Special Occasion Steakhouse Evenings – Three Forks

When you pass the Bar Exam and your significant other wants to treat you, he takes you to a steakhouse, damnit. And, given that it’s one of the nicer, fancier steakhouse restaurants, you’ll have to forgive me for not wanting to be that idiot taking pictures of their food (especially in a dimly it dining room).

Given that is was a Monday night, we didn’t really need reservations and got a pretty money seat without them. I would recommend though, if you go on a weekend night, definitely make reservations in advance. When you walk in, you immediately have to adjust your eyes to the darkness. I’m of the philosophy that ALL nice restaurants should have VERY dim lighting – to set the mood and whatnot, you know? You can see two very large (well-lit) glass enclosures (cages?) of presumptuously expensive wine guarded by two undoubtedly knowledgeable sommeliers. The hostesses were beyond pleasant, and even the took the time to try to get to know us while they walked us to our table. Bonus points for making me feel like more than just another number. The table had very plush banquet seating on one side and stiff back chairs on the other, with a large table – just like every steakhouse should be. We got a corner table in a small off-set dining area, complete with tray ceiling and hanging chandeliers. Nice touch.

Our waitress greeted us, wearing a humorously stiff outfit. I’ve worked in restaurants before, so I know how restraining a uniform can be. But this poor girl had multiple layers and a seemingly noose-like tie. But hey, if you are going for the fancy upscale stuffy restaurant, I guess this uniform goes to that ambiance. She was very friendly, but almost seemed to be selling a bit too much – everything was “her favorite” or “very very good” or “we would absolutely love.” I’m always more impressed when a server tells me things they actually don’t like on the menu. But she was sweet enough, and wasn’t mean/rude/incompetent, so no knocks there really.

I should admit that DJ Snugglemonster and I were already two drinks in, having celebrated at Moxie with friends for happy hour before (For the record, Moxie has amazing drinks.). DJ Snugglemonster ordered his typical Old Fashioned (when did those make such a comeback?! All of my male friends are addicted all of a sudden!). I asked our waitress what she recommended, since I hadn’t really gotten a chance to look at their cocktail menu. She recommended something with rum and fruit juices of some kind (usually a can’t-go-wrong choice), but this drink was SUPER strong and tasted a bit like cough medicine. But hey, that’s what I get instead of looking over the menu (I missed the Moscow Mule they serve!). The rest of their cocktails look pretty amazing to be honest. My only other issue with their drinks, is not really their drinks, but the menu. I think it looks really cheap when you have a legitimate, thick, paper menu full of your items (including a smaller foldable A-frame looking drink menu) and then you trot out an iPad for your wine and dessert items. An iPad is a trying-to-look-cute move, and it’s wholly unnecessary. I don’t need you trying to look modern and cool, especially when the whole feel of your restaurant is an old-school, intimate, classy steakhouse. It would be different if I was at a hip, new, technology-driven fusion or molecular-gastronomy restaurant. But it’s out of place here.

Shall we move on to the food? We didn’t order any appetizers because we were prepared for a pretty large feast with the entrees alone, but DJ SnuggleMonster has been before and said the Ahi Tuna appetizer is sublime (and honestly, how can you screw up tuna?!). But let’s skip to the real reason you are here – the steaks. There are three “options” to choose from. I like to categorize them as “Economical, Spoiled, and Share for Your Last Meal on Earth.” Don’t get me wrong, the Economical section is still REALLY good and not exactly cheap (you are at a steakhouse after all). You have all of your regular cuts here: filets, ribeyes, NY strips, etc. (even a flat iron, which is cheaper, but I bet still delicious). The “spoiled” section is just their bone-in cuts that have been dry-aged for a super-long period of time. It develops the flavor and makes it so much more tender. And then you have the third tier – the stuff you should save only if you are really celebrating your lottery win (and doing so with a football team of friends or you are really hungry). All of these are Wagyu beef, which is really just meat from overly-babied and coddled cows – basically the new Kobe beef. Any steakhouse worth its salt should have the Supreme Ruler of Steak on the menu – the Tomahawk cut, which 3 Forks does have (and its Wagyu!).  There are also larger cuts of strips and ribeyes – also Wagyu. DJ Snugglemonster was disappointed because they weren’t serving the Bone-In Filet anymore, but apparently that’s just a special they only run occasionally (including Ruth’s Chris too). It sounds spectacular, since bone-in makes everything much more succulent, and filets are tender on their own. Plus, a filet is the smallest cut, so to leave that as the only remaining part on the bone, that’s a lot of labor and missed food cost for the restaurant (so don’t be surprised if the markup is high). But, if it was on the menu, you better believe I would have ordered it. Instead, I ordered the bone-in ribeye because I love marbling and bone-in cuts (hey, fat is flavor! And I never said I was on a diet). DJ Snugglemonster got the 12 ounce filet (because he’s weird and is all about his health and also hates marbling). The ribeye was soft, buttery, and beyond tender. I didn’t expect to be able to eat all 18 oz, but I somehow managed to put it away (perhaps because it’s so irresistible?!). DJ Snugglemonster’s filet was HUGE…I don’t think I’ve ever seen a taller filet than that one. And it looked just as tender and sliceable as my ribeye.

Before you finish ordering, make sure to look at the “crowns” section – where you can cap your steak with any of four different toppings. I am always a sucker for Blue Cheese on my steaks, but our waitress recommended the King’s Butter, which a lot of people also order apparently. It’s a strange concoction of truffles, honey, garlic, and foie gras. I’ll admit, it sounded intriguing, so I ordered it. In the moment, it wasn’t offputting, but after the meal and for days afterward, the more I thought about it, the more gross it became to me. It has a strange, earthy/muddy aftertaste which takes awhile to tickle your tastebuds. That aside, the steaks are so buttery themselves (especially the marbled cuts or the bone-in ones), that it’s like eating butter on top of butter. I would definitely save this topping if it’s your kind of thing for one of the filets. Honestly, the steak would have been AMAZING on its own. But, next time, blue cheese for sure.

Like most steakhouse philosophies, if you want sides, you order them for the table. Yes, there is Mac and Cheese on the menu, but I can’t abide by adulterated Mac. I’m sure lobster is delicious to everyone (not me), but it doesn’t belong in mac and cheese. It just shouldn’t. So, we went with the other cheesy option – the Six Cheese Potatoes. Yes, it was plenty cheesy and the potatoes were cooked well, but it just lacked flavor other than that. I definitely could have done better myself at home, and probably for significantly cheaper. Depending on how hungry your crew is, I’d say the sides are good for probably three folks to share along with their steak. But there are plenty of other sides options to choose from that look spectacular, so don’t fret. Another great fancy touch is that after your steak appears, another server magically appears and offers you fresh tomatoes or green onions as an accompaniment to your steak. I can definitely see how those could add to the flavor, and they looked super fresh, but I couldn’t think of any more food at that point (since I was staring down 18 oz of delicious cow).

Last note is on dessert. Since DJ Snugglemonster loathes sweets, I’m not sure how I convinced him to share dessert with me, but we ordered the Port Poached Pear. The port flavor was a great note, but the pear was a touch too sweet (even for me!). The cream that accompanied the pear was smooth, nutty, and velvety and paired well with the pears. We passed on the chocolate peanut butter pie, but I’m sure that would’ve been amazing (and rich, no doubt). I ordered coffee because I’ve been without for far too long and to try to cure my persistent alcohol headache (I told you that drink was strong!). The coffee was amazing – assertive without being abrasive and bitter. And the server was always right there to top me off if needed.

Three Forks is definitely a must-visit. But just be wary of your menu choices. While it does’t look like a particularly large menu, it can be in reality, and there are definitely some pitfalls. DJ Snugglemonster and I are planning a second trip back, where we belly up to the bar and order appetizers/bar munchies/drinks the whole night. Will keep you posted on our Round Two trip when that happens, because it will undoubtedly be a good experience too.

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