St. Elmo Steak House

Another Indianapolis institution, said to be one of the great steak houses of America (just look in the back of any airplane magazine). Emily finally saved up enough to try it, and even managed to keep the reservation a surprise right up until the time we crossed the street. As expected, the restaurant was packed during our Friday night visit, which was designed to quench a serious hankering for a steak. And quench it did. Two days later, we are still eating virtually nothing but salad to try to make up for it.

We started with shrimp cocktail and salad. Mostly shards of horseradish, the cocktail sauce was indeed “super-hot” as promised, and the rush of flames through our sinuses was quite fun. The house salad dressing was also unique, with hints of rosemary, basil, and lavender, perhaps.

Emily ordered a filet, while I ordered a New York strip. The steaks were beautiful, though mine was cooked considerably more than medium-rare, as I had ordered. Emily’s filet was a pleasant reminder of why beef is what should be for dinner more often. The mashed potatoes accompanying my steak were out of this world, probably more cheese than spud. Emily opted for (what else?) steak fries, which were a bit soggy, but any fry is a good fry. She never met a starch she didn’t like.

It was hard not to feel rushed. Our waiter was friendly but hurried, not taking time to engage in conversation with us until he brought the check. The host staff did have their act together, though, noting that our party was celebrating a birthday and sending a wedge of carrot cake to our table, which was a pleasant surprise.

After being touted as having the best service in Indianapolis, we were a bit disappointed. For the price of the dinner (and the effort it took to get Chris to wear a tie), we wanted to be doted upon. Friday night was not a good night to have this expectation met.

The food, however, was worth the price (and since red meat is a rarity-no pun intended-in our house, it’s nice to be able to treat ourselves once in a while. Happy Birthday, Christopher. I’ll have mine medium rare.