Memorable | One of the Best
Review by: notpurfect
In considering the term Roadfood, I had not been certain that there was a place here for Murray’s steak house. Roadfood is, after all, served in little roadside diners, or small homey places in the middle of town, known to all of the locals, and a few lucky outsiders. Roadfood is served at the truck stop just outside of town, the one that many of the locals drive out to get to. Road food is also the stuff served at the souvenir stand, or the gas station with the museum, rock garden, or reptile garden. Roadfood is cheap, fast, good, and real. Roadfood is an adventure and a delight. Though Murray’s is hardly what you would call a truck stop, and is not what most people would call cheap, it certainly qualifies in the other respects. I have noticed reviews of two other fine steak houses at which I have eaten, the Million Dollar in Jackson, and the Big Texan in (where else) Texas. Murray’s is the equal of either of these places.
For five years we have been coveting a meal at Murray’s; finally, we got one. It was everything we had hoped it would be. It seems that every year, when we come for the State Fair, a trip to Murray’s finds it either full, or closed. Bad timing on our part is to blame, a consequence of always coming during a holiday weekend, but this year was different.
Murray’s is a classic steak house, a traditional full service restaurant. As soon as the hostess escorts you past the full service bar and into the subdued lighting of the curtained, mirrored, and crowded dining room, you know you are in a place where they do things the right way. After being conditioned to standing in line for plastic assembly line food, served by sales clerks, for most people a place like Murray’s is a revelation. This is why people go out to eat. You don’t come here to fill your face, and sate your appetite, though one of Murray’s steaks will certainly accomplish this; you come here to dine.
A full service restaurant goes beyond a well-appointed dining room, linen tablecloths, and good food. It comes from the efforts of a competent and professional staff. We sat very near the kitchen but heard no clatter of pans, shouts, or other distracting kitchen noises. The busboys did not crash, bang or throw dirty dishes onto the trays, though they did manage to keep our water glasses full, and get our plates as soon as they were emptied. The servers did not drop trays, forget items, spill, or bump into things as they walked (at least not that I could see). Everyone was friendly, polite, and accommodating. The dining room itself, though busy and full of activity, held no sign of the chaos that seems a natural part of so many modern restaurants. These people know what they are doing.
Murray’s does not have a dress code, much to our relief, though I noticed most of the other diners, were quite well attired. We went in jeans and polo shirts. Though the place is not fancy in the pretentious manner of many gourmet or haute cuisine places, it is certainly upscale. Neither elaborately fancy, nor quite what I would call casual, the word that springs to mind is proper. This is where grownups go to eat when they get tired of fast food, indifferent service, and chain restaurants that strive to be average.
Our waiter, Nick, was friendly, fast, and seemed genuinely to enjoy what he does. A four-year veteran of Murray’s, he managed to tread that fine line, so often missed, between being obtrusive, and not being around when something was required. Pleasant and outgoing, he hammed it up for the camera a bit, when I asked if photography was allowed.
The menu is not entirely a selection of steaks. There are a few pasta dishes, chicken entrees, and a selection of seafood, including lobster. I would wager that all of these offerings are tasty, well-prepared, and nicely presented. I couldn’t say for certain though; I ordered steak. You are probably doing yourself and Murray’s a bit of a disservice, at least on your first visit, if you order anything else. This is, after all, a steak house. You can expect to pay between $20 and $30 for a steak, though there are entrees going down into the low teens, and up over $50.
We had planned to order a prime rib and a New York Strip but ended up deciding differently. What changed our selections was seeing a waitress at a nearby table bring out what looked like a roast, and carve it, before arranging it on two plates for a pair of hungry diners. This was one of the steaks for two, a specialty of the house. Our particular selection was a Silver Butter Knife Steak, which is available in two-person or three-person portions. Preceded by a reasonably good Caesar salad and a tasty bread tray, the steak was delicious. I prefer my steak on the well-done side, while my brother likes his rare. Nick recommended that we order it medium. He carved it at the table, doling out the rarer inside pieces to my brother, and giving me the more well-done sections towards the ends.
We plan to make Murray’s a regular part of our trips to the Twin Cities. Coming once a year for the next twenty years or so hardly qualifies me as a regular customer, though. Were I a resident of the Twin Cities, I would probably make a visit to Murray’s once every month or two.
Directions & Hours
- Monday: Closed
- Tuesday: 5:00 – 9:00 PM
- Wednesday: 5:00 – 9:00 PM
- Thursday: 5:00 – 9:00 PM
- Friday: 5:00 – 10:00 PM
- Saturday: 5:00 – 10:00 PM
- Sunday: 4:00 – 8:00 PM
|Credit Cards Accepted||Yes|