Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Off the Map: Can You Please Wash Our Shrimp?

Shrimp Cocktail -- St. Elmo's Steak House's, Indianapolis, IN
St. Elmo's Steak House's

Vodka and her friend, Diet Coke's, last stop on this midwestern tour ends at St. Elmo's Steak House, home of Ray Lampe's Best Thing I Ever Ate HOT AND SPICY shrimp cocktail.  
We Traipsed All the Way to Indianapolis for Four Measly Shrimp
Being that we have no interest in trying to wolf down a ribeye in the dining room, we're hoping to sit at the bar, where Vodka declares, "You know I'm going to have to get a drink so that they don't think we're weird."
Hello, Old Friend
"I'm sure that will be a real sacrifice for you," Diet Coke's look seems to say, as we thankfully find two empty bar stools.  Despite the fact that it is barely 4:00pm -- even by our early bird special preferences, a tad early for dinner -- the place is completely packed.  
Have You People Never Heard of Chipotle?
We place our order over the din of the crowd: one shrimp cocktail, one Diet Coke, and one Manhattan (because Vodka thinks it's a travesty that she's in bourbon country and has yet to partake in its favorite liquor).  
After a Full Day in Kentucky, Vodka Chooses to Get a Bourbon Cocktail in... Indiana?
All three arrive moments later, to which Diet Coke mimes grabbing for a shrimp before Vodka has a chance to snap any photos (unlike Ginger, who frequently forgets about the "blog rules" (don't touch the food until the pictures are snapped!), Diet Coke is incredibly obedient).  
Food-Based Patience Is Not Exactly Ginger's Strong Suit
This shrimp cocktail is different than most, in that, the shrimp itself is buried beneath a solid helping of cocktail sauce.  
Shrimp in Disguise
While we are aware that this dish was featured on the HOT AND SPICY episode, it appears we didn't choose to take that information to heart, as within moments of tasting the shrimp, we're convinced that we may keel over right on the spot.
Can Somebody Please Call the Paramedics?
"Are they trying to kill us?!" Vodka calls out, chugging water to try revive whatever is left of her sinuses.  St. Elmo's cocktail sauce's signature is the fact that it is mixed with a hearty helping of horseradish.  But this isn't any old horseradish, a condiment which Vodka generally loves.

This is hostile horseradish.  
A Villainous Shrimp Cocktail
We soon squirt the provided lemon wedges over the rest of the shrimp, hoping it will help take away some of the sting.  "Should I pour my Diet Coke on it?" Diet Coke asks.  "Your Manhattan?"
We're Gonna Need a Lot More Than Two Lemons to Save Us
"I should ask the bartender to please wash our shrimp for us," Vodka says, as we simultaneously begin scraping as much of the sauce as we can off of the fish.  
Kind of Missing the Point, Don't You Think?
While the shrimp themselves are quite large and appear to be very fresh, we can barely taste them over the constant assault of the cocktail sauce.  We decide that part of the problem is the plating of the dish, where the cocktail sauce is poured directly over the shrimp, rather than allowing the customer to choose how much to dip into it.  While the fact that St. Elmo's sauce is apparently "famous" originally caused us to assume that other people like it, upon tasting it, we're beginning to wonder if it's merely famous for being a lethal weapon.
Particularly When You Begin Chugging Your Bourbon Just to Quench the Sting
"Now this -- this is delicious!" Diet Coke calls out, waving the provided saltine crackers in the air wildly.  "4 stars!  Maybe 5!"  And indeed, it's never a good sign when the complimentary crackers are preferable to the $14.95 dish of only four barely edible shrimp.
Could We Please Have a Case of These? We're Dying Here
As we slump out of St. Elmo's, we spot Indianapolis's other Best Thing I Ever Ate location, Steak 'n Shake (previously reviewed -- and given 5 stars -- at its NYC location).  
Proof That We Should Stick Only to Chain Restaurants From Now On
When we notice a sign for milkshake happy hour, which ends in exactly three minutes, we sprint across the street like we're running out of a fire.
The Only Way to Recover from a St. Elmo's Onslaught
Though in our case, the fire just happens to be in our mouths.

St. Elmo's Steak House's Shrimp Cocktail: 2 stars

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