Monday, November 19, 2012

Why Is the Cake Cold?!

Chocolate Cake -- Strip House
Strip House

Have you any idea how difficult it is to continually search for a restaurant called "Strip House" and not feel just a bit dirty and a trifle lewd?
Have We No Decency Anymore?!
The reason for our persistent Googling is that we are trying to figure out how to eat at this steak house in the way that is the cheapest and does not actually feature steak.
Um, Yeah -- Any Entrees That Don't Require Us to Throw Down a Wad of Hundreds?!
In a Hail Mary play of search results, Ginger determines that if we eat in Strip House's Grill Room, we can order the $18 burgers, as opposed to the $45+ entrees served at the regular restaurant.  Needless to say, we choose the Grill Room option.
We Mean -- The Grill Room Has Its Own Bar -- What More Could We Possibly Want?
We are here to meet the one surviving member of our Booze Before Books club, as our other so-called "friends" packed up and left town for good, leaving a trail of sticky-from-cocktails footprints in their wake.  In typical Booze Before Books fashion, we do not actually have a book to discuss at this rendezvous, but we are prepared to start drinking.  Immediately.  If not sooner.
And Also to Begin Stuffing Our Faces with Carbs
Indeed, the second we are escorted from the regular Strip House to the basement next door (ways to make the thrifty patrons feel like even bigger cheapskates = turn them into dungeon dwellers), we hop to placing our drink orders -- a raspberry vodka soda for Vodka, a gin and tonic for Ginger, and a dark and stormy for our sole surviving friend.  Said drinks take entirely too long for our impatient throats, we make a grand show of toasting with the complimentary shot glasses of cauliflower soup in an attempt to get our waiter to move things along.
We "Toasted" With These No Less Than Three Times
When our cocktails still fail to materialize, we dive into the bread basket, and Ginger makes a not-exactly-successful attempt at carving each of the provided rolls in three (um, Strip House -- could you spare a few more rolls?  Really now.  We like our carbs).  The raisin roll, brioche, and baguette are all pleasant enough (there is sea salt sprinkled on top of the latter, which makes Vodka entirely too happy).  If only Strip House hadn't seemingly pulled our butter dish out of the freezer (as it is difficult to remove from the bowl and even harder to spread), and handed us, oh, at least a dozen more rolls, we might have been more satisfied with this bread basket experience.
So, To Translate, We Are Not Satisfied At All
Onto our entrees, we each order the spare rib burger with cheddar cheese, prepared medium (in truth, Ginger wants to have hers WELL DONE, but she is too sheepish to actually request such a char-broiled consistency).
As a Sidenote, Who Puts a GIANT Pepper and an OLIVE on a Burger?
The burgers come with a dazzling array of French fries, which have been cooked to a crisp (some would say -- Vodka -- a tad TOO crispy) and doused with at least a pound of salt (which Vodka naturally finds pleasing, while Ginger can be found trying to scrape salt particles off of the roof of her mouth).
Clearly, Strip Houses Are Not Overly Concerned with Their Patrons' Sodium Intake
Similar to the bread situation, Strip House is stingy when it comes to doling out the pickles, as they give us each only a single slice for our burgers (in contrast to the gigantic portions of red onion, tomato, lettuce, and peppers).  In fact, Vodka's first comment upon tasting the burger is "This could stand for more pickles," displaying that the surefire way to turn us against a restaurant is to withhold the condiment-type items from our plates.
It's Never the Big Things That Bring You Down, Restaurants -- It's the Pickles
All in all, the burgers are fine -- Vodka finds hers a bit dry and overcooked, but Ginger is too busy bemoaning the state of her over-salted fries to complain about it.
Does This Look "Medium" to You?!
And in truth, the burgers do not matter that much, as they are not the reason we are here.  That distinction goes to Strip House's famous chocolate cake, which Michael Psilakis recommended on the GUILTY PLEASURES episode of Best Thing I Ever Ate.  
"You Know, I Really Don't Like Chocolate Cake" = NOT the Thing to Say When This Appears
A slice of cake comes to our table, and to say that it is gargantuan would be an understatement.  The slab looks like something out of the giant's portion of a fairy tale, and not necessarily in a good way.
In This Particular Telling, the Cake Would Be the Villain
Twenty-four layers of cake and icing (which is fudge-like in consistency) build up to the top, and with a single forkful, it is impossible to reach all the way down to the bottom of the slice.
Miles to Go Before We Eat
"This is just unnecessarily large," Vodka notes with disdain as layers of cake crumble onto the plate.  Eating this monster proves to be an ordeal, as we must hack away at the sides like sculptors carving into a block of ice.

And speaking of ice....

The cake is cold.  COLD.  Not just chilled, but downright frigid, like it has been pulled out of the freezer rather than the refrigerator (perhaps it was keeping the butter dishes company).
Apparently, Strip House Thinks They Excel at Ice Art
This happenstance would not be an issue if we liked cold cakes (which Ginger swears she does), but Vodka and our friend HATE them, and swear that layer cakes are never, ever meant to be served cold.
Also, Cake Is Meant to FIT IN OUR MOUTHS
And then, there is the matter of the taste of this cake.  There is a definite if inconsistent metallic flavor that we notice upon our first tastes.  Ginger insists that this sprinkling of metal dissipates as we move closer to the center of the slice, but Vodka argues that this does not mean that the taste improves.
And For Our Final Course, We'll Take a Bowl of Pennies, Thanks
We debate for a few minutes about what star rating this cake should get, before deciding that the physical evidence always wins out over the circumstantial.  And before us, we have a whole half-slice of uneaten cake resting on our table, with no one intending to take another bite.

Therefore, we have no choice other than to convict Strip House of murder in the first degree for effectively killing our dessert.

Strip House's Chocolate Cake: 2 stars

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