Beef tartare is a meat dish made from finely chopped or minced raw beef or horsemeat. It is often served with onions, capers and seasonings (the latter typically incorporating fresh ground pepper and Worcestershire sauce), sometimes with a raw egg yolk, and often on rye bread.
The name is a shortening of the original “à la tartare” or “served with tartar sauce,” a dish popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The modern version of steak tartare with raw egg was first served in French restaurants early in the 20th century. What is now generally known as “steak tartare” was then called steack à l’Americaine. Steak tartare was a variation on that dish; the 1921 edition of Escoffier’s Le Guide Culinaire defines it as steack à l’Americaine made without egg yolk, served with tartar sauce on the side.
Over time, the distinction between steack à l’Americaine and its variant disappeared. The 1938 edition of Larousse Gastronomique describes steak tartare as raw ground beef served with a raw egg yolk, without any mention of tartar sauce.
Although the word ‘tartare’ presumably refers to the Tatar people of Central Asia, and there are many stories connecting steak tartare with them, steak tartare is not related to Tatar cuisine.The name ‘tartare’ is now sometimes applied to other meats or fish, such as tuna tartare, introduced in 1975 by the restaurant Le Duc in Paris.
From the menu of The Chase (Toronto): Beef tartare with horseradish, quail egg, buttermilk, pickled chanterelles and crispy shallots, to match with a glass of Bine Longhe Soave Classico Doc