When it comes to steak, I feel like I have had them all and I have had many of them twice, but I only like to talk about eating one (from a restaurant anyway) and that steak comes from Angus Barn. A T-Bone steak gives me the prized steak from my childhood a casual and tasty New York Strip buddied up with the gentleman’s Filet Mignon and a bone between the two that can take my dog a day or two to finish playing with. Now, I know the old saying, “A steak is a steak is a steak,” be it Angus Barn, Outback, or Taco Bell, the best steaks are going to come from a grill and seasoned with salt, pepper, maybe some garlic and butter. To be fair, Angus Barn’s steak is no better than what anyone can pull off of their own grill with minimal effort, but I don’t go to Angus Barn for a steak that will challenge my spice rack or temperature settings. I go for the experience.
My first time at Angus Barn, they were doing a dinner to celebrate the Titanic and down stairs next to the wine cellar the upper crust of The Triangle were eating what my girlfriend remembers as an 11 course meal and I remember as a $175 dinner party. Everyone (or at least the people that I paid attention to) wore clothing consistent with the period of 1912 and dined on some of the same courses that were served for dinner in first class the night the Titanic sank. This event takes place annually in April and is just one flamboyant way that Angus Barn offers diners an experience you cannot get anywhere else, but the restaurant is smart; if you don’t have or want to pay $200 for dinner they don’t rub your nose in it. I feel perfectly comfortable eating not only in the main restaurant that looks like a chic Cracker Barrel which serves you a meal for as cheap as $25 and as much as…name your limit, but they also have a bar area called The Wild Turkey Lounge where you can avoid the wait for the main restaurant and order a burger or a chicken sandwich as well as any of the items from their main dining room. So whether you are with a friend calming down after a busy week or with a romantic interest that you really want to see again, Angus Barn has a table for you.
The best thing about Angus Barn is, and I can say this with a hand over my heart and a mother who would be very proud of me, that by the time your entree arrives, you will be wondering how much of it you will be able to eat, because aside from a salad that would suppress that appetites of many, you get a variety of cheese spreads, crackers, bread, and pickled items like olives (all made in house) that will bed the feistiest of appetites for everyone. A loaded baked potato and a hearty chunk of protein seems like a tasty chore.
When talking about Angus Barn it is hard not to mention one of their weakest competitors Ruth Chris and draw a distinct difference between the two and that is ordering. When you order a steak from Angus Barn, you get a full meal. You won’t have to pay extra for a salad or a side item, it is all included, no al-a-cart shenanigans here, and this advantage will save the average couple $20 on a date compared to Ruth Chris’ single item ordering and unlike other steak restaurants I have been to, I always leave this one with some leftover steak for breakfast or lunch the next day and that’s without ordering appetizers or dessert.
Does this restaurant have some disappointments? Yes! My girlfriend and I have watched all of the cooking shows, but this was the first restaurant we had been to with an Iron Chef winning recipe and that was the ostrich bites. Inspired by the Titanic meal going on downstairs, we decided to go for it and order an item we normally may not splurge on. I have not been as disappointed in an appetizer in my life. The chunks of meat tasted fine, but the portion was very disappointing. I feel like my girlfriend and I shared a kabob of about six pieces of ostrich and that can barely be called sharing. Seriously though, that’s my only complaint. Service and an empty drink or want for more anything has never been a problem. I’ve never asked for something had the request be forgotten and it’s because not only is your waiter going to be attentive, but all of the waiters and staff have respect for every table and are not afraid to help out when able.
Does this restaurant pack any surprises? MANY! First of all, the birthday cake. Normally this is a complete throwaway in many restaurants and come in the form of a brownie from a gas station that has been microwaved and sprinkled or a scoop of ice cream that has been candled, but Angus Barn gives you an actual cake; it is an angle cake about 5 inches round from what I can recall and it is DELICIOUS. Perfectly moist, the cake and the icing are sweet but not overly. It is great at the restaurant and even better as a breakfast treat the next day. Next time you go, I would encourage you to lie, cheat, and steal, just try to get your hands on one of these cakes, punishment or cost be damned!
The other great surprise at Angus Barn is the tour that you can go on. This is free and completely optional (you have to request it from the hosts), but they take you to the wine cellar (where I got to see the Titanic dinner in progress), they show you some old wine bottles, give you a history of the restaurant, and you end by walking through the kitchen. If you are into food, restaurants, history, or older buildings, this is a great source of entertainment.
Even leaving the restaurant is a lot of fun. The sting of the bill can be eased by browsing the general store that they have in the lobby and if that doesn’t cure you, they have red and delicious apples you can pick from on your way out (free of charge of course). But the most refreshing thing is that when you walk outside you are not in the hustle and bustle of a strip mall or downtown nightlife; instead you are surrounded by trees, a parking lot that is not backed up, and it comes with a peace that make you feel well rested and not eager move on or to stop loitering, but to stay, to visit some more, and to return soon.