Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Eater's Remorse: Meat Masquerading as Steak

Most of the time, Groupon/Newsday Daily Deal/Amazon Local/Living Social/Doubletake Deals is a fantastic way to get to know your new local restaurants, become acquainted with hidden favorites, explore a different neighborhood's offerings, or afford that fancy dinner at the place up the road you've always wanted to try.

Sometimes, they are reasons for anger. 

I had a Newsday Daily Deal for Pace's Steakhouse, an old-fashioned steakhouse that firmly fit into the category of "fancy dinner I've always meant to experience." Unfortunately, it didn't live up to that expectation. 

In two words? Overrated and overpriced. As an old-fashioned steakhouse, the expectation is that the beef should be so flavorful, rich, and delicious as to stand on its own. Literally. A la carte, on a plate, and no less satisfying in its minimalism and simplicity. 

This is simply not the case at Pace's. Although advertised as "prime" steak (which, by the way, is a lie at most joints, considering that only 1% of the beef out of the Midwest is categorized with this label), insider verification had previously informed us that the meat is sometimes purchased in bulk from a supermarket supplier. However, I was willing to dismiss this as hearsay and try it for myself.

I ordered a filet, which is usually the golden standard for pure red flavor. It was a little undercooked, which is forgivable. But what was NOT forgivable what the blandness of the meat. I haven't salted a steakhouse steak in years, having formed a habit/expectation that all proper steakhouses season or marinate them to a chef's standards before serving the meat. For me to reach for the saltshaker was a travesty. There was no seasoning on the steak at all. It wasn't aged, wasn't marinated, wasn't charred--wasn't anything other than a plain hunk of just-okay meat. 

Although it's usually a nice bonus to get little extras on your plate to accompany your very expensive chunk of beef, there are some garnishes that just cheapens the experience. Like things that you can get out of a frozen food or Sysco box. Things like wide bar-food onion rings. Potato chips fried in blah oil. Yeah, that's the shit they garnished my filet mignon with. The polenta cake was fine, but seriously? Frozen onion rings?

My husband got the Friday Lobster Bake special, which sounded like a massive amount of food, which is great. But again, it was a plate that just said, "blah, blah, blahhhh BORING." In a flat "Buellerrr" voice. Steamed lobster is steamed lobster, so whatever. Same with corn on a cob, and clams and mussels. But the potatoes were boiled in mere water, and the burnt "roasted" chicken (literally, skin burnt to a crisp) had no flavor other than generic "chicken." Not even a hint of salt. The ribs were okay, but a little soggy.

Well, we attempted a dessert anyway, even though the bread that came at the beginning of the table was dry, the cornbread had a chunk taken out of it, and our meals were on the meh-er side of meh. We figured chocolate chip brownie sundaes always sound good, and how do you screw up a chocolate chip brownie sundae? 

You microwave it. You microwave the SHIT out of it. 

It was sliced in half and I'd requested the ice cream on the side (not homemade, btw), and they zapped that thing into holy hell. The corners were so hard they were inedible. Like Swanson Hungry Man brownie hard, and equally "flavorful." The middle was kind of warm, but everywhere else was awful.

The waiter asked how it was. I told him it was clearly microwaved and not very good, because at this point, I was horribly disappointed that my date night dinner sucked so badly and cost so much. 

Also, you're forced to valet park. I hate being forced to valet park. You spend a couple more bucks extra for someone else to drive your car and mess with your settings. Plus, there's construction on 347, so do NOT drive a low-riding car; the shoulder is crazy steep and will scrape up your car.

Save yourself the trouble, though. Go to an ACTUAL steakhouse if you're going to spend $37 a steak.

No comments:

Post a Comment