A more than 150-year-old New York culinary (and customarily, overly masculine) tradition comes back to life this weekend at the Culinary Institute of America in the form of an all-you-can eat, steak-and-beer-filled beefsteak dinner party.
In its sixth year, the CIA Beefsteak dinner is an exuberant revival of the popular pre-and-post-prohibition gatherings characterized by succulent sirloins and other meats, glamorous Jazz Age dress, and an entire lack of utensils. Provided with aprons and butcher hats, Beefsteak attendees are encouraged to eat with their hands, as the original Beefsteak parties allowed for men to free themselves of standard dining etiquette imposed at home.
Related – History of a Dish: The Beefsteak
The event was traditionally men-only until the Nineteenth Amendment granted women suffrage, which, coincidentally, is when the custom began to adopt a more upscale atmosphere, a wider-ranging menu, and the use of utensils. Of course, the CIA’s Beefsteak welcomes everyone to dig into a lavish assortment of sirloins, oysters, mini-burgers, and more. Attendees are encouraged to dress to the nines in their favorite Prohibition-style outfits. Plus, a brass band completes the scene with Beefsteak-era tunes and a sing-a-long at intermission.
Some highlights from the coming menu on Saturday, February 2 are roasted oysters, shrimp, mini-burgers, sirloin steak, and crisp and refreshing beer from The Brewery at the CIA. While, as a New Yorker article from 1939 boasts, the original Beefsteaks allowed entrées for as little as $5 (translating to around $80 in today’s dollars), the CIA’s ticket is $150. Of course, any event of this size at a venue of the Institute’s culinary stature will surely be a memorable night filled with revelry and fun. Did we mention you get to dress in your flapper finest?