Friday, May 23, 2008

Steak talk, not Reds talk

So the Reds lose again, blowing a 2-0 lead. At least Dusty proved he is alive because he got thrown out. Not that it mattered because the ump had already thrown out Edwin Encarnacion and gotten into the head of the Reds pitchers. By the time he stood up for his team it was too late to make a difference. Had he stood up in the first few innings, things might have been different. Dusty can clearly not manage an entire season but until he proves he can coach one game without messing up, I am going to remove myself from following them too close. That is all about the Reds until they play a good game. With Dusty at the helm, it may be a few weeks.

UPDATE: Dusty has been suspended for two games because he made contact with the ump before getting tossed. Here comes a two game winning streak.

Now I want to talk a little about steak houses. i have been very fortunate recently to have been to four amazing steak houses: Bones in Atlanta, Peter Luger's in New York, and Pat's and Jeff Ruby's in Louisville. This is like going to Yankee Stadium, Fenway, Wrigley, and Camden yards within a month. Let me break them down in four categories: Food and Drink, Service, and Atmosphere and judge them on a scale of 1 to 10.

Food and Drink: The steak at Bones is cooked to perfection. The meat is of very high quality and they cook it to exact specification. My medium rare steak was pink on the inside but not bleeding and the fillet was tender and juicy. Side items were good, but not great. The potatoes tasted good but the veggies could have used more flavor. The wine list was phenomenal with plenty of both Red and White in varrying price ranges. SCORE: 9

Service: I have been to Bones three of four times and each time the service was phenomenal. The waiters know the menu and wine list and can give great advice on what to order. They stay out of the way when eating and talking but are always there if you need something. The water glasses were always food and plates were taken as soon as you signaled you were finished. Couldn't ask for anything more. SCORE: 10

Atmosphere: Bones is located in a building that looks small from the outside. Once in side you quickly realize that is far from the reality. There is a spacious bar and the dinging area has a two levels and multiple wings making enough room for plenty of tables. The lights are turned low and the large space allows room to move without feeling cramped. While they do a great job creating an upscale and elegant atmosphere, it sometimes feel like you must be on your best behavior at all times, which can be difficult after a few mint juleps. SCORE: 8.5


Peter Luger's

Food and Drink: The specialty is steak. You order steak for the number of people and the steak comes out on a large plate. They precut it into smaller bites and you take as you wish from the serving plate. The side items are cooked and served family style which go well with the great meat. The restaurant is famous for its sauce with the steak which is excellent. Wine is affordable and very good. The steak was not the best meat but was cooked very well and served in a unique style that was great for me because I could eat as much as I wanted without anyone knowing I was eating more than my share. SCORE: 8.5

Service: Peter Luger's is famous for having rude service. I found this to be mostly a myth. I would not call it rude; I would call it aloof. The waters come by once for drinks. They return to take your meal order. They don't bother you with questions about the food or if there is anything else you would like. I actually liked this because no conversations were interrupted by questions about the wine. That being said, I little more interaction would have helped clear the table faster and receive more drinks when needed. The servers were not rude, they just stayed out of the way of dinner, sometimes a little too much. SCORE 8

Atmosphere: The restaurant was a little different from most steakhouses because it was a little brighter than most. The light's were turned up and made everything more visible. Accordingly, the atmosphere was more lively. It felt less formal and we could say anything we wanted without fear that it would upset the otherwise elegant atmosphere. I loved the way it was set up from lighting to the ample area around the tables. It also helps that I saw Uma Thurman eating there. SCORE 9.5



Food and Drink: The steak at Pat's was a little different than the others. The meat was of high quality but what really stood out was the seasoning. The flavor coming from the steak was distinct and very good. It was cooked to perfection and was the best tasting out of the four. The side items were good but not great. The wine list was very good with many options. The steak makes up for any deficiencies in the side items. SCORE 9.5

Service: Because it is a family owned steakhouse, the service was very good but nothing exceptional. The servers all seemed to know each other and handled anything that was needed with prompt service. The waiters knew the menu and were helpful when deciding between dressings and sides. They also accommodated a special request we made upon arrival. The service was very good and made for an enjoyable evening. SCORE 9

Atmosphere: The house the restaurant is in is very old and has many little coves and back rooms. The homely feel is accented by old decorations that seem a little out of place for a steakhouse. I think the inside could use a little update without reuining the feeling that you are eating a steak dinner at home. SCORE 8.5


Jeff Ruby's

Food and Drink: Jeff Ruby's manages to combine the two key things I look for in a steak: well-cooked and great flavor. The steak was very tender and juicy inside. The seasoning also managed to create great flavor. The combination of the two made for one of the best pieces of meat I have ever eaten. Extensive wine list but few options for the lower budgets. SCORE 9

Service: The service never really wowed me. I felt like it was any other restaurant and never managed to sense anything special about the experience. The waiters did everything they were supposed to but did not make the evening any more special because of the service. SCORE 8

Atmosphere: The restaurant has a large dining area and is a wonderful place to eat. The lights are turned low but not too low to where you can't see anything. The decor is modern and gives a feel that you are eating a fancy dinner. If only the service made you feel the same way the atmosphere did. SCORE 8


Well there it is. My review of four very good steakhouses. Bones is the bestwhich is how I thought it would be. Thanks for allowing me a quick diversion from the sinking Titanic known as the Cincinnati Reds.

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