When is the last time, you heard someone say, “Let’s go out for some Canadian food!”
Yeah, it didn’t happen this time either.
My good friend Marc, ex-chef and the other half of the literary arm of R.A.T. (Restaurant Assault Team) called about a place that I had not heard of. Marc’s boys play hockey and they regularly travel to Canada. This is where he first dined at The Keg Steakhouse. He described it as the Black Angus restaurant chain of Canada. He was delighted when one opened in Phoenix, Arizona at the Desert Ridge mall.
We arrived on Friday night at about 9:30 p.m. (Reservations are accepted Sunday through Thursday.) After being handed the now famous led flashing coaster pager, we adjourned to the bar to await a table. The first thing I noticed was the abundance of young nubile hotties at the bar.
Soon thereafter the pager went off and we were lead to a comfortable booth covered in gray velour.
Keith was our waiter and I must say; I have not had finer friendlier service in a very long time. He was polite, attentive and knowledgeable; even as we tossed out questions only Escoffier on speed could answer. I respect the fact that if he didn’t know, he took the time to find out.
We perused the appetizer menu and Marc mentioned that of all the Keg restaurants he had sampled; the décor in this one was much nicer than any he had previously seen. He mentioned that most are quite simple, bordering on run-down.
For appetizers we chose an order of escargot and bacon-wrapped scallops. A boule of hot steamy sourdough bread and whipped butter was delivered. The scallops may have been the sweetest I have yet encountered. The bacon was perfectly crisp and tasted almost like it was smoked with apple wood.
The dish is served with cocktail sauce which was unnecessary and masked the simple perfection of the scallops. The escargot was the only thing about the Keg that was not perfect. They arrived in the standard six-hole ceramic dish; each of the six topped with a mushroom cap.
The butter on top was slightly charred but the escargot was tender. The butter had an odd flavor which we decided might have been seasoned with allspice or something a bit aromatic. I do not fault an establishment for serving a rendition of escargot sans the pedestrian garlic butter standard but these needed salt and more flavor. Marc loved them; which is a compliment in itself. The bread was perfectly steamy hot and crusty.
We perused the menu with consists of steak, fish, salads and seafood. They boast 80 locations across Canada and now the U.S.A., including one in Chandler and Phoenix.
Marc chose the prime rib which he had raved about. I chose an entrée that I have not seen on a menu in about twenty five years. It is listed on the menu as a Baseball sirloin. Years ago this cut was known as a Culotte steak. It is a Top sirloin cap steak and there is just one on each top sirloin. It is the size of a baseball and square cut. The menu states that medium-rare is the most that they can cook it. It could be butterflied for those Cretans who might enjoy medium well or what chefs refer to as completely ruined.
It was perfectly cooked. There is a temperature guide listed that explains the different degrees of doneness. Mine was perfect but I wish I had noticed that they were willing to cook it Chicago. This is also referred to as Pittsburgh in some parts of the country. The steak is charred on the outside and rare or medium rare on the inside. The next time I will request it cooked this way.
Side dishes consist of stuffed potato, baked potato with three cheese butter, garlic mashed potatoes and fresh vegetables. I opted for the baked potato, Marc chose the stuffed. Both were well done. I especially liked the thinly sliced deep-fried onions, which accompanied Marc’s prime rib. They were slightly dusted in flour, crispy and well seasoned. We enjoyed an order of asparagus perfectly cooked and seasoned. The three cheese butter was excellent on the potato and even better on the bread.
The Phoenix Keg Steakhouse and Bar offers some dishes not seen in years like planked salmon and the Culotte steak. The price for two rang in at $127 including tip.
We commented that this was about half of what we would have spent at Morton’s or Flemings and $50 of that was wine. I will definitely return to the keg to sample the Szechwan green beans and the salads. We did not sample dessert due to our middle-aged diet: Fit for clothes.
Coupons are sometimes available for discounts and special menu items.
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