Where Can I get a Great Steak?
I was going to make a fresh pasta dish for dinner, and that required a specific shape from the fresh pasta store, but when I got the pasta shop, there was none to be had. On top of that, I had a few other set backs in trying to make this dish, and I got so frustrated that I gave up. It was a situation when I said, "Show me a sign, do I cook or go out to dinner?" The answer was clear, there were so many road blocks with gathering ingredients to cook, that going out was the only option.
My go-to weekend comfort meal is a good steak on grill with a side of corn and potato. This has been my birthday dinner request for years, from when I was probably 5 or 6 years old. It has been my summer weekend treat meal since we moved into a house where we are allowed to have a grill. Prior to my house, I lived in an apt in Nashville, and it is a city ordinance that it is illegal to have an open grill at a multi-home dwellings like apts and condos due to fire hazards. So, for years, I did not grill. Now, we can grill, and we can have grilled food now.
But, because I was to frustrated to cook anything, I wanted to go out, and I wanted steak, and there was no ifs ands or buts about it.
I decided on Stoney River Steakhouse because I was determined to get a steak cooked perfectly in the way I wanted it cooked. There are only 3 places in Nashville that can REALLY Pittsburgh and excellent cut of beef, and one of them is Stoney River. A Pittsburgh steak is a hot charred steak on the outside, and a red rare steak on the inside. The origins were in Iron City Pittsburgh during the big iron mining days, and Pittsburgh-ing a steak included a sheet of steel and a blow torch. The steak was placed on the steel, and then the blow torch would char the outside and leave the inside rare. That is what I wanted for my steak. This is really hard to do at home because you need a lot of BTUs to start the char on a cold steak, and there just are not enough BTUs for most conventional home cooking equipment.
I interrogated the waitstaff about the kitchen and if they can Pittsburgh a steak. He looked at me and said, "We are a steakhouse, of course we can Pittsburgh a steak!" I said that I wanted it red rare cold in the middle and charred on the outside. If it comes out medium or well done, I am returning it to the kitchen. I was thrilled when my steak came to my table, it was exactly how I wanted it. The waitstaff has to understand why I asked so intently. It is because I have been burned before at restaurants who claim they know what Pittsburgh-ing a steak is, yet deliver a well done piece of ruined steak. Stoney River does know how to make a steak, and can deliver it correctly.
There are some other things that Stoney River does very well besides delivering a great steak. The details of the decor I noted were the ceiling in the entry was painted a dark moss that went with the stone fire place and the tan leather couch, and set the mood of entering a well kept mountain lodge. The ceiling in the dining room is wood, that went with the matte finish of the table we were seated. The acoustics were well done such that we could not hear anything that was being said at adjacent tables, and I assume they could not hear us. The acoustics were such that there isn't that terrible tinny roar you get with other concrete hard surface restaurants. The placement and delivery of water, straws, and lemon wedges for water were perfect. The delivery of the steak knives were also done with precision. The bathrooms have really nice doors, marble sinks, and a nice used towel basket. What came with the meal is complimentary bread. They are little puff balls served warm with a nice honey butter. And of course, the chocolate cake to finish the meal was deliciously sweet.
After I got home, I made the announcement that when I really want a steak, a Pittsburgh rare steak, I believe Stoney River is my go-to place. I have seen other reviews of Stoney River claiming it is expensive, and for Nashville, I guess it is. However, I think there is a value here because the quality of the meat is great, and they preparation of the meat is great! Sure, I can spend about 1/2 as a lesser restaurant and have a terrible experience, poor quality meat, and poor preparation. I think it is worth saving up, and going to Stoney River to get an excellent steak.