Friday, March 20, 2009

Murphy's Steakhouse

This place is old school. One of those places you drive by and think, I wonder what that place is like. Not in the best neighborhood (just north of 38th on Keystone) and certainly not your typical men’s club steakhouse that is so prevalent now. This is the kind of place my Grandpa would’ve loved (hell, he might have for all I know, he lived here most of his life and this place has been around in some incarnation since the 50s). Apparently, it started out as a Frisch’s Big Boy (you can see it if you really look for it) and then was converted to a steakhouse in the 60s. It has been under the same ownership since 1977 and it must look exactly the same as it has for at least that long (my guess is nothing on the inside has changed since it became a steakhouse.

I called them up to see if they were kid friendly (“Absolutely!”) and if we needed a reservation. It was Saturday, and they said it wouldn’t hurt, so we made one. At 5:30 (we were eating with the kids). When we got there, the place was jammed. I have never been to a restaurant more crowded at that time of day I don’t think. Anyway, I was glad we had reserved, we got a nice booth (I recommend requesting one). The kids loved the place instantly because of all the shamrocks. We aren’t sure if this was because it was almost St. Patrick’s, or if it was because it is an Irish establishment. They also really liked the cracker basket on the table. It has been a number of years since I have seen that, and it reminded me of the restaurants I used to eat at with my Grandparents. The kids stocked up on crackers, ordered their grilled cheeses and we figured out what to eat. In the meantime, they brought us a basket of garlic bread that was also old school and quite tasty—there was no visible garlic butter, but the bread was definitely garlic-y. One of my favorite parts of the meal.

We decide to go for the “Build your own combo.” You get a choice of steak (out of several cuts). I chose the filet. You also get your choice of surf. I chose the fried lobster. I had to. I mean, fried lobster? For real? Hubby had the ribeye and the fried shrimp (you can also choose crab legs or lobster tails or fried scallops. Then you get a soup (onion or soup of the day) and a salad (green salad with choice of dressing or their “house” which was called the monster. It was romaine and iceberg with a warm bacon dressing. Not bad, hubby had it, but I preferred my little tossed salad with blue cheese (there were some nice chunks of blue cheese in there too!). Finally, you got your choice of a side—the usual suspects, baked potato, cheddar mash, hash browns (with or without onions) and a few others that have escaped me. Oh, and you can add béarnaise or mushroom sauce for free. Ok, here’s the clincher. All this food was $21.95. Crazy. Especially when you consider the lobster mashed potatoes at Eddie Merlot’s (that’s right, just the potatoes) were $18.95. The steak was pretty good—a bit overcooked. After surveying both hubby and my steaks, I would recommend ordering a degree lower than what you want. My medium rare was pretty medium. Next time I will get rare. But honestly, this steak was just about as good as some others I have had recently, and it was certainly cheaper. The béarnaise however, was not very good. I did not eat more than one taste of it. But hey, it was free. The fried lobster was also good. I really liked it as cheesy as it sounds (hubby did too). They served it with lemon and drawn butter and it was tasty. Hubby’s fried shrimp were too food service tasting—they didn’t seem made in house. I would skip those. The soup was a basic onion/beef broth with a few onions and some croutons on top—and my favorite part, who needs fancy cheese on top when you can just sprinkle some Parmesan on top with the shaker? Pretty funny. The meals all come with soup and salad though so, try it if you want. The potatoes were just fine. And a portion for one. And included in the price.

The wine list is, as you might guess, somewhat limited, but overall, not as bad as it could be considering. And the pours for glasses of wine were very generous. They also have a full bar.

All in all, this place isn’t your fancy steakhouse, and it isn’t gourmet by any stretch, but it was fun, and cheap, and they really do welcome kids. Our waitress was a Grandma who was super kind to the kids. And obviously people like it based on the crowds. And hey, in the current economy, it might be just what you need!

Murphy’s Steakhouse
4189 N. Keystone Ave
Indy 462
317/545-3707 (and hey, there’s even a coupon on the website)


  1. Erin, The website needs another 's'. It's

    I love Murphy's and their fried lobster. I hadn't had fried lobster since I moved away from Boston years ago.