We owe John Catt big-time for originally directing us to The Pine Club, which has become one of our favorite steak houses. Mr. Catt’s recommendation said that it served “phenomenal steaks in a no-nonsense old world naugahyde-laden pine room. No credit cards, no reservations, just great meat and potatoes. Kind of a Gene and Georgetti’s run by, well, people from Ohio! For my money, there is no better steak in the USA and, believe me, I’ve done the research!”
A true Midwest supper club (open only in the evening, late on weekend nights), the Pine Club is a place to which people come for highballs at the bar and splendid cuts of beef at a table. You have your choice of filet mignon, porterhouse, or sirloin, each cut and aged on premises and cooked on a grill so the outside gets crusty dark but the inside is still bursting with flavorful beef juices.
Start with a plate of scallops: sweet, firm nuggets with a pale light crust and smouldery sea taste. Brilliant tartar sauce comes on the side. Meals are served with a basket of dinner rolls, and steaks come with a handful of onion rings and choice of potatoes that includes Lyonnaise: an eight-inch pancake of shredded spuds woven with veins of sautéed onion. As for salad, although a mesclun mix was added to the menu some years back, the traditional Pine Club salad is iceberg lettuce – cold, crisp chunks served “red and bleu,” which is French dressing loaded with enormous clods of dry blue cheese.
Dessert? There is none. If you’re in dire need of something sweet and don’t necessarily want a high-proof libation such as a grasshopper or a Golden Cadillac, you can step outside and find a nearby ice cream store.