In case you just stumbled upon this blog, I’ve been recounting some of the memorable meals on my recent family trip to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, which is located in a dry county. For those of you that did not grow up in the South, a dry county is one where no alcohol is sold in stores and often not served in restaurants. Because, as we all know, alcohol just leads to trouble.
Ironically named, Sahara Steakhouse is one of those restaurants. It’s a family owned place, the kind that only exists in small towns. The first red flag upon entering the establishment was the salad bar, circa 1975. The second thing we all noticed were the religious paintings decorating the walls….more alarming than charming.
Our server, however, was so friendly, showing us to three tables pushed together, each covered with a sticky vinyl tablecloth. We were located next to a big screen TV, a great bonus for the guys that wanted to watch the golf tournament. Chairs were the black vinyl kind that were common in the ’70′s.
Being a steakhouse, most of us planned on ordering steaks. But first, LC wanted to get an appetizer. Every choice was fried, from fried dill pickle spears to mozzarella cheese sticks. He ordered the jalapeno poppers, heavily breaded and not very spicy. Can’t say I was surprised.
The good thing about a restaurant that exists in a time warp is that the prices reflect those of a bygone era as well. Me, LC, and his parents ordered 8 oz. ribeyes, served with a side, soup, and salad bar for only $14.95. We ordered a round of iced teas.
After placing our orders, we made our way to the salad bar, stocked with iceberg lettuce, chopped boiled eggs, banana peppers, onions, tomatoes, diced ham, cottage cheese, cole slaw, potato salad, and fake bacon bits. I made a lovely salad, drizzled lightly with mystery dressing. Everyone skipped the vegetable soup which looked like the same stuff we had at lunch in Mammoth Cave earlier the same day.
I ordered my steak medium with a baked sweet potato on the side. Although they made a valiant effort to serve our table efficiently, it took over an hour to receive our entrees, many of which were cool by the time everyone’s meal was ready. The kids were getting antsy, nibbling on crackers and drinking bottomless sodas. Lucky for me, my steak was warm with nice grill marks, but it was a tough old cow. Brown sugar cinnamon and butter made my sweet potato yummy and saved the day. LC’s Mom received the best cut of meat, tender and perfectly cooked, but no one else gave the place very high marks.
Having recently dined at Davio’s at Phipp’s Plaza, I chuckled at the dissimilarities between the two steakhouses. It’s like comparing a new Rolls Royce to a 1975 Pinto. I’ll take the Rolls….and pop that champagne!
413 E. Happy Valley Street 270-773-3450