Merichka’s is a large restaurant with a very large menu: steaks of every size and cut, fried chicken, wild salmon and lobster tails, mini cheeseburger appetizers and special occasion cakes for dessert. With time for only one meal, I took the advice of Gregg Pill (Roadfood’s legendary Chitowndiner) and went for a Poor Boy Steak.
Bearing little resemblance to its effulgent Louisiana namesake, Marichka’s poor boy is simplicity itself: a long cube steak in a tube of chewy bread. The bread is good, the steak is tender. What puts the sandwich over the top is its essential condiment, what Merichka’s calls butterine.
Based on its name, I assumed butterine to be a combination of butter and margarine, but the waitress assured me it was only margarine… margarine melted with massive amounts of garlic. Viscous butterine sops the meat as well as the bread, infusing both with intense garlic flavor and transforming what would otherwise be an ordinary sandwich into a fragrant bombshell that is better than the sum of its parts.
Butterine also works wonders on Merichka’s Yodelburger – an elongated ground-beef patty with melted Swiss cheese – and Jane was delighted with the cup of it she got to drizzle on a fine twice-baked potato.
I look forward a return trip to Merichka’s, and perhaps then I will be able and willing to divert my attention from the powerhouse poor boy to other items on the big-deal menu.