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Airline magazines typically have at least one list of "Top Ten Steak Houses" in America. Each of these claims to serve the best, most delicious, most tender, most nutritious steak in the land. Let's consider and compare a few of them.

(1) Martin's Protestant Steak Joint is a simple restaurant but with high standards. It serves a variety of steaks, but all come from the finest cows in America. All beef is prepared medium rare. The atmosphere is simple and rugged. You get a fork, a knife, a spoon, and one napkin. Water, iced tea, and coffee are available, but no intoxicating beverages (however, non-alcoholic beer is available). A-1 steak sauce, as well as Ketchup, are available on request, although they are not recommended. Martin believes that the full flavor of the beef can only be enjoyed when the steak is eaten plain, with perhaps a slight sprinkling of salt and/or pepper. Only two additional items are served, both a la carte: baked potato and a house salad. Dessert is one scoop of plain vanilla ice-cream.

Table manners are at your discretion. Be yourself, but please don't eat with your fingers.

(2) Byzantine Beef Palace is anything but simple. Lit candles are found on each table, in the bathroom, and at the cashier's desk. The walls of the restaurant are covered with countless pictures of great cowboys of the past such as Roy Rogers, Wild Bill Hickock, and even John Wayne. All beef is served medium. You get two forks, two knives, two spoons, three napkins, whether you need them or not. Every imaginable beverage is available. You may garnish your steak with sauteéd mushrooms, melted butter, fried onion rings, or even have it wrapped in bacon. The steak comes with the potato of your choice, plain, butter, sour cream, chives, or anything imaginable that you might want on it! Fresh vegetables, salad, rice pilaf, the list is seemingly endless. The owners of the Byzantine Beef Palace insist that you fill your plate. Don't ask that your steak be cooked at anything other than medium. The Byzantine Beef Palace insists that their steaks have always been cooked that way and they have no intention of changing. After all, it's not really beef if it is prepared differently.

Table manners are essential. Instructions on how to use the cutlery are available on the back of the menu.

(3) St. Peter's Catholic Cuisine prides itself as much on atmosphere as food. All servers are exquisitely attired in white robes. They will be happy to answer your questions, and you will undoubtedly have several, for the menu is written in Latin. Their steaks are all marinated and served medium-well. A steak served any other way is simply not a real steak. The side items and beverages are virtually identical to those provided by the Byzantine Beef Palace, but whatever you do, don't mention that you ever ate at the other establishment. Otherwise you may be escorted from the building before you can finish your meal.

The proprietors of St. Peter's believe that you must slice your steak one bite at a time. The Byzantine Beef Palace believes the only proper way to eat a steak is to slice all the pieces before eating any of them. Martin's Steak Joint couldn't care less, as long as you enjoy your meal!

The owners of Martin's recently ran an ad in the local newspaper informing the public that St. Peter's wasn't serving steak after all: it may taste like steak, it might look like steak, but it was really pork. The Byzantine Beef Palace countered by insisting that whereas Martin's may well be serving a real steak from a real cow, without the proper side items it loses virtually all its nutritional value. St. Peter's only response was: It doesn't really matter, because we're the only steak house in town anyway!