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(Family Features) Bring the delicious tastes of a traditional steakhouse to your own dining room with simple steps that make it easier than you might expect to please a room full of hungry guests.
According to a survey conducted by Idahoan, 86 percent of Americans have avoided going out to eat at a restaurant for reasons such as crowds, bad service and noise. Instead of suffering through the inconveniences, ditch those concerns and bring steakhouse flavor home – an experience 79 percent of survey respondents said they wish was easier to recreate in their own dining room.
Set the table
Rather than plating food with any old dishware, break out your nicest dishes and set the table the way a restaurant would. Remember: forks on the left, knives on the right. Pull out the linen napkins for an added upscale feel. Properly setting the table instantly gives your kitchen or dining room the feel of heading out to a restaurant.
Change the mood
Most fancy steakhouses keep the lights dimmed low, so find creative ways to mimic that ambiance at home. If you don’t have a dimmer switch, invest in a smart bulb that lets you easily convert a standard fixture into a custom light in minutes. Or skip the overhead lighting altogether and instead dine by lamp or candlelight. It’ll change the way your dining room traditionally looks by setting a scene that more closely matches that of a restaurant.
Also try turning on your group’s favorite music to change up the audible impression of the night. It doesn’t need to sound like a rock concert – just give the room some subtle liveliness with soft tunes playing in the background.
Dress the part
Another way to change the atmosphere is to ask friends and family who attend to dress in more formal clothing. Simply acting as if everyone is out on the town can help bring an elevated sense of gaiety to the room.
Start with soups
Much like in a traditional steakhouse, please your guests’ palates at the start of the meal with a warm soup. Idahoan Premium Steakhouse Potato Soups – which bring together real Idaho red potatoes, flavorful spices and rich cheeses in four varieties – provide a creamy taste in every spoonful, perfect for giving your “customers” a restaurant experience from the comfort of home.
According to the survey, Americans are more likely to order a potato soup at a steakhouse than other flavors like crab bisque or broccoli cheddar, making potato soup, which can be prepared in only five minutes, an obvious option to serve prior to the main course.
After everyone has their fill of a creamy pre-meal soup, pile their plates with a savory meat and side dishes. A popular combination of a home-cooked steak with mashed potatoes and asparagus can easily do the trick for those who come with a big appetite.
Be sure everyone leaves a little bit of room after the hearty meal to top it all off with something simple and sweet. With the evening winding down by this point, a scoop of cool, creamy ice cream should cap off the meal perfectly.
Details Make the Difference
Dining out is as much about the experience as it is delicious food. That’s why when you’re creating a restaurant-like meal at home, every detail counts. The little touches go a long way toward making your meal extra special.
Presentation: When serving starters like soups, present bowls plated on a saucer and be sure to include a soup spoon on the side. For the main course, take care to create attractive dishes rather than simply mounding food on the plate.
Garnish: Remember that eating is a multi-sensory experience and making food look great is the first step toward making your guests’ taste buds sing. Accent plates with a sprig of parsley or a seared wedge of citrus. For a savory, cheesy potato soup, sprinkle some freshly grated cheese over top just before serving and add a pinch of scallions for a pop of color.
Service: Take a cue from well-trained servers. Be ready with refills for depleted drinks and clear empty dishes promptly.
For more delicious ideas for creating the ideal dinner at home, visit Idahoan.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (family eating dinner)