'Delmonico' vs 'Ribeye Steak': What's the Difference?

By Katie Moore, updated on October 4, 2023

‘Delmonico’ vs ‘Ribeye Steak’: What’s the difference? Learning new vocabulary is an excellent way to expand your knowledge of the world as well. Whether you’re an aspiring chef or a fan of a good steak, this article will help you get to the meaty center of these confusing culinary terms. 

In a hurry? Here’s a quick preview of what’s to come:

  • ‘Delmonico’ is a word that refers to a thick cut of steak
  • ‘Ribeye Steak’ is a word that refers to a bone-in or boneless rib steak

What’s the Difference Between ‘Delmonico’ vs ‘Ribeye Steak’?

The primary difference between these two terms is where they come from — not necessarily in word origin, but in their physical location on a cow. 

  • A ‘Delmonico’ steak comes from the loin of a cow while the ‘Ribeye Steak’ comes from, you guessed it, the ribs of a cow.

As with many other animal meats, the difference in location means different meat textures and levels of tenderness when cooked. 

One thing that is important to note is that ‘Delmonico’ steak is sometimes referred to as a type of ‘Ribeye Steak.’ 

  • This is because the area where the meat is cut from — the longissimus dorsi — is the conjunction of the ribs and the loin.

While this makes for an excellent cut of meat, it’s also what leads to confusion between this particular cut and other ‘Ribeyes.’ So, to avoid confusion, remember that ‘Ribeye Steak’ is the primary rib-cut meat. Meanwhile ‘Delmonico’ is “down the middle,” which you can remember with the letters ‘d’ and ‘m’ that appear in the word ‘Delmonico’.

Now that we’ve learned a bit about how to compare these steaks, let’s learn more juicy details about ‘Delmonico’ vs ‘Ribeye Steak’ individually. 

Definition of ‘Delmonico’: What Does it Mean?

According to Oxford Languages, ‘Delmonico’ is a noun that means:

  • A small steak cut from the front section of the short loin of beef
    • “The fancy restaurant served Delmonico steak.”
  • A steak sourced from the 13th rib of a beef animal 

Other Names for ‘Delmonico’

  • Chuck eye steak
  • Boneless ribeye
  • Chuck filet steak 

What is a ‘Delmonico’ Steak?

This particular cut of steak originated and was made popular in the 19th century by Delmonico’s Restaurant, which was one of the first restaurants with a made-to-order menu. The Swedish brothers, John and Peter, who arrived from Switzerland, were the ones to create the dish along with other famous recipes such as:

  • Delmonico potatoes
  • Baked Alaska
  • Eggs Benedict
  • Chicken a la king

While the modern ‘Delmonico’ style refers to rib cuts, the original cut of meat is up for debate. Regardless, the steak was always a thick cut, routinely being anywhere from two to three inches thick when cooked. 

The ‘Delmonico’ steak can be served a variety of ways but is best prepared either using a reverse sear technique or a sous vide. It is typically prepped with a dry salt and pepper rub for simplicity, given the meat’s tender marbled insides. 

Definition of ‘Ribeye Steak’: What Does it Mean?

According to Oxford Languages, ‘Ribeye Steak’ is a noun that means:

  • A cut of beef from the outer side of the ribs
    • “He ordered the restaurant's largest ribeye.”
  • A boneless or bone-in cut of meat taken from the cow’s beef rib

Other Names for ‘Ribeye Steak’

  • Spencer cut
  • Beauty steak
  • Scotch fillet
  • Whiskey fillet
  • Sarket steak

What is a ‘Ribeye Steak’?

The origin of the name ribeye likely came from the meat’s location at the center or “eye” of the cow’s ribs. It is known as the best portion of rib steak, particularly when the bone is removed.

  • It comes from a place where the cow is rich in intramuscular fat, meaning when the cow moves, it creates the prime marbling that makes the meat more tender when cooked. 

Because it has a higher fat content than most other cuts of steak, the ‘Ribeye Steak’ is one of the most sought-after steaks — second only to filet mignon. While you can buy cheaper quality cuts at the store, some ‘Ribeye Steaks’ are sold for around $200 a steak both online and in some exclusive restaurants. 

Since ‘Ribeye Steak’ is a tender cut of meat, it is best when cooked in high-heat scenarios like grilling. While it can be done in an oven, grilling is the best way to maintain juiciness. 

  • Also, letting the steak rest after cooking is the best way to avoid chewiness in this thicker cut. 

Pronunciations: How to Pronounce ‘Delmonico’ vs ‘Ribeye Steak’

We don’t only use new words when writing. We use them when we speak as well. Let’s get you ready to order these dishes at a restaurant and make sure you feel confident pronouncing these cuts of steak aloud

Use this phonetic spelling of ‘Delmonico’ as a guide:

  • ‘Del-mah-nih-ko’ (the ‘mo’ sound is wide as in the word “raw,” but the final ‘o’ is round like “lone”) 

Use this phonetic spelling of ‘Ribeye Steak’ as a guide:

  • ‘Ri-bai Stay-k’ (the ‘b’ helps emphasize the high ‘i’ sound in “eye,” and the ‘a’ is what’s highlighted in the word ‘steak’) 

How to Use ‘Delmonico’ vs ‘Ribeye Steak’ in a Sentence

The final step to mastering these meats is feeling comfortable using the words on your own terms. Use the example sentences below to get a sense of how these words can appear in a variety of contexts, and then practice using them in your own sentences. 

‘Delmonico’ Example Sentences 

  • Delmonico’s still has locations today, but the original family-owned location of the restaurant shut down in 1923. 
  • He ordered his Delmonico steak to be cooked medium rare because he knew that would make it the juiciest. 
  • We tried making the famous Delmonico potatoes which include mashed potatoes covered in cheese that are re-baked to be melted. 

‘Ribeye Steak’ Example Sentences

  • My dad loves to grill, so for his birthday, we ordered him a box of frozen wagyu ribeye steaks that he could season and cook himself. 
  • Ribeye steaks can be cooked boneless or bone-in, but the boneless cuts are typically higher grade. 
  • Her family doubted she could finish the whole ribeye steak by herself, but she cleaned the plate, including the sides. 

‘Delmonico’ vs ‘Ribeye Steak’ Example Sentences

  • There is still debate whether a Delmonico steak comes from the loin or if it is technically a ribeye steak
  • Only certain high-end restaurants serve Delmonico, but many will sell a good ribeye steak

Final Advice on ‘Delmonico’ vs ‘Ribeye Steak’

New vocabulary will not only increase your word knowledge but your knowledge of the world around you as well. We hope you feel equipped to tackle a five-star menu and that you have a better sense of how to prepare and serve some high-quality meats. Remember, though, that there are other cuts to consider and that different beef cattle have their own tastes as well. 

Need a recap? Let’s review what we covered: 

  • ‘Delmonico’ is a noun that refers to a thick cut of steak made popular by the Delmonico brothers. 
  • ‘Ribeye Steak’ is a noun that refers to any steak from the side of the cow’s rib that is marbled and tender.

Ready to keep connecting your vocabulary to the outside world? Be sure to read other confusing word articles that go beyond definitions and connect your learning to culture and history. Language and writing bring us together, and in this case, they might bring you to a restaurant.

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Written By:
Katie Moore
Katie is a recent graduate of Occidental College where she worked as a writer and editor for the school paper while studying linguistics and journalism. She loves helping others find their voice in writing and making their work the strongest it can be. Katie also loves learning and speaking other languages and wants to help make writing accessible for everyone.

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