Monday, August 1, 2011

I Had Win with Lunch

Popovers -- BLT Steak
BLT Steak

Confessions of an addict: We spent $150 at BLT Steak in order to procure their free appetizer.  Thank you, Best Thing I Ever Ate obsession.
It Takes a Lot of Cash to Get Something for Free in This Town
Earlier in the day, a textual battle of who could say the most nonsensical things in a row had ensued between us.  While Ginger related her all-day perusal of the BLT Steak cocktail menu ("There are not one but TWO ginger-containing cocktails!"), Vodka boasted that she had already begun drinking ("I had win with lunch"), a typo-clad hilarity that Ginger latched onto for the rest of the night.  Fail.

When we manage to arrive at BLT Steak (for our self-induced early-bird special, as we refuse to begin dinner post-6:00pm), Ginger is dolled up in a dress and heels that causes Vodka to inquire about her wardrobe choice.

"This is my steak outfit," she explains, evidently now theming her outfits based on our dining locale, a regular Sandra Lee.
Complete with a Steady Stash of Semi-Homemade Cocktails
We have reconciled to the fact that we will most likely have to consume steak tonight, though in truth, all we really want are the popovers which Tyler Florence flaunted on the APPETIZERS episode of Best Thing I Ever Ate.  Tellingly, they do not deliver said popovers to our table until we have ordered our dinner, seemingly withholding them from the truly cheap diners.

We are only mildly cheap.
And Mildly Ravenous
After all, we recently read a how-to tale from Gael Greene as to how to dine at BLT Steak like a cheapskate and not get kicked out, so we are not above doing the same.  We order a Caesar salad, hanger steak, and baked, fried, and sauteed potatoes to split between us, but we make up for our monetary withholding by drowning ourselves in cocktail expenses.
With the Cocktail List Staying Cuddled Up to Ginger for the Whole Meal
Vodka, who is sticking with wine after her lunch of "win," mocks Ginger's inability to find anything featuring ginger on the cocktail list.  It seems Ginger had been examining an outdated menu online all day, as all ginger products are now missing in action at BLT Steak's bar.  At one point, the busboy ostensibly calls Ginger an alcoholic, inquiring as to whether her water glass is filled with water or vodka (Hey Buddy - Vodka's across the table.  Get it together). 

Speaking of the busboy, Vodka has already had an uncomfortable interaction with him, as he had witnessed her complaining about the pillows that decorate BLT Steak's booths, which Vodka finds to be a nuisance.  "Do you need me to remove that for you?" the busboy asks after Vodka can be seen performing contortions in order to make the pillow useful.  If one's sanity can be judged by treatment of a throw pillow, Vodka is not on the winning end of crazy.

Anyway, as we sip our drinks, we receive a gelatin-laden pate-like appetizer with crunchy slices of bread.  We stare at the dish blankly, each thinking the same thing:
These Better Not Be the Popovers
Tasting this creation, Ginger finds the texture disconcerting, but Vodka mops it up, jelly coating and all.

When the popovers eventually arrive, we know on sight that we are in the presence of a 5-star food.  Gargantuan and warm, they are served with country butter and a gallon of salt to self-sprinkle.  Said salt becomes an issue when Vodka manages to consume most of the container ("The problem is I can't see it," she says, due to the camouflage nature of salt-on-white popover).
Vodka Trying to Create Her Own Personal Salt Lick
Ripping into the middle, the popover manages to be crunchy on the surface yet chewy on the underside of the thin layers, and the butter melts into its inner workings instantaneously.  Topped by the rapidly-disappearing salt, the popover is to die for, and it manages to outshine all of the food for which we actually pay.
The Grand Canyon of Popped Dough
Downright euphoric by the time the entrees arrive, we dig into the Caesar salad, which buries Smith and Wollensky's wilted monstrosity under the table.  Fresh and crunchy, coated in superb dressing and a healthy helping of Parmesan cheese, the salad is delectable, as are the two slices of cheesy bread that accompany it.  And though Gael Greene had lamented the lack of actual anchovies, we non-foodies do not miss the little creatures.
Non-A Little Mermaid Caesar Salad
The hanger steak is tasty enough, particularly with the addition of the bearnaise sauce which we order with it, but we decide we much prefer the filet cuts we had eaten at Smith and Wollensky. 
But Cheap Carnivores Can't Complain about Their Choices
Good Enough to Mask the Taste of Penny-Pinching Cuts of Meat
The baked, fried, and sauteed potatoes are slightly odd - coated with cheese and bacon, they seem like they should be the best idea ever.  Instead, they taste like diner hashbrowns, and the cheese on top is a strange consistency (not gooey and warm, but very thick, rubbery, and nearly impossible to break apart).  The potatoes seem to improve as they cool (and they are helped by a healthy dosing of Vodka's treasured salt), but for all of their tasty components, they should just be better.
Akin to the Thursday Special at Your High School Cafeteria
As we pay the bill, we are greeted by a free dessert sampler: miniature passion fruit marshmallows and espresso brownies, both of which are scrumptious.
Dessert Unfortunately Does Not Come with a Side of Popovers
As we leave our nursing home-timed dinner, just as most of the dining room is beginning to fill, Ginger relates that she recently had to tell a friend that she couldn't go out because she "didn't feel up to it.  I'm like old -- I don't feel up to things."  Meanwhile, Vodka is using every ounce of self-control to not steal popovers off of the tables that we pass on our way out.
Now Would Be the Time to Develop a Thievery Superpower
Though since she failed to stash her trusty pint of salt in her handbag, what would really be the point?
Talk Salty to Me
BLT Steak's Popovers: 5 stars*

*Certifiable Best Thing We Ever Ate

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