A Canadian steakhouse in the silicon desert city of Chandler, Arizona? You bet! In fact Canada’s most renown steakhouse has made expansive forays into the United States with restaurants in Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, Texas and Washington among its more than 80 restaurants in North America.
Founded in 1971 in Vancouver, the Keg Steakhouse is a cut above many American dining establishments, particularly in terms of service. You won’t find stereotypical Canadian ambiance at the Chandler location, much of whose walls look as if they had been built by Chacoan stone masons. What you will find is a casual and relaxing atmosphere and some of the most attentive and knowledgeable wait staff around. In fact, if rated solely on the attentiveness of the wait staff and management, the Keg would be a top tier restaurant.
Because our wait exceeded the 20-minute wait promised, my dining companion Bill Resnik and I were each treated to a complementary appetizer during our inaugural visit. My choice was baked goat cheese which was coated in crushed almonds and served with a savory tomato basil salsa and toasted bread. We both had a lettuce wedge which we asked be doused with as much bleu cheese dressing as our waitress could carry. The dressing was above average but didn’t have the sharpness that makes true bleu cheese one of the world’s best salad accompaniments.
True to my tradition of ordering the menu’s most unique sounding entree, I ordered the bleu cheese filet, a 10-ounce filet grilled then covered in a bleu cheese crust which was served golden brown and sprinkled with roasted garlic cloves. Alas, while the filet was tender, juicy and grilled to my exact specifications, the bleu cheese crush served only to detract from its flavor. During a subsequent visit I had a lunch-sized New York strip loin seasoned with the Keg’s spices. It was better than the dinner portion steaks served in many American steakhouses.
Ultimately, the deciding factors weighing against this better than average restaurant were (perhaps unfair) comparisons to the now defunct Albuquerque’s Great American Steakhouse and that bleu cheese filet which might be an anomaly better forgotten and forgiven.
The Keg Steakhouse
3065 Chandler Boulevard
LATEST VISIT: 25 March 2004
# OF VISITS: 2
BEST BET: Outstanding service