Sunday, February 15, 2015

Restaurant Review: Clawson Steakhouse

Restaurant or Icon?

We must have passed this place about 1000 times before we tried it.

It's been there for years. The parking lot is always filled with overflow across the street and by other businesses. We have heard about it repeatedly as a destination of other folks. Why hadn't we tried it sooner? Well there were a couple of reasons. . . From the outside it looks very dated, starting with the old sign that you can see from 14 Mile Road with what looks like a drawn picture of a steak that looks more like ham and the old stone facade on the building. Secondly I've never been a plain steak for the sake of steak kind of person and typically steakhouses are really about just cooking that slab of meat.

But last night was the night. My husband called ahead and found out that they will not accept reservations for two so we walked in and put our name in. We came back twenty minutes later and were able to be readily seated, in an actual very cozy corner booth. The decor is really a step back in time but it's dimly lit which actually makes it a little more intimate. The bar really was iconic, with old retro seats with arms and there is a live band and dance floor in the other section. My husband described it as "Love Boat Decor" and it really kind of is!

The menu is pretty straightforward from what you would think about at a steakhouse. Lots of different kinds of meat but there were a few surprises including Opa! on the appetizer section of the menu, and a couple of veal and steak selections with a Bearnaise sauce.

I can say that portions here are generous, and come with a bunch of little extras. We were given hot dinner rolls and breadsticks pretty soon after being seated. The rolls were rather good with a crusty outside and a little bit of saltiness. We started out with an appetizer of calamari which was above average and came with a tomato basil sauce that was reminiscent of ammoglio. The calamari was your basic ring version but the coating was very good and they were a very nice texture.

Entrees come with both soup and a garden salad. The soup selections were clam chowder and French onion. We chose the onion and it had a generous layer of baked cheese on top and a very nice crouton. It wasn't the heartiest version of French Onion I have ever had but it had a good flavor. I should note that the food is served pretty "no frills" including some very plain basic plates without any garnish unless you consider the piece of green on our calamari plate.

The garden salads came with your choice of dressing and I really thought that the blue cheese was quite good. The lettuce was mostly iceberg but it was crisp and fresh and had cucumbers and cherry tomatoes with it.

Entrees also came with a choice of sides such as baked potatoes and pasta. I chose the pasta with the meat sauce and it was also very good. The pasta was fresh spaghetti and came with a generous portion of meat sauce and a side of fresh Parmesan cheese. 

So of course this is a steak restaurant so I should talk about the steaks. That is always more difficult for me because as I said before, I'm not one for just a slab of meat. I ordered the Steak Lorenzo which featured a sirloin steak topped with shrimp, asparagus and Bearnaise sauce. The steak was a hunk of meat. It was a large hunk of meat and it was prepared to order but they just don't excite me. The shrimp with it was delicious and I liked the sauce. I always like crisp asparagus so that was good as well.

We also ordered a Sizzler which was a New York Strip steak with their version of Zip sauce. While I personally am not a big fan of that particular cut of meat, and I prefer my meat more rare (it was ordered Medium Well), it was quite good. The sauce was delicious and it was a good quality steak.

So final verdict, this is an experience rather than just a dinner. If you like simple, straightforward food, and lots of it, for a reasonably fair price, I recommend it. If we go back I would try the veal instead of the steak and I think it would be very enjoyable.

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