Recommending a restaurant
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11399) 10 years ago
I am often in quandary when someone recommends a restaurant because you don't know what their criteria are compared to your own. Many years ago, a friend recommended a place for breakfast. We followed the recommendation and ate there. The food was edible. The atmosphere was comparable to a prison cafeteria. We were not impressed. The person who recommended it asked cheerfully if we had eaten there and then waxed on about the huge amounts of food you got for very little money.

We like restaurants where quality is more important than quantity. She had a large family with large sons and liked a place where vast amounts of grease and protein were provided cheaply. Her recommendation was perfect for someone who wanted what she wanted but not so great for someone who was looking for taste and ambience.

So, when someone asks for a recommendation, I would qualify it. Do you want lots of grease and protein cheaply? Do you want a broad selection of items such as Belgian waffles or crepes or Eggs Benedict as opposed to the standard fare? Do you want fresh fruit instead of something out of a can?

For me, I prefer a broad selection of choices outside bacon and eggs--I'm not knocking bacon and eggs. A well-prepared plate of bacon and eggs and hash browns can be a joy but at my stage in life, one I dare not experience often. I would prefer smaller servings of truly delicious food than a big heap of pedestrian fare.

I like EXOTIC food! I prefer small portions of a perfectly prepared tapenade to a big pile of burger. So, what I like in a restaurant many very well be what you loathe in a restaurant.

So, when asking for the best restaurant in town, qualifying your expectations may help.

And remember, we are in Miles City. Truly great food is just not available commercially here. While there are places in Miles City where I enjoy a meal, there is no place that makes me stand up and say, "WOW!" My taste buds have never experienced anything like this before and I mean that in a good way."
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+14664) 10 years ago
And remember, we are in Miles City. Truly great food is just not available commercially here.


You just violated your own "rule". If like me, you like steak, sweet potatoes and beer, the rib and chophouse is just fine.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11399) 10 years ago
It is fine. But is it great?
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3716) 10 years ago
Rib and Chop does a good job on their steaks. Maybe not world class, but there's very little to complain about. Their seafood on the other hand...
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Posted by Mandi (+356) 10 years ago
I have experienced a lot of inconsistency with the food at Rib and Chop House. Depends on who's cooking I guess!
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Posted by jack johnson (+13) 10 years ago
I always get the Ahi Tuna mmmm. They are the only place for miles to get fresh Seafood.
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Posted by Smiley (+852) 10 years ago
Rib and Chop house has the best blue cheese dressing IMO. I hate the steaks, I have yet to get a good one, and the ribs are OK, but not worthy of "best in town." I prefer homemade.

Sidenote, the service is usually pretty sucky, but I still go because I love the salads & they have chives for their baked potatoes that are amazing!
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Posted by Bridgier (+8962) 10 years ago
Would it be unreasonable of me Amorette, to say "Yes" to all of your questions above?
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3716) 10 years ago
I seriously doubt that the tuna is "fresh" as in never frozen, and if it is it shouldn't be. I had it once and despite specifically telling the waiter that I wanted it *very* rare, it came medium rare, which is more or less ruined when it comes to tuna.
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Posted by MilesCity.com Webmaster (+9978) 10 years ago
No offense, but there's absolutely no way any seafood in Miles City is "fresh", unless you personally see it living in a saltwater tank before you eat it. It's all frozen. I live in the Seattle area, and while there are a number of great places to dine, there are many more that aren't -- which even makes it a bit difficult here.
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Posted by J. Dyba (+1342) 10 years ago
Ray's boathouse in Seattle has awesome seafood.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+14664) 10 years ago
It is fine. But is it great?


I don't know if it is "great", not sure what would make a meal "great". I have eaten twice in a couple of Ruth Chris steakhouses in Washington DC and twice at the Rib and Chophouse in MC. I would say that the meal at the Rib and Chophouse was better tasting and MUCH less expensive. Price certainly doesn't make a meal great.
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+16560) 10 years ago
As far as steakhouses go, I view them as an entire separate world from restaurants. I would go so far as saying that steakhouses aren't restaurants. Richard and Amorette are talking apples and oranges.

When I think of steakhouses, I like to think of classic old time Montana supper clubs....like the Crossroads, before it burned down. I have never been to the Rib and Chop House so I can't comment (when I come to mc, the best meal in town is at my mom's house ), but when I think of the great local Montana steakhouses....the Oasis in Manhattan, Borrie's in Black Eagle, Lindy's at Seely Lake, Barclay's in Anaconda....they serve fantastic meals.

But they are quite a bit different than the kind of places Amorette is talking about. I could list a dozen of them off the top of my head that are in Montana....but none of them are going to be in Miles City. A great restaurant is modeled after the French/Italian model...but can serve any type of food, Asian, Thai, Mexican, etc. Presentation, taste, and little or no need for a doggie bag. A signature cocktail and a killer wine list is also a plus.
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+16560) 10 years ago
...and I think fresh versus frozen fish is vastly overrated. A properly cleaned fish, flash frozen, is going to taste pretty darn good. True, it won't be sushi grade, but if it cooked it should taste great.

I would not trust anyone in Miles City to cook tuna. When I grill tuna, I cook it over extremely high heat for 15 seconds per side.

Last month, I went yellowfin tuna fishing in the Sea of Cortez, and came back with 20 lbs. of yellowfin fillets.

I highly recommend Alton Brown's tuna recipe:

1/2 cup dark soy sauce
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup dry wasabi powder
2 pounds tuna loin, cut into 2 pieces
1/2 cup sesame seeds
2 tablespoons peanut oil

In a non-reactive bowl combine soy, honey, and wasabi powder. Reserve 1/4 cup for dipping sauce. Roll each piece of tuna in this mixture to coat evenly. Marinate from 1 hour to overnight. Remove the tuna from the marinade and discard the marinade.

On a plate, lay the sesame seeds. Roll the tuna in the seeds to evenly coat.

Fire up the chimney with charcoal and top with a well-oiled grate. Sear for 15 to 30 seconds per side or to desired temperature. Remove to rack and rest for 3 minutes. Cover with foil or plastic wrap to achieve carry over cooking. Slice thinly and serve with the dipping sauce.
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Posted by Steve Allison (+973) 10 years ago
Just as an aside on Amorette's original post, that restaurant was NOT in Miles City and is no longer in business.
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Posted by Shu (+1780) 10 years ago
Gunnar,

Not that this is any big deal, but I just thought I'd mention that I saw that episode of Alton, and he used BLACK sesame seeds in that preparation...I don't know that it would make a huge difference either way, just saying.

As to the topic in this thread, it sounds an awful lot like dozens of other threads here at MC.com which have addressed this very topic...I do get Amorette's point about quality vs. quantity, though, and agree with it somewhat.
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Posted by Emilie Boyles (+249) 10 years ago
I have asked around a number of times for restaurant recommendations...but last night three of us had a real treat quite by accident.

We ended up in the parking lot of The Boardwalk Restaurant on Haynes - when we walked in it was spotlessly clean and fresh - we assumed it was new until we saw the menu noted it was established in 1946.

The service was attentive, friendly, and professional. I ordered the teriyaki steak which had the flavor of being perfectly marinated - it was, frankly, the best steak I have had since coming to Montana. My companions had the halibut and ribeye steak. All three of us were very pleased with the quality of our meals. The presentation was above average for a small diner and the price was less than a Denny's.

While the tables are all close together the wall seemed to absorb sound adequately that the room was polite and not noisy. Diners were of all ages and the atmosphere set the stage for little ones to behave. It was such a great dining experience that the only reason I can think of that no one had mentioned it to me when I asked before was that it was soo good they didn't want to have make a reservation if the word got out and they were too busy. I'll be back.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11399) 10 years ago
The Boardwalk is an extension of the 600 Cafe, which is where the 1946 date comes from. The building it is in was built, I believe, in the 1970's and the restaurant itself probably opened about 15 years ago.

Sorry. Just my compulsive historian disorder.
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Posted by Emilie Boyles (+249) 10 years ago
Thanks Amorette - I was just going on what was published on their menu. Still, even for a 15-year old establishment it was very refreshing and clean! Best meal in a long time!
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+14664) 10 years ago
it was, frankly, the best steak I have had since coming to Montana.


Translation: Glendive Sucks.
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3716) 10 years ago
For the price, the boardwalk and the 600 do a great job. You can't beat the atmosphere at the 600 either. If you're in the ag business, you can't eat lunch there without running into somebody you know.
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Posted by CS Hunt (+321) 10 years ago
We ate at the Iron Horse a few weeks ago. First impression, we were very, well...impressed. It was clean, quiet, and laid back.

We all ordered seafood, which unfortunately was horrible. The salmon was very dry and overcooked. The tuna was ordered rare but was prepared medium, which ruined it. The other fish, I think was halibut but I don't remember, was bland and also overcooked.

They did make up for it with the desserts, which were all incredible. I think maybe we've just been spoiled with great seafood elsewhere, so we have very high standards when it comes to fish. I think it's a safe bet not to order seafood around here if you don't want to be disapointed. But, I'll remain open minded and keep my hopes high!
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Posted by Cory Cutting (+1277) 10 years ago
I spent last weekend in ol' MC and had the opportunity to eat out several times. My personal opinion is this: (If anyone really gives a hoot!)

Rib and Chop - I came in late and the table was sat. The first thing I saw was the girl's name written on the table (like they do in some chains). I hate this. First, I couldn't read it (poor penmanship), and it was upside down from where I was sitting. There seemed to be some ordering problems, as the girl came back several times to clarify some orders. I had a ribeye that was cooked how I ordered it. It was very good, and I was pleased as I had a huge craving for a steak. I was, however, taken back by the nakedness of the plate. I had the baked potato as my veggie (that thing was mambo jambo! Lord where do potatoes grow like that? ), so there was nothing else on the steak plate. I mean NOTHING. Slab of meat and that's all. Even though I had that huge potato, I thought "that's it?". Some kind of garnish would be nice, and the plate really needed some color. It was a little noisy and we were at a big table, making conversation difficult. Overall, atmosphere: B-, food: A- (it was all very good), service: C+/B-.

Main Street Grind - I absolutely love sandwiches like those! They were big, tasty, and very reasonably priced. I do wish I had a pickle spear though. I also sat in the store for 8 hours one day (literally) doing my homework, and never once felt that I was imposing (at least not from the staff). I got to watch the staff in action, and I have to say that they are very friendly. Overall, everything was pretty much an A-/A for me.

Airport Inn - This never changes.... I love the pizza and have always considered it some of the best. Its a trip I HAVE to make every time I am there. (Although I do have to say that the Trails Inn pizza is pretty damn good too!)

Mexico Lindo - This just isn't for me. It looked like the old Chinese restaurant from 1978 with new pictures on the wall. Even the seating looked like it was from then. The food was ok, but I am picky since I live in Northern Mexico (a.k.a. Colorado). My chile rellano was nowhere near what I expected, and putting a regular burrito on a large plate does not make it large. My mother, however, not being exposed to authentic Mexican from several different sources, found it to be very good. I give it a C at best. It definitely was more Mexican than Taco Johns!

There you go. Take it or leave it. Overall, it was a great trip to MC, and very enjoyable. I think that MC is very lucky to have so many great choices in a small town, and it's getting better.
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+16560) 10 years ago
For those of you that make it to Bozeman, I'll recommend a new restaurant that just opened last month.

It was called "Spicy Asian..." something or other. It is located on the corner of Black and E. Main....I think where Jadras or Looies used to be. Kind of an odd spot...you have to open the door on main street, then walk down a hall to get to the restaurant. No windows, but nicely decorated in bamboo (except for a really stupid-looking painting of a woman's face on some wall).

My wife and I had lunch there on Saturday, on the way back from floating the Yellowstone. I ordered the duck curry....it was fantastic. Really, really good curry sauce. Karen ordered the cashew chicken....it was also most excellent. Great place to bring 4 or more people and eat family style.
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