I am a creature of habit. I am in restaurants every day, but my routine is sacred. I eat at the same hand full of restaurants unless a specific reason draws me elsewhere. My birthday habit is an often forgotten staple of the dark windowless past of Charlotte's restaurant scene. Think about Sullivan's, McIntosh's, Morton's. These are all modern interpretations of the classic steak house. When you walk into Beef N Bottle, you see an ancient (By Restaurant Standards) example that has become a blueprint for successful meat and two's all over the country.
People ask me all the time where to go for a steak in the Queen City. They seem surprised when I do not say Ruth's or Capital Grille. They are even more surprised when they pull up to a building that could only be lovingly described as dated and nondescript.
Dated 1958 to be exact.
I will stick to the basics on this post. I go to B N B for very select reasons. The first and most endearing is the captains wafers and sharp cheddar cheese.
This cheese is a mystery to me. I should not like it. I eat in restaurants that wow me with artisan breads produced by MIT graduates and molecular gastronomists. There is no explanation to justify my losing sleep the night before a B N B trip due to this cheese disguised as sherbert. Upon my first mouthful of Captain Cheddar, I immediately order the shrimp scampi. I know it is against my B N B red meat driven caveman ethos, but the amount of butter and wine on the shrimp and accompanying white toast beckons me.
In case the cheese and butter apps are not quite registering high enough on your cholesterol meter, order the cheesy to death French Onion Soup. I have heard it said that the only thing the French know how to do is host an invasion. I disagree, they also make me want to eat a bowl of onions (No easy task).
To make myself feel better about the prior and pending gluttony, I ordered their famous BYO salad. Simple, fresh, scratch made dressings.
Now to what draws everyone to the dimly lit B N B. I am not talking about the awesomely dated 8x10's covering the walls.
I am talking about the beef.
I chose a delicious horseradish encrusted filet served with garlic spinach and a butter/cinnamon drenched sweet potato. These steaks are served with a knife, but could be cut with the menu.George Fine has been paying the bills with these cuts since he opened the Amber House in 1958. There is something to be said for sticking with what you do best.
As I mentioned, it was my birthday. If you are pyrophobic, do not mention a birthday celebration. Greetings are delivered with a sparkler stuffed in fudge cake and whipped cream.