmed, “chopped”, as they liked it…thus the “chop” house. Served, of course, with a pint of ale.

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Beefsteak Banquets were generally political events held as candidate fundraisers or to celebrate a recent victory. They got their name from the sliced beef tenderloin that was always served. Each beefsteak was placed on top of a slice of white bread. The tradition was that the slices of bread were not eaten. Rather, they were used as an informal method of scoring how much beef had been eaten.

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Both chophouses and beefsteak banquets were found in London and New York as steak was a luxury only those in the cities could afford. They were also only ever frequented by men and were generally dark and smoky places they escaped to for their midday meal.

Potatoes and creamed spinach were soon added to the menu and became iconic dishes that are the backbone of any worthwhile steakhouse over 100 years later.

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In the late 19th Century Chophouses evolved into ‘steakhouses’ as we know them. They had more upmarket décor, a clubby atmosphere, provided cutlery (!) and were renowned for their excellent staff and service. Suitable even for ladies!

When women got the vote in the early 19th century and started frequenting steakhouses, some items that started to appear on the menu were Hot beverages; Prawn Cocktails; Crumbed Mushrooms and desserts like Apple Pie, Stilton cheese, and Ice cream and Hot Chocolate sauce.

Beer remained the alcoholic beverage of choice until Prohibition and then cocktails were introduced. Wine lists started featuring in the late 1980’s when the high-rollers of Wall and Bond Street required expensive Champagne and magnums of red wines.

But, other than that, not much has changed in the last 100 years. You will find great cuts of meat, creamed spinach, potatoes and apple pie on the menu of any real steakhouse.

Cattle Baron Grill & Bistro is a steakhouse at heart, but we have ‘upped the ante’ with an elegant and sophisticated ambience; top quality speciality steaks; an awesome vegetarian platter; a wide range of fresh seafood and an award winning wine list.

We still remain affordable and offer regular specials. This means that, although we are a far cry from the original Chophouses, we still fulfil the age-old need for a hearty workday lunch or a family dinner. Just add a touch of class!

 

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