Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Review: The Iron Horse

On a rare occasion, I like to treat myself to a steak dinner out. Most of the time we pick up a good cut of meat at the store and cook it on the grill at home. Every once in a while even that seems like too much work and we start thinking of where to go for good steak. My first thought is always Mr. Steak, the long defunct family steakhouse in Coeur d'Alene. I think it's been a parking lot for almost 10 years, but I'm still mourning the loss. My second thought was Wolf Lodge, but Saturday night during graduation weekend brought to mind tortuous hours of waiting while drooling over the smell of the open pit fire.

It was a somewhat difficult decision to make. We wanted a local, non-chain, good, old fashioned steakhouse meal that didn't cost a fortune. After considering G.W. Hunters and Sargent's, we decided on the Iron Horse for it's convenient location near the movie theater (we were out on a real date night). We also knew they served up decent steak, since we have been frequenters of their Wednesday night special in the past.

We completely missed the crowd with our 6 p.m. arrival. We even snagged a parking space right out front on the street (they have a parking lot in the back). About half the tables were empty when we entered the restaurant. Our waitress greeted us quickly and gave us the choice of a table or booth. It's been a couple of years since I've eaten in the restaurant and was surprised to see casual seating arrangements of leather couches and chairs in the middle of the dining area. Otherwise, the old railroad signs and pictures on the wall are just as we remembered.

Our waitress seated us and told us about their three specials: a 12 ounce prime rib, 16 ounce t-bone or salmon dinner with all the fixings (salad, baked potato and garlic toast) for $15.95 each. Even though we had started out in search of steak, we ordered a prime rib special to share (to ensure plenty of room for movie popcorn). We also took advantage of the two-for-one drink special and ordered whiskey and cokes ($3 for two).

The salad arrived quickly. I was happy to see the Iron Horse has upgraded their salads with a fancy lettuce mix combined with your standard iceberg mix. Mushrooms, tomatoes and homemade croutons topped the salad. The salad was a good sign of what was to come.

I saw the giant plate of prime rib heading our way and knew we were in for a treat. The slice of prime rib took up so much room on the oval shaped platter that the potato and toast had to have their own plate. The meat was cooked exactly as ordered (medium) and was nearly an inch thick. This prime rib was all meat with just a hint of marbling. I could taste the quality as I dipped each delicious bite in the Au jus (DD opted for horseradish).

The potato was no miniature itself. It was a true Idaho russet served with sides of sour cream, butter, cheese, green onions and real bacon chunks. My only complaint was the potato had a bit of a microwaved texture, but had good flavor. The garlic toast was a large piece of good quality bread with just the right amount of garlic butter grilled in.

The meal really hit the spot and was just what we had been searching for. To top it off, the service was excellent. The experience in the staff shows. The courses were well timed, the food prepared just as we ordered and our waitress gave us just the right amount of attention. The Iron Horse will definitely be at the top of the list next time we're in the mood for steak.

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