Steakhouse: Beefsteak Banquets
The steakhouse, like Colonial Williamsburg, is part of American history. I mean this literally, as both places have roots in the Old World Of Europe. The steakhouse as we know it, including our Williamsburg Steakhouse Restaurant, are part of a cultural phenomenon that is indigenous to America. Many things have converged to define the modern steakhouse, but one historical anchor of note are the beefsteak banquets.
One of the origins of the steakhouse..Beefsteak Banquet
Until I began writing this article, I had never heard of a beefsteak banquet, let alone connected it as one of the origin points of the modern American Steakhouse. Instantly though, I was intrigued by a beefsteak banquet. It sounded suspiciously like a steak banquet, and all I can say to that is…sign me up.
Thousands of pounds of Steak
Beefsteak Banquets were 18th century political rally and fundraiser food blowouts. And the guest of honor, besides the candidate, was STEAK. These food blowouts featured an all you can eat meat fest garnered with beer. I read that thousands, yes thousands of pounds of steak and hamburger were consumed at these. I do not need to be a history major to know that steak was a coveted item that drew Americans in.
Is Steak Finger Food?
Well these beefsteak banquets served small slices of quality beef that were meant to be eaten with your hands. Sort of like an ultra rugged appetizer for the working class man of the North. Some would scowl at this as not proper, but I think it is just one more way to enjoy it. The smaller slices of beef are thinner than a thick Fireside steak so you really do not need the utensils.
They chose steak
I mean they could have chosen a seafood banquet, beer banquet, or the like. They chose steak and beef. To be honest, if I were alive at the time period you couldn’t keep me away from one of these, whether I like the candidate or not. I wish they would bring this tradition back. In fact they kind of have. I guess today this would be a cookout for the candidate. The only thing more intriguing about this is that the focus is around the beef, not just a cookout with multiple meats and sides.
I have seen these small slices of beef in different forms on different menus and as part of different cooking styles. I have seen them served at wedding banquets on a roll. I have seen some restaurants feature these as the main course calling them beef tenderloins or beef tornadoes.
Fireside Chophouse Steak….
As one of Williamsburg’s Oldest Steakhouses, come join us for your own personal “beefsteak banquet.” Granted you will order one high quality steak, but the spirit of this American tradition is present in this iconic restaurant style.