I have gone to the finest restaurant I could afford, spent close to $100 for a steak dinner and still haven't eaten a steak as good as what follows. The best thing about it is ANYONE can do it, it's a hell of a lot cheaper and it will be the best steak you ever had. Mastering this (even if you are a vegan) will score points and your guests will go home quite satisfied.
Getting the right cut
This is the most important part of the whole process. Unless the supermarket you shop at has a great meat department with full time butchers then find a butchery that the only thing they sell is meat. Make sure the store is neat, clean and smells good. If your nose doesn't like it neither will your guts.
First, make sure you purchase Angus steak. My favorite cut is rib eye and if you don't know anything about cuts of meat try this one first. Rib eye is a good first time choice for a number of reasons: It's tender and very flavorful.
It is important that you get cuts that have lots of "marbling" and white flecks throughout the cut. This marbling is what gives it great flavor. Unfortunately, finding steak with this is not as easy as it used to be so you might need to shop around. Make sure the butcher cuts the rib eye no less than 1.5 inches thick. Two inch thick rib eye steaks are great.
Note: If you can purchase aged rib eye then you have a magnificent piece of meat. This will be more expensive but well worth the money.
Before you cook it
First a word about cleanliness.
As a general rule when cooking with meat of any kind, use bleach to clean your granite counter tops and just about anything that comes in contact with meat at anytime before you start. It doesn't matter if it is steak or poultry or whatever. Just do it: Your ass and guts will thank you.
Before cooking your steak take it out of the refrigerator and let it warm up to room temperature. You DO NOT want to go directly from the refrigerator and into the pan. Many cooks do this but DON'T be tempted to do it. Warming the raw rib eye should take approx 20-30 minutes at the most. Make sure you keep it covered. If you do not do let the steaks warm up to room temperature, then you will have a ruined steak regardless.
After it has come up to room temperature you will need two things; your favorite cooking oil and pepper that you can hand grind. The cooking oil you want to use is grape seed oil. Something like olive oil will burn and impart an unpleasant flavor to the steak. Don't use cheap shit.
Coat the steak on both sides with the oil and grind pepper to taste on both sides as well. Put the steak on a platter and get out your favorite stove top grill or cast iron pan...the bigger the better. Do not put any oil in the pan, put it on a burner and get it hot enough to start smoking but no hotter. This is important to do.
Once your pan starts smoking place your steak into the pan on one side. It should sizzle the second it touches the pan. If you don't hear the sizzle you have screwed up somehow because the pan is not hot enough. What you are wanting to do here is to sear the steak on both sides about 1/8th to 1/4 inch deep on a 1 1/2 inch or thicker steak. In other words, not very deep at all. You want the outside of the steak to be a golden brown. I have done this enough times that I know when to turn the steak by the way it sounds while cooking in the pan. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes depending on your altitude.
Next, (and this is important) take the cooked steaks out of the pan, don't turn off the burner and place it on a clean platter and let it "rest". During its resting period it will "bleed" its juices. Let it rest for 5 minutes or less. Then take the those juices that have left the steak and pour them into the pan and mix it with a small amount of balsamic vinegar. Cook this for a minute or so and then pour this over the steak.
Serve the steak!
Sure, you can serve the rib eye with a mung bean or alfalfa sprout salad but for me I serve it with the best burgundy I can find, a baked potato with sour cream and minced green onions. A two inch thick steak with a baked white rose potato is a hearty meal.
Congratulations, you have just cooked the best steak you can eat.