Jay Fox's Dining Guide
FOX: THIS OLD PLACE IS GETTING BETTER WITH AGE
“No, I don’t take soup. You can’t build a meal on a lake.” — Elsie de Wolfe (Lady Mendl)
LUKE’S A STEAK PLACE
IT’S BEEN OVER 20 YEARS since Mike Lucas returned from his 3-year fly fishing trip around the world. Prior to that, he had coached baseball and football at Alameda High School, was in the construction business, and had his own successful financial consulting firm. At that point in time in 1991, there were few quality steak houses in metro Denver, unlike the abundance of them today. Mike saw a need for a place with a casual atmosphere, more of a neighborhood eatery, but offering the best steaks available.
At the beginning there was no menu. Luke’s offered a filet, a porterhouse or a New York strip. With your steak you got a house salad served family style and a choice of potato or pasta for one price. The beef then, as it is today, is 40-day dry-aged prime beef, the finest available. That original menu finished up with a single dessert: house-made cheesecake.
Over the 20+ years the menu was expanded several times, with appetizers — I call ‘em munchies — entrees, side dishes and desserts. Recently they made a large expansion of the menu, adding a lot of munchies, a wedge salad, several side dishes, my favorite being the sautéed spinach AND new desserts.
Some of the new goodies are outstanding. G and I took The Cuda there last nite for dinner. I opted to skip dinner as such and ordered a double of the filet sliders, two smaller versions of their entree — four ounce, prime, dry-aged beef, cooked to perfection, a bargain at $14.95. They come served on a maaavelous roll with yummy blue cheese crumbles and roasted garlic, none of which I put on my sliders. But y’all know that I’m a purist. I don’t put nuttin’ on nuttin’. Note that these are filets and there‘s no fat in them, so you should always have them cooked a degree less than you normally have your steak cooked. So if you like your steak medium, you should have your filet cooked medium rare. Same thing with buffalo meat. I usually order my filet lightly charred and rare. Even without a side or any other munchies, they were so filling I took two of the four sliders home.
The additions to the munchies list are: sautéed mushrooms; wonderful crab cakes; something called crabitini, colossal crab meat lumps w/ Creole remoulade, diced green peppers & shredded lettuce; baked garlic cloves; a terrific bruschetta; and an assortment of olives. Check out the entire menu online.
The entrees include several filets, 12 and 16 oz. two New York strips and a 20 oz. porterhouse. If you’re not a big fan of filets, try the 13 oz. bone-in filet. The flavor and taste of this relatively new cut will make you salivate. You can have any steak or entrée Oscar style. There are several seafood dishes nitely including the always available salmon, perhaps the best in town. Every once in a while the have escolar. If you haven’t tried this fantastic fish, you gotta; I think it’s the best fish ever. All the seafood is flown in fresh daily.
The expanded menu now includes lamb, pork and chicken as well as a variety of kabobs, entrée salads and even a kid’s menu. All entrees still include salad served family style and choice of spuds or spaghetti. You can substitute the wedge salad for a small up-charge.
The newly expanded wine list includes over three dozen selections, most all available by the glass. They also have a full service bar. And muh fav, Pepsi products are the house soft drink.
Luke’s also has new desserts, offering chocolate tuxedo bomb, cheesecake and ice cream.
There’s a semi-private room available for special occasions or business events for up to 50 persons. It’s equipped with a complete separate kitchen for those occasions where it’s needed.
In case you haven’t been to Luke’s, or haven’t met Mike, he’s the white-haired dude in the shorts who saunters a lot. Luke’s is open Tuesday thru Sunday for dinner only. Reservs are available for five or more.
BUBBLE AND SQUEAK
Y’all know that the name of this column, The No More Mr. Nice Guy, stems from the days when I could always find something negative to include in every column. I could be a really bad boy. As I saw it then, and it’s really still true today, few meals are perfect. There’s either something with the service or a particular dish, or perhaps just the appearance of the room. I guess over the 25 years I’ve been writing this column, I’ve mellowed. Readers are complaining my columns have been too kind. You guys like it better when I write bad stuff. Must be similar to the fascination y’all have with car accidents and gory movies and the like. Several weeks ago several of you wrote that I wasn’t very kind to the restaurant that I reviewed.
Ha ha ha. Wait ‘til my next column.
Might get gory.
Just like a good wine, Jay has mellowed with age, but we’re looking forward to next week when he’s reportedly going to use his skewer. Our dining critic can be reached at email@example.com.