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This is an important consideration which can often either heighten or spoil a dining outing for one, especially if their preference had been known beforehand to a waiter or waitress but was still not fulfilled.
Take SA's passion for steak, for example, and how a deviation in the kitchen from a diner's specification can result in an emotional altercation in the end. When a diner wants his or her meat prepared medium rare, medium to well done or simply well done, it should be done like that without fail.
This is a daily reality for the country's top grillhouses who took part in the recent 2015 Wolftrap Steakhouse Championships, and who are invariably required to serve beef in its most delicious and succulent form.
To ensure consistency of standards among the eateries, master chef Pete Goffe-Wood and his team of judges have been making random calls on the participating steakhouses in the past two months.
Not only were the judges looking out for a damn good piece of wickedly seasoned beef, grilled to perfection, but they were also checking out whether the meat had "good flavours and the right texture". The wine service also had to match up with their steak menu.
Other considerations were whether the waiter or waitress displayed sufficient knowledge when explaining to diners the available beef options and the drinks list, and how diverse the beef selection was.
Goffe-Wood said the competition was a blend of public involvement and expert arbitration, "and the ultimate winner is therefore not only very good indeed, but also a public favourite".
From the line-up, the best of the country's steakhouses who emerged as the 2015 winner is Little Havana in Umhlanga Rocks. The runner-up is The Local Grill in Parktown North, which was the winner twice before.
"Ultimately it was Little Havana's expertise in all matters meat, consistent service and accurate grilling that makes them SA's 2015 Steakhouse Champion," said Goffe-Wood.
The winners were announced at The Local Grill last week amid a showcase of delectable steaks prepared with passion and oozing from crafty grilling and seasoning.
With so much "steak power" present at the occasion, the obvious question to ask some of the steak barons was what drinks to enjoy with the grilled cut. A full-bodied beer goes well with a barbecue steak; a red wine like Shiraz is especially good with a spicy steak.