By Suzanne Corbett

Follow us on Twitter: @STLSportsPage  @Suzanne_Corbett

The countdown has begun. Valentine’s Day is almost here and the scramble is on to get those boxes of candy, flowers and make those last minute dinner reservations. For you last minute cupids out there don't freak out. There’s good news. Since Valentine’s Day falls on Tuesday why not stretch the celebration out for the entire week. That provides some gimme room to make dinner reservations if you can't get in on Feb. 14th. However, that doesn't get you off the hook for Valentine’s Day. So what to do? Cook. Make that 'cook your honey a steak'.

Granted candy is dandy but nothing spells romance love like a steak dinner for two. Plus it’s a win-win – it’s luxurious and easy to cook. Just ask Kuna Foodservice VP of Sales Mike Hyde, who confirms there’s nothing like a tender filet mignon to make your sweetheart happy.

“Filet is the favorite because it is number one for tenderness,” said Hyde whose restaurant clients such as Sam’s Steakhouse, Carmine’s and Tuckers are expecting a brisk business from steak loving couples during Valentine’s Day week. “ Steaks are easy. It’s all about how you prepare and season them.”

Kuna, who celebrates its 100 anniversary this May, knows a thing or two about meat, especially steak. When asked which steaks are best Hyde’s answered, "that depends on what you like.”

Filets, rib-eyes (shown in the photo, right) and strips steaks rule with both chefs and home cooks. 

On the restaurant side, wet-aged steaks are the most popular since the aging process produces a nice flavor profile and tenderness. In comparison, dry-aged steaks, while more expense, produces a complex flavor many carnivores and steak connoisseurs prefer.

Once you choose your steak cut all you have to do is season and cook. The Beef Check-off ( recommends broiling or grilling and offers these few tips. When broiling in an electric oven keep the oven door ajar, otherwise the broiling element may turn off and that steak will bake instead of broil. 

If marinating steaks such as strips and rib eyes allow at least 15 minutes to two hours so the flavor to penetrate the meat. Less tender steak cuts can marinate for 6- 24 hours. Finally, cook your steak to the doneness you like by using a thermometer. Grill or broil to the following temperatures: Medium-rare 145 degrees, Medium 160 degrees and well-done 170 degrees. 

We did an article earlier on how barbecuing steak and with the nice temperatures of late (which of course could change since this is St. Louis), you might consider grilling out. Here's the link to our previous article: How to Make "Grate" Steaks  

“We (Kuna) are open to the public," said Hyde. 

If you do want to cook, and you want to order from Kuna:
Phone: (618) 286-4000. They are located in Dupo, Illinois and their address is: 707 Industrial Dr., Dupo, IL 62239.

At Kuna they definitely know a lot about meat. They've been serving the Midwest since 1918, having started as a small family owned butcher shop, in south St. Louis. Still family-owned, under the third generation leadership of Dan Bippen, that butcher shop has grown and is now the largest independent privately owned foodservice company and steak processor in the St Louis area. 

"You call a day a head and make a custom order, said Mike Hyde.  "Of course if you don't want to cook your own steak I recommend picking your favorite place where you love steak and make a reservation.”

Following some of Mike Hyde’s recommendation here’s my steakhouse short list to consider before taking your sweetie out this Valentine’s Day week.

Six Sizzling Steakhouse Picks for Your Valentine

1: Sam’s *
Located at the crossroads of Gravois and Laclede Station Roads, Sam’s is
bedecked for Valentine’s Day until February 18.Treat your sweet to the house specialty, Prime-Rib rib prepared Sam’s style – seasoned and finished on the grill.

2: Carmine’s *
Located at Drury Plaza Hotel at the Arch, Carmine’s features 21-day aged, hand cut steaks. My Valentine pick is the 24-ounce Porterhouse - the “His and Her” steak, the cut that contains both the strip and tenderloin.

3: 1904 Steakhouse
The turn of the century Gilded Age inspired steakhouse is located at River City Casino and Hotel and offers its beef loving Valentine patrons. It pairs its Prime New York Strips with three additional courses with Chocolate Temptation as its finale.

4: Tucker’s Place *
St. Louis’ own Beef Baron boasting three locations (Soulard, South County, West County) with sweetheart steaks deals on the menu year round. The house signature steak – the filet mignon full meal dinner deal complete with salad and baked potato.

The Tucker's Filet Mignon Dinner is shown, left.

5: Bugatti’s Steak & Pasta
Bugatti's at Ameristar Casino Resort Spa in St. Charles is a sure bet for your beef loving Valentine – a four-course special prix-fixed menus featuring the ultimate lover’s duo, the Surf & Turf combo, a 5-ounce Filet with Fried Skill Island Prawns Steak. The Bugatti's Cowboy Ribeye is shown in photo, left.

6: The Tenderloin Room *

Considered a culinary landmark housed inside the Chase Park Plaza, The Tenderloin Room has served a galaxy of stars from Sinatra to Clooney. Pepperloin a La Tenderloin is the signature steak guests continue to fall in love with year after year.

* Indicates an establishment featuring fine steaks from Kuna.