Last Friday, I was invited at Ted's Montana Grill, one of the outposts of the restaurant chain created in 2002 by the entrepreneur and philantropist Ted Turner and George W. McKerrow, a famed restauranteur, who opened decades ago the LongHorn steakhouse. This place opened to celebrate one of America's emblematic animals: the bison.
This animal definitely makes me think about all the Western movies I saw when I was a kid in France; movies with John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Lee Van Cleef...
Anyway, the place is located Midtown, across from the Radio City Music Hall, opened in 2006. It is fairly big, with very high ceilings and some booths on the side.
There, they follow the philosophy of its owners: sustainability. No frozen food or microwaves, beverage coasters that are 100 percent biodegradable and recyclable, made only with timber from reforestation programs; at lunch, recycled brown butcher paper covers each table to reduce laundry costs and water waste. But is the food good? That is what we would discover there.
I always look at details in restaurants and at first, noticed that they just bring the salt in its original package rather than using a salt shaker.
Then, they did not bring the usual bread basket that you would expect in this type of restaurants. Rather pickles!
At first, I was a bit disappointed as I love bread. But then, I was thinking: that is good, because that way I do not stuff myself with bread before the food comes.
As I was planning on having a steak, I decided to order a glass of wine. I picked a Pinot Noir, Belle Glos "Meiomi", Sonoma Coast 2013:
As appetizers, we chose first the salt-n'-pepper onion rings:
These delicious onion rings were served with a horseradish sauce that paired very well with it. I truly appreciated the fact that the large onion rings were not greasy, deliciously crispy and that the onion was cooked inside. It was interesting that they proposed this dish as an appetizer rather than a side, as it was perfect with my steak.
I also tried the crab cake, my favorite appetizer when I go to a steakhouse.
This was a good crab cake, as I could definitely taste the crab (I hate when the only taste you get is from the fillers, but here, as you can see on the photo below, it was all crab, with big lump). Serving it with guacamole was a nice idea as it added some freshness.
For our main dish, Jodi decided to go for a burger. She picked the Avalon, choosing a beef patty over a bison one (they give you a choice between the two not only for sandwiches, but also for steaks):
Just looking at the photo above makes me salivate...This was a fantastic burger, made of melted Gruyère with a hint of Bleu cheese, crumbled bacon and sweet caramelized onions, roasted garlic aioli and baby arugula.
The first bite was divine: the meat was tasty, juicy and perfectly cooked medium, smothered in the generous portion of cheese, but not overpowered by it. I also loved the sweetness of the onions. This is definitely a good burger and probably one of my favorites. As Jodi was full, I got to eat half of it, so I was in heaven!
On my side, I ordered the beef ribeye (here again, I had a choice between beef and bison, but I love beef):
At $30 a piece, it is a very good deal as, most of the time, a ribeye would cost approximately $45 and up, the size of it being much larger (this one was 14 oz) and often wasted. It was perfectly cooked medium rare, very tender and very juicy.
It was served with mashed potatoes, like a delmonico steak should, that were to die for. I believe that they put cheese in it, giving a nice texture to it.
The second side was the roasted mushrooms:
Simple, but delicious.
Of course, we could not leave without trying some desserts...The first one was spectacular: strawberry shortcake.
There is no way somebody can finish this dessert alone and it is definitely meant for sharing. It is composed of shortcake in the bottom, smothered with fresh strawberries, two scoops of Haagen Dazs vanilla ice cream and topped with some shortcake. Looking like a tower, you just want to eat it as quick as possible, so it does not fall on the table.
The second dessert was a banana foster sundae:
This was my favorite dessert, as I love any dessert made with banana. It was composed of caramelized banana, Haagen Dazs vanilla ice cream and some sublime candied pecan. I really liked the fact that it was not too sweet and glad that I got some fruit for dessert...
This was a fantastic dinner and I will definitely go back for the burger or steak. Our waiter, Jarmake, did an excellent job making us feel welcome and had a good knowledge of the dishes. Yes, he probably knew that I was there for a review, but I observed and saw that he was no different with other customers.
I should add that Ted's Montana Grill is participating in the No Kid Hungry campaign. Imagine that $1 feeds a kid for up to 10 meals! This is a noble cause and if you donate $5, you get a $5 coupon from the restaurant for your next dining experience. As the campaign says: "Do good. Dine out".
Enjoy (I did)!
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