It’s been like 7 years or something since we just went to St. Elmo for a regular dinner (we’ve been for some organized fundraisers etc., but not to just order off the menu). And the kids had never been. Oh, and I had a gift card from a silent auction (I have a little problem with silent auctions) so we finally got in there. I felt like it was our duty as parents to get the kids in there.
So, they took us through the maze of the restaurant and to a table downstairs that miraculously had a serious draft even though it was in the middle of the room. That was a chilly table. Our server was very nice though, if not a little overwhelmed. They were pretty busy—although I think they always are.
Hubby ordered the obligatory shrimp cocktail ($15.95). I have said it before, and will say it again, I think the sauce is dumb. Too hot to enjoy. Hubby likes it though, and I know people have a weird obsession with it, so let’s just agree to disagree. They have nice big tender shrimp, and hubby made strange painful moaning noises when he ate it. So there’s that.
Hubby and I then shared the chopped BLT salad ($11). Even as a split, it was very generous. This was a very tasty salad. It had chopped romaine lettuce, Gorgonzola cheese, tomatoes, bacon and fried onions. They whole thing was tossed with a nice amount of their house vinaigrette. It was nice because everything was bite-sized and I loved getting the hunks of blue cheese. I would happily eat this one again. My son had the Caesar ($11) and really enjoyed it as well. It was also nicely dressed.
Moving along, the boys wanted steaks, and since I knew there would be more than enough to go around, us girls ordered a couple fish entrees. All the entrées come with tomato juice or bean soup. I know it’s tradition, but do people really get the tomato juice? The kids got the bean soup and hubby upgraded to the lobster bisque (+7.95). The kids love beans and thought the soup was fine. Hubby was very disappointed with his bisque and I can’t blame him. It was really boring. Lots of rich, none of that depth that you want in a bisque. Maybe no sherry or something? There were chunks of lobster or crab in there, but it didn’t save it. He ate like two bites and left the rest. This was probably the biggest disappointment of the evening.
My son got the 8-ounce filet ($42) and hubby had the 14-ounce ribeye ($41). Both steaks were very good. I thought the ribeye was a bit better. When you get a great ribeye, it can easily beat a filet, but often they’re too fatty and chewy. This one was perfect. And this is not to say the filet was bad, because it wasn’t. Steaks are certainly strengths here, as they should be. I like that the price of the meal also includes a potato side (as well as the soup/juice). Hubby had fries and my son got a baked potato. They are both standard, but hit the spot with your steak.
I had the tuna steak ($35), which was a huge piece of tuna, along with sushi rice and a ball of wasabi and some seasoned soy. It was very good quality tuna, however, when they asked me if rare was okay, I didn’t expect it to be ice cold in the middle. I just pretended it was sashimi and it was fine, but I would have preferred it to be at least somewhat warmish at least all the way through. Obviously, I have no problem eating raw tuna, but when you expect a cooked piece of fish, you expect it to be a little warm. Even though I got rice with this dish, I also get a potato side so I had the baked potato as well. A perfectly normal baked potato. My daughter had a fish special that left a bit to be desired in my opinion—tasted a little fishy to me—but I appreciated her willingness to try something different.
We decided, hey why not, let’s have dessert. My kids have a strange obsession with giant pieces of chocolate cake. They can come from foodservice, and they’re just as happy. It’s weird to me. Cold cake is not my thing. But anyway, they ordered St. Elmo’s version, and they were happy. We also ordered the cookies and milk—this was actually a fundraiser dessert item so how could we say no? There were three warm gooey chocolate chip cookies and a glass of Trader’s Point whole milk. A very nice and comforting dessert. And it was all for charity. So the calories don’t even count. Right?
All in all, this was a better experience than I have had at St. Elmo, not that I have been that many times. It’s a solid steakhouse, and I’m glad since it’s one of the few local ones. I’d stick with steak overall, they were definitely the stars. Oh, and that salad.
St. Elmo’s Steakhouse
127 S. Illinois Street