Okay! Okay! I know it is a chain. I don’t usually review chains. But the fact of the matter is I eat here at least twice per month, and I really like the place. So here goes.
There are all levels of steakhouses. I am a carnivore in the worst degree so I visit a lot of them. At the high end you got your Morton’s of Chicago, Ruth’s Chris, Fleming’s, and Hyde Park Grille, plus numerous independents like the Diamond Grille and Ken Stewarts in Akron. All of these involve going to the bank and mortgaging your house. All good. All expensive. And the Diamond Grille in Akron doesn’t take credit cards!!! What’s a body to do?
Starting at the other end, you get some places like the Golden Corral. Move up a bit you get the Texas Roadhouse chain. Then you come to Outback. The food gets better as you move up the chain. For awhile there was Lone Star…with its very loud and abrasive Texas yahoo theme. Place was always packed on the weekends. Couldn’t cook a well done burger and I got lots of free lunches as a result. And the Brown Derby’s of the world are now long extinct, leaving us in themed restaurant heaven.
Longhorn is one of those themed restaurants. But here’s the thing. The restaurant underwent some renovations about six months ago, and what came out the other end was actually one of the most attractive restaurant spaces in the area. Yes, it still is western themed, but it blends into these shades of gold, brown and tan with an effect that you know the painting of horses are on the walls, but what you see is calming, soothing and very, very pretty. The bar area is spectacularly gleaming. Whoever did their interior design earned their money ten times over.
In addition, they turned down the music (still country but background…not blasting) and upgraded the food. Previously, I had some really bad steaks…no more. They are good, tender, and always seem to be perfectly prepared. They know what they are doing. In addition, they have some spectacular appetizers that aren’t as kitschy as let’s say a Chili’s might be. They are creative and good.
Given that I eat steak, preferably sirloin because I like the flavor, it’s hard to say much more than they are good, tender, and cooked the way I like order them. But the additions of upgraded fish and appetizer offerings are appealing. The salmon is always very good. Service is usally more than adequate. And their bread and butter is wonderful...a sweet whole grain bread you can't stop eating once you start. I mostly have lunch there, but I am watching them build their menus and specials…and as the saying goes… the are in it to win it.
Price point is a little above Outback (and you can see it in the quality), but certainly below the top of the line expense account steakhouses. Portions are controlled, but more than ample. I would rather have a smaller steak that is superb than one hanging off the plate that is gristly and inedible. Quality and preparation count here. These folks are making an effort, and a meat eater like me appreciates the effort.
For a chain, I give it 4 meatballs. Give it a try! The atmosphere will make you want to linger over cocktails.
953 BOARDMAN-POLAND ROAD
BOARDMAN, OH 44512