Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Love and Heartache with Steak

My brother at rkadetokens usually does the restaurant reviews. He gets out much, I do not. However, I was able to go out on a hot date with my husband celebrating 5 years of marriage and I learned a few things I really wanted to share.

Since I don't get out much I really wanted to pick THE RESTAURANT. THE RESTAURANT had to be affordable for us poor folks, yet special. I spent a good part of the day going through all of the restaurant options on restaurant.com. It is a handy little site where, for example, you can purchase a 25 dollar gift certificate for the price of 3 dollars to their selection of local restaurants. It is a great way to save money on a nice restaurant. None of them grabbed me though. I wanted a really good steak.

Lo and behold it turns out it was restaurant week in Arizona. That means (check your city for the same thing) that once a year all of the high class restaurants offer a 3 course meal for 29 to 39 dollars a person. I was so excited to learn that our anniversary fell on such an event. There are about 140 restaurants offered. I researched their 3 course menus and locations. I found a steakhouse called Monti's. It is not a franchise. Their menu looked amazing: appetizer, steak, and then dessert. Then I came across The Keg restaurant. It seemed that they offered more sides and such with your main course than any other option. The frugal and hungry side of me thought that was the best option.

A quick glance at Yelp.com told me they had great reviews and were known for their prime rib. I ordered the Iceberg wedge for an appetizer. This is common for a steakhouse to offer, but funny since it probably costs about 50 cents to make. I always love me an iceberg lettuce wedge covered in bacon slices, tomatoes, and bleu cheese dressing (the good stuff). My husband ordered the garlic cheesy shrimp. I was grateful after 5 years of marriage we had learned to share.

The main course was much anticipated. I ordered the 12 oz new york strip steak. My husband who apparently grew up in a barn (the kind without cows) ordered the Prime Rib thinking it was just a fancy name for a steak. After laughing at his confusion when our plates arrived I dived into my steak. "Sigh"....it was just average. After all of my research I had landed us in an expensive Sizzlers. There was absolutely nothing special about my steak. In fact, my husband said I had made better at home which means it was REALLY not good to him. His prime rib was tender, pink, and offered with Au jus sauce just as it should. However, the poor thing was just average was well. They both came with twice baked potatoes which were good. Good was the word of the night. After 5 years of marriage I wanted to be blown away with this amazing expensive steak house. Sadly, I was not. We finished with our creme brulee dessert and contemplated where we went wrong.

Here is what I have decided you should get from my experience:

1. When given the choice between a local, native, "mom and pop" type restaurant vs a franchise, always always go with the local non-franchise choice. Therefore I should of picked Monti's.

2. I really need to stay away from medium- well, that will toughen up any steak, but the pink scares me a little.

3. I had my choice of a chipotle seasoned steak. If I thought my plain steak was boring I should stay away from plain steak! Duh right?

4. Expensive doesn't always mean tasty.

What tips do you have for avoiding the expensive "average" meal?


  1. That's a tough one. We usually go to our tried and true favorites and we avoid franchises unless they are exceptionally good. At least you had a night out together.

  2. I ask the server what dish I will regret not having if I don't order it today, sometimes that reveals a hidden gem.

  3. I thought I already left a comment on this post? Am I being censored? Anyway, my tip is that sometimes if you ask the server what item you will regret not having eaten if you don't order it, you can find the secret specialty of the restaurant. Also, pay attention to the menu descriptions, sometimes something might look good, but the description reveals it is being prepared in a way that won't taste very good.


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