Jesse’s Embers is the sort of supper club you don’t find much anymore: dark, cool, and sequestered, home of expertly made cocktails and high quality meat and potatoes meals. Ensconce yourself at a comfy table, start with a pile of kettle-hot onion rings and an iceberg lettuce salad topped with creamy garlic dressing and croutons. An open-pit grill where you can watch the chef cook steaks to the exact degree of doneness requested provides fascinating entertainment, especially if you arrive hungry. At Jesse’s, it is good to arrive hungry.
A fine 12-ounce Iowa pork chop is available, and you even can have whitefish, walleye pike, or other seafood; but Jesse’s fame is built on beef. Choose sirloin (known as the Embers Special), bacon-wrapped filet mignon, London broil, or ribeye; and accompany it with crisp cottage-fried potatoes or a baked spud loaded with butter and sour cream. A sharp knife slides easily through fibers of the meat, and as the inside is revealed, juices puddle out onto the plate. No, the beef is not the overpampered prime you get at super-expensive steak-house chains that cater to expense accounts; but it is every bit as flavorful. And the experience of dining at Jesse’s Embers is a taste of the Midwest that no chain can offer.