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What is Delmonico Steak?

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  • Written By: Cassie L. Damewood
  • Edited By: Lucy Oppenheimer
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2016
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Delmonico steak is typically considered to be a high quality beef steak. Though there is some dispute over what constitutes a Delmonico steak, most agree that it's a cut of beef taken from the top loin section of a cow. Like many cuts of meat, the thickness of this particular cut varies. It may be one inch (about 2.54 cm) thick or three inches (about 7.62 cm), for example. It's prepared in all the common ways most top class steaks are prepared. It can be broiled, grilled or pan seared, and some cooks use a combination of these methods.

This type of steak is not too hard to find — most markets and most restaurants provide Delmonico cuts of steak. Those markets and restaurants may, however, call it by a different name. Some people consider club steaks, chuck-eye steaks, and top loin steaks to be Delmonico steaks. The best way to get around this issue of nomenclature is to ask the butcher or server to describe the characteristics of the steak. There is one problem with this solution, however, and that lies in the fact that there is great dispute over what exactly is a Delmonico steak.

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Not only is there dispute over whether a Delmonico steak is a bone-in or boneless variety, there's also dispute over where this piece of beef is located on a cow. Some claim that cuts of beef from the chuck area of the cow — the upper part nearest the head of the cow — others claim Delmonico steaks come from the rib or loin area.

Since the name of the Delmonico steak comes from Giovanni Del-Monico's restaurant in New York, it's probably most apt to follow the chefs's definition that prepared the steak at the restaurant. That steak was boneless and came from the top loin section of the cow; but it didn't come from any part of the top loin section, it came from that part of the top loin section nearest the short loin section of the cow. For this reason, a Delmonico steak can be said to be the first boneless top loin steak.

Most culinary sources also cite marbling as a distinguishing characteristic of this cut of beef. That marbling, many meat experts argue, enhances the flavor and juiciness of the meat.

The recommended doneness for a Delmonico steak, like many top quality steaks, is commonly medium rare. A considerable number of recipes caution against overcooking the Delmonico steak as this may cause it to lose a significant amount of flavor and tenderness. Popular seasonings for steak generally include salt, pepper or special spice blends designed to accent the taste of beef.

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