A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (3/24)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (3/24)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (3/24)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (3/24)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (3/24)
More new entries...

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z


Entry from July 27, 2009
“How did you find your steak?” (joke)

"How did you find your steak, sir?” a waiter asks a customer. The waiter wants to know if the steak had been cooked to the customer’s liking (How did you find your steak cooked)—and, of course, the waiter wants to get the customer’s attention for any tips.

“I moved a pea and some parsley, and there it was!” replies the customer, joking that the portion of steak was so tiny it could barely be found on the plate.

The old joke dates to at least 1893.


27 February 1893, Inter Ocean (Chicago, IL), pg. 4:
Waiter—How did you find your steak, sir?
Guest—Blamed if I know how I did find it, it was so small.—Detroit Free Press.

Google Books
March 1893, The Travelers Record, pg. 8, col. 2:
Microscopic.—Waiter—“How did you find your steak, sir?” Guest—“Don’t know; I’m as much puzzled how I did as you are.”

18 December 1911, Trenton (NJ) Evening News, pg. 13:
NOT A PORTERHOUSE.
“How did you find your steak, sir?” inquired the expectant waiter, as he held out his hand to receive a tip.

“Only by dogged perseverance,” replied the guest. “The chef hid it under a Brussels sprout to keep it hot.”—Youth’s Companion.

Australian Newspapers
26 August 1916, The Argus (Melbourne, Australia), pg. 6,col. 4:
From the restaurant patron comes the bitter cry that “portions” are getting small by degrees, and most unbeautifully less. It is time to revive the old story of the luncher who was asked by the smiling manager—“And how did you find the steak, sir?” “Oh,” returned the customer, nonchalantly, “I just pushed aside a potato and there the little fellow was!”

Google News Archive
16 November 1929, Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald, pg. 12, col. 2:
“And how did you find the steak, sir?” asked the waiter. “I found it hiding under a brussels sprout, the cute little thing,” replied the customer.

Google News Archive
13 February 1944, St. Petersburg (FL) Times, pg. 27, col. 2:
“How did you find your steak?” the waiter asked Georgia Carroll. “Just luck,” she replied. “I happened to move that small piece of potato, and there it was!”

Google News Archive
1 October 1954, The Argus (Melbourne, Australia), pg. 10, col. 4:
Waiter—And how did you find the steak, sir?
Man—Just by luck. I happened to move the tomato and there it was!

Google News Archive
20 January 1966, Free Lance Star (Fredericksburg, VA), pg. 14, col. 2:
Waiter: How did you find your steak, sir?
Diner: Just by accident. I moved a couple of peas— and there it was.

23 March 1969, Chicago (IL) Tribune, “Customers Just Love to Hate Restaurant Men” by Will Leonard, pg. F13:
Waiter: “How did you find your steak, sir?”
Customer: “I just moved that tiny piece of potato, and there it was.”

Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette
Steak lovers in Manhattan graze on some of the best and the biggest
Thursday, March 06, 2003
By Woodene Merriman, Post-Gazette Senior Editor
(...)
The late Groucho Marx would have to come up with a new wisecrack, too, if he frequented these steakhouses.

On the walls of Lindy’s, another old New York eatery, it’s recorded:

Lindy’s waiter: “How did you find your steak, sir?”

Groucho Marx: “Quite by accident. Actually. I moved the slice of tomato and there it was, underneath.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Monday, July 27, 2009 • Permalink