Thursday, August 11, 2005

Review: St. Elmo's

Yet another non-Long Island restaurant review on a blog about food on Long Island. However, as St. Elmo's is the only famous(ish) restaurant in Indianapolis (Peyton Manning can't be wrong, can he?), I thought I'd include it in a review here. Besides, it's my website, and I can do what I want.

St. Elmo's is a steak house. I haven't been to many steak houses in my time (at least the upscale ones--Peter Luger, Ruth's Chris, etc.), because, for some reason, steak houses are ridiculously overpriced. I've always wondered why I should bother paying $40 for a steak when I can buy the entire tenderloin for $40 and have lots of steaks and make them just as good as, and often better than, steak houses? Well, when we were in Indy, I put that hypothesis to the test. Hypothesis confirmed.

St. Elmo's is somewhat famous for its shrimp cocktail--and, really, only for the cocktail sauce. In fact, shrimp cocktail is the only appetizer on the whole, friggin' menu. Holy shnert, is that stuff hot. Even a piece of shrimp with most of the sauce removed will clear your sinuses like Drain-o through a toilet. I'm not the biggest horseradish fan to begin with, but I don't see why so many people love the St. Elmo's "death" cocktail sauce.

I ordered a Caesar salad for my appetizer. Without question it was the worst Caesar salad I've ever had. Not only was the dressing the mixture of mayo and vinegar you find only at lesser quality restaurants, but it was the worst tasting such mixture that I've had the misfortune of trying. Furthermore, the lettuce was simply cut into little pieces. Tiny pieces with the ribs still attached. I made it about half-way through when I just laid my fork on the bowl and waited for the waiter to take the thing away. "Did you give up?" he said, smirking, when he finally came by (the salad is a bit large). Yeah, I gave up putting my palate through such torture.

For our entrees, my wife ordered a strip steak, and I ordered the ribeye, my favorite. I wasn't impressed with either. The ribeye had more flavor, but, hey, it's ribeye, with all its delicious, melting fat. So, no surprise there. But, really, you pay good money for these steaks, and I can do just as well at home with "choice" cuts. (I can't find "prime" in nearby supermarkets, and I don't really go to butchers, though I think I need to start.) And at home you can put on a nice chili rub (a favorite of ours), marinate the steaks, or, say, add a red-wine sauce. Lots of stuff. There is none of that, of course, at steak houses. But there, where the quality of the meat itself is supposed to be the star, I find it hard to see why I have to pay $40 for a goddamn steak.

For sides we ordered creamed spinach and mushrooms. The mushrooms were average at best (Outback does it better), and the spinach was revolting.

We didn't bother sticking around for dessert. We'd had enough. Dessert we got from good, ol' Dairy Queen for probably $6.00 for both of us, and I'm sure it was better than anything St. Elmo's had to offer.

I'm not completely trashing the place. The steaks were fine, but not fine for the money these upscale steak houses charge. But the sides and salad were terrible. Just terrible. So, I've done the St. Elmo's thing. I won't be going back.

2 out of 5 stars


At 3:21 PM, Blogger Long Island Guide said...


At 10:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you have no taste try mcdonalds next time

At 5:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We ate at St. Elmo’s and found it to be outstanding. We all loved the cocktail sauce. I have eaten in restaurants all over North America for my taste NY food sucks the most. I find the only people that think NY food is good are the people that grew up there. They bring their “everything is better in NY” attitude to the table and it goes down hill from there.

The NY attitude is evident in your review obvious you don’t know what good food is, stay in Long Island.

At 9:31 AM, Blogger Butter lover said...

"The NY attitude is evident in your review obvious you don’t know what good food is, stay in Long Island."

Uh, I did live in Indiana for the first 22 years of my life. I'm proud to be from Indiana. I love Indiana. Just not all the chain restaurants there.

So people in Indiana (or wherever you're from) tell me I have a New York attitude. People in New York tell me to get the f*ck back to Indiana. I can't win.

And I think my attitude would suck wherever I lived.

At 7:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but yours is definitely not the majority. Don't you think there is a reason St. Elmo has been thriving in Indianapolis for over 100 years? If it was as bad as you claim, I think it would have been shut down in about 1905.

Also, if you don't like horseradish, of course you wouldn't like the cocktail sauce. That would be like me saying I don't really like chocolate... but here's my review on a chocolate brownie - it was terrible. Well duh! Because of that, I think your thoughts on the cocktail sauce aren't even valid.

At 8:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sounds like an indictment of steak houses in general. St. Elmo's seems to be an arbitrary vehicle for this sentiment. Accordingly, I wouldn't call this an objective or sincere review. Nor would I call it "Review: St. Elmo's." Refer back to my first sentence.

FYI - unless you own an infra red grill (which cooks at a high enough heat to sear the meat super fast) you cannot cook like a steakhouse at home.

At 6:07 AM, Blogger Butter Lover said...

Wow, a St. Elmo's comment. It's been a while.

You do realize that this is my food blog, meaning it involves my own tastes and opinions. You can disagree and/or you can put your own reviews online like I do.

The infrared grill comment doesn't make any sense because anyone can sear a steak in a frying pan at home just fine.


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