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.
37 minutes ago