Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Search for Steak

There's this Texas-ish restaurant down the road from us that serves steaks and seafood. By "Texas-ish" I mean there are dead animal heads on the wall, and the place is normally full of coach-type people wearing sans-a-belt polyester coach shorts, laughing too loud and slapping each other on the back while smoking fat cigars and talking about football. The women with them sip martinis and wear big hair and too much make-up. The restaurant even has a separate smoking room, decorated with enormous leather furniture and more dead animal heads, where important customers can rent their own humidors. It is an extremely pretentious place, but in a very stereotypically Texas sort of way.

We walked in on a weeknight a while back (after the Truluck's fiasco), still looking for a good steak. We were greeted by three or so anorexic teenage girls in little black dresses, clustered around the hostess podium.

"Do you have a reservation?"

We looked past them into the cavernous, nearly empty dining room.

"No. Do we need one?" said with raised eyebrows and the tiniest smirk.

Apparently not, because they consented to seat us, but only after getting our names and recording them in their book. They didn’t want any other information, just the names. Weird. If I had only been thinking faster, we could have been “Thor” and “Wonder Woman,” but I missed my chance.

They didn’t make us wait, but they seated us, in a nearly empty restaurant, right next to the bus boy/drink station. It was lovely. We got to listen to ice being shoveled into pitchers and dirty dishes being stacked throughout our meal. I suppose we were being punished for showing up without a reservation AND without sans-a-belt pants or big hair. Whatever. Just bring us one of your sucky steaks, so we can decide we're never coming back here again.

Slag ordered the 26oz Porter House steak. It was fabulous. He ate all of it. Every bit. I know he wanted to pick up the bone and gnaw on it, but he didn’t on account of it being such a classy place. He said it was the best steak he'd ever had. Ever. I tasted it too. It was very good. Tender. Perfectly seasoned. Cooked exactly as requested.

Woohoo!! We found a place to get good steaks! Halleluiah!

But “boo! hiss!” because we have to endure dead animal heads and snobby staff to acquire said good steaks.

Slag wanted to make sure the good steak wasn't a fluke though, so we called up L. and made plans to go back again. This time it would be a Saturday night, so Slag made a reservation, with the hope that it alone would be enough to get us a table away from the drink station. None of us were interested in taking the extra step of donning sans-a-belt pants or sporting big hair to improve our image in the eyes of the staff.

Slag didn't so much make the reservations for us though, as for his alter-ego. He called up the restaurant and said, in his best New England accent, that he would like to make reservations for Saturday night. The name? Clayton Endicott III. That's E-N-D-I-C-O-T-T the THIIIIIIIRD. A phone number? Certainly. He gave them his cell phone number. He then informed the hostess, in the snobbiest tone I’ve ever heard come out of his mouth, that the number he had just given her was his driver's number. If they should need to call the number, they should please speak very plainly, because his driver is a “little dim.” The hostess responded with some nervous laughter.

I was working on the computer in the same room while the reservation was being made. By the time it was complete, I had put my head down on the desk and was cradling my face in the crook of my elbow, about to die from a combination of mortification and laughter. I wasn’t so sure I wanted to go anymore. Fortunately, that's where the dramatic part of the story ends. We arrived on Saturday night, posing, I guess, as Mr. Endicott III and his party. L. and I hung back as Slag approached the hostess stand to let them know we were there. I don’t know what he said to them, and I don’t want to know. All I know is that we got a great table and very little attitude from the hostess stand. And, we all agreed that the steaks were still fabulous.

Slag had tried to get L. to wear his tuxedo to the restaurant and play the part of Mr. Endicott III. Slag planned on playing the part of the dim driver himself and amusing himself at the restaurant staff’s expense. Thankfully, L. wouldn't cooperate. The staff at the restaurant would be grateful if they only knew what they had been saved from.


Blogger Evil Spock said...

I'm a veggie now, but I remember the taste of a good steak fondly. Whilst in Indiana, did you drive up to Bloomington and have a good slab of beef at Janko's?

3:06 PM  
Blogger Whippersnapper said...

That person I live with and I did a trek across northern Ontario a few years back, and I remember writing "Pork Chop and Little Sweet Corn" in all the guest books of the touristy places we visited. I guess I was Pork Chop, since I am neither little, nor sweet. (Mind you, he isn't either of those things either, hmm.)

It seemed funny at the time.

4:48 PM  
Blogger Kara said...

I have never ordered a steak in a restaurant. Ever. For absolutely no good reason (except that they rarely come with fries...I needs me some fries). But if I was to...what kind of steak would you suggest??

6:38 PM  
Anonymous rachel said...

What happened to his veggie diet?? And MY GOD a 26 oz steak??

10:52 PM  
Blogger Cheesy said...

I wanna party with you two lol... hell I'd wear a tux!
26 oz. Porterhouse huh?? What a GUY! Did he take the bone home and gnaw on it later?? [I would have lol.. then the dogs get the rest]
Kara.. porterhouse is great but my fav is a grand ol' juicy rib eye.. yummmmmeeeee!

11:50 PM  
Blogger ian said...

He should have claimed to be Abe Frohman. You know, the Sausage King of Chicago. They probably wouldn't have caught that reference.


11:56 PM  
Blogger Jazz said...

26 oz???!?!?!?! Jeebus, how can anyone eat that much steak? I have trouble downing a 5 ouncer. Obviously, I'm not Texas material

7:17 AM  
Blogger Stucco said...

Did you ask for the "gravy dippin' bucket"? I'm sorta partial to the Blues Brothers method of putting champagne in a water glass.

Additionally, one time I worked with a guy named Landon Covington. THERE'S a soap opera name. That or you can use more than three names and repeat them as James Thurber was wont to do- "Ford Maddox Ford Griswold"

10:37 AM  
Blogger Jill said...

evil spock, No, I've never been to Janko's. Will have to check it out the next time we go.

whippersnapper, There's no rule that says you have to look like your alias. I don't look much like Wonder Woman either, but that doesn't stop me.

kara, Go for a filet. They're small and very tender usually. Come to Texas if you need steak. You can get fries with anything here, even a filet. Slag prefers rib-eyes. A porterhouse is a filet AND a ribeye, connected by a bone. I guess that makes it a "double"?

rachel, This happened before the mostly veggie diet was instituted. The 26 oz did include a bone, but it was still a whole lot of meat.

cheesy, Nope, there wasn't any bone gnawing later either. By the time he finished it, he was completely engorged. I don't think he ate again for three days.

ian, I didn't catch it either. I'm not up on all the latest sausage-related news.

jazz, Me neither. I brought half of my 8 oz filet home that night. Slag usually finished mine too, but the 26 oz topped him off and he couldn't squeeze in another bite.

stucco, I usually stick with super hero names. That way whoever it is KNOWS I'm messing with them, instead of having to wonder about it.

4:17 PM  
Blogger slaghammer said...

While you and L. were hanging back, I told the hostess that Mr. Endicott had arrived to claim his 7:30 reservation and I instructed her to tell the staff to not look Mr. Endicott directly in the eyes. I told her that Endicott would interpret direct eye contact as an act of insolence and it would not be tolerated, all in my best northeastern accent. That is the only time we’ve been to that restaurant where the staff didn’t treat us like crap. Btw, I did gnaw on the bone.

6:07 PM  
Blogger Em said...

Jill, I am so relieved to know you refrained from the big hair, even when it might have gotten a better table.

Up here in CT, we just don't get to enjoy places with dead animals on the wall. Well, there is one place with a moose head...but it I'm not sure that counts.

9:22 PM  
Blogger Schmoopie said...

We love a great steak now and then. You need to come to our house for the BEST! Stucco used to wait tables and tend bar at one of the best steakhouses in Denver. The guys in the kitchen taught him all the tricks of the trade. You guys are welcome any time :)!

10:39 PM  
Blogger ian said...

"Abe Frohman, the Sausage King of Chicago" was who Ferris Bueller pretended to be so he and his friends could go into a fancy French restaurant and eat pancreas. Or something.


11:06 PM  
Blogger Jill said...

slag, I don't recall any bone gnawing. Maybe I've blocked it out, or maybe you put tooth to bone while I was in the ladies room. Whichever it is, as far as I'm concerned, it didn't happen.

em, The talking moose head would only count if it were once attached to the body of a real live moose which was killed for its head. I'm thinking that one falls more in the category of Chuckie-Cheese-type, child-amusing animated robot.

schmoopie, The next time we make it to the northwest, your house will be our first stop. We never pass up well-seasoned, perfectly-cooked meat of any kind. :)

ian, Agh, how could I have not known that??

1:03 PM  

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