Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Chopped Steak

A few months ago I lamented the disappearance of chopped steak from area restaurants. There still are places in Washington that serve a good chopped steak, including Morton's, the Caucus Room (ground Kobe beef no less!), and even the Post Pub. But readers had also alerted me to the fact that chopped steak is alive and well in the heartland. Over the weekend, on my way to a friend's wedding in Quincy, Illinois, I ate at a diner in Silex, Missouri (population: 206), called J.R. Diamonds Restaurant. The waitress could have been Linda Lavin and naturally she called everyone Hon'. Biscuits and toast were baked fresh on the premises while the fried catfish was the daily special. But there in the midst of the entrees I spotted it: "hamburger steak with mashed potatoes and green beans." The platter did not disappoint. The steak was well-seasoned and not overly cooked, topped with grilled onions and slathered in a dark brown gravy. All for $5.95.

If you ever find yourself on Interstate 70 just north of St. Louis, you may want to stop by J.R. Diamonds for a quick bite and friendly conversation. Just don't be alarmed if you hear the occasional explosion. That would be coming from the quarry next door.

5 comments:

Reece said...

Yeah, the midwest is rightwing paradise. Everyone there is humble, god-fearing, reverent, loyal, and most of all, down home.

I'm from Missouri. I've spent quite a bit of time on I-70. I've eaten at little joints you wouldn't even consider. I have never eaten chopped steak in my life. I don't even know what that is.

If you want my red state creds, I'm from Springfield--Home of John Ashcroft and Roy Blunt, splitting 75-25 for Blunt in the last election.

The Midwest, and Missouri especially, is not the repository of your political wet-dreams.

John Tabin said...

Chopped steak, eh? I always thought it was just "chop-steak," but maybe I'd just never seen it written down. (I have read a Morton's menu, but perhaps my eyes just skipped over it.)

Still, I'm not surprised that steakhouses would drop it; it makes more sense as diner food (or the way I'm most familiar with it, as something to do with burger patties at home when you run out of buns). Who goes to a steakhouse and orders ground beef, anyway? Madness, I say.

John Cunningham said...

Ah, chopped steak or beefsteak. It can be really good, especially at Club Paris in Anchorage, AK, where a huge slab of it is served with mushroom gravy. Club Paris is the greatest steak joint in the world. A few years ago, I was at a convention in Kansas City, and some locals took a group of us to the best steak place there. Definitely a cut below Club Paris.

E. Sheehan said...

Wow! Talk about a blast from the past. Chopped Steak was a staple in my house growing up, but I just thought it was a hamburger simmered in Franco-American mushroom gravy (I think my parents called it Salisbury Steak, but I could be wrong). Comfort food heaven! I just may have to make that one of these nights for a trip down sensory memory lane.

Anonymous said...

I am glad this is another politicized comment area in a political blog, oh sorry you are in a food comment. I love food comments, but imbeciles who politicize are part of the problem, even if I do agree. Please be the adult you allege to be, and comment on food. Got to CNN or Fox if you want to comment on politics? Did you get that?