Friday, August 26, 2011

Driving a Steak Through It

Chef Louie's Steak House and Lounge
601 E Havens Ave
Mitchell, SD

Hours: Dinner Only
Food: Steakhouse
Alcohol: Full Bar

There's not a lot in South Dakota.

I mean, the whole country's populated enough that if you're on an Interstate, there's never the situation I've heard described where there's literally no gas for 300 miles or something, but South Dakota's pretty empty once you're west of Sioux Falls until you're all the way out to Rapid City.

So you start getting some pretty weird monuments.

The most famous of these is certainly Wall Drug, a bizarre tourist trap out West River whose signs can be found hundreds of miles away.

So on a recent drive from Northern Nebraska to Pierre, I was pretty much at a loss of places to go eat. It was after eight, and there weren't any restaurants within 10 miles, according to my GPS.

But out of the corner of my eye, I saw Chef Louie's Steak House, which looked interesting. After making sure they weren't closed, I decided to give it a whirl.

It's in the town of Mitchell, which is probably the biggest town between Rapid City and Pierre, which ain't saying much (Pierre's only 13,000).

Mitchell is home to the Corn Palace and the George McGovern museum. Yep, we're getting out to that part of the country where every town of any size has some ridiculous tourist trap.

They had a good wine list, but honestly, I was in a beer state of mind when I got there, so that's what I was getting.

And they only had six beers on tap: the light troika, Sam Adams and then two kinds of Boulevard. I decided to do their amber, which was OK, but it's no Moose Drool.

Which is a crying shame, since I was flying East the next day, and this was my only night in Moose Drool country.

And honestly, only six beers on tap is just kinda weak for a place like this. They must get at least a few customers who aren't in the mood for wine but have at least a little taste.

I didn't really have anything particular in mind when I ordered, so I asked the waitress what was good, and she recommended the prime rib, which I got.

As I waited for the prime rib, they brought out some dinner rolls to me, which were quite tasty, and still hot but other tables had these interesting multigrain-looking ones, and I didn't get one of those.

Instead of getting a salad, I also ordered a sausage and tomato soup, which was really good -- honestly, twice as much of it would make a great light lunch.

Then the prime rib came, and it lived up to its billing: crisp and slightly peppery on the outside, soft and tender on the inside.

It was some good eating.

And I wasn't completely full at the end of the meal, so I got dessert, again asking for a recommendation: my waitress recommended the chocolate cake.

And it was also very, very tasty. For whatever reason, I've been getting much pickier about my chocolate cakes, since a lot of 'em are dry, but this one wasn't, and the whipped cream and chocolate on top set off the cake perfectly.

I still wasn't thrilled with that beer selection, especially since half of the place is a bar (I sat in the dining room because I had work to do).

But as the waitress said, that prime rib was really, really good.

So they get the main thing right, even in a town whose main attractions are the Corn Palace and the George McGovern Museum.

Which is not bad. Not bad at all.

So I hopped back in my car with a full stomach and kept driving towards Pierre, surprised to see that there was still light in the big sky at 9:30.

Rating: Seriously Considered Buying the Shirt

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