Dining in Done Right: Your Guide to Preparing a Restaurant-Quality Meal at Home
Pull out all the stops, impress the family, and enjoy a stellar meal from the comfort of your own kitchen.
There's something so special about dining out that can be hard to pinpoint; the food just tastes so perfect, but the truth is that same quality is totally achievable at home. Bring the restaurant vibe to your own kitchen or dining room by following our carefully curated menu. Start the meal with a beautiful cocktail, worthy of a spot on any drinks menu, and a shared appetizer. Continue the dining experience with a delightful salad, the crispiest and creamiest smashed potatoes, and a rib-eye steak, a cut that feels a bit more elegant than what you probably prepare more regularly at home. Finish this perfect meal with a tangy dessert complete with restaurant-worthy garnishes. Don't forget to compliment the chef and tip the dishwasher!
Remember that you don't have to be a chef to cook this outstanding menu in your own kitchen. Executing a restaurant-worthy meal is about more than ambience or beautiful plating—it's just about planning and taking a few little extra steps that barely take any time at all. And if you want to nail the five-star plating you love from the restaurant experience, we have some tips: Remember that presentation is paramount. Whether you're serving the meal family-style or on individual plates, freshen up your styling skills with our food stylist's tips to plating meals.
Pink Gin Martini
Rather than go right into the meal, restaurant dinners often start with a cocktail or glass of wine—something to spark our appetites and settle us into the environment. The signature drink for this meal is a pink gin martini that shakes up the classic by combining herbal gin with cherry liqueur and angostura bitters in lieu of vermouth and olives. If you or your fellow diners aren't gin fans, swap in vodka.
Herby Shrimp and Feta Bake
While sipping on your blush-hued cocktail, sample a shared appetizer with your family (otherwise known as your fellow dinner guests). This appetizer checks out as a restaurant-level dish—it has a little spin that catches your eye, a saffron marinade, and a generous amount of fresh herbs, something chef's love. Serve the bake with a basket of toasted crusty baguette; just like in a restaurant, wrap the bread in a linen to keep it warm.
Seared Rib-Eye Steak with Smashed Potatoes
One thing a good restaurant nails every time is perfectly cooked steak. It's no surprise because they have tried and tested techniques, the same ones used in our seared rib-eye recipe. The secret is to sear the steak in a pan until golden brown on the outside and then finish cooking it gently in the oven. And there's more: Finish the steak with a generous dollop of butter, an ingredient chefs aren't afraid of. Here, we use a dollop of a fancy yet easy-to-make scallion butter. Another trick borrowed from restaurant chefs? Parboil the potatoes before roasting them—the insides will be super creamy and outsides crisp.
Note: This recipe is for two, but easily doubles or triples to serve four or six.
Radicchio Salad with Chopped-Lemon Dressing
A properly dressed salad is the first skill restaurant chefs must master in the kitchen. Make the vinaigrette dressing in advance and soak the radicchio in cold water to prevent bitterness and keep the leaves crisp. Once everything is ready to go, all you have to do is toss right before serving. Whatever you, don't forget to season with salt and pepper!
Lime Pudding Cups
This dessert is the perfect finish to a restaurant-quality meal. The pudding is chilled in advance and the dish is served to order in individual cups, just like when you dine out. Remember—as any good pastry chef would—to garnish the cups with whipped cream, graham cracker crumbs, and pretty green lime zest for color, flavor, and crunch right before serving. If you want to take it a notch up, bake your favorite cookie and crumble that on top instead of store-bought graham crackers.