Monday, April 18, 2011

The Glass Lounge

At the salad bar in the company cafeteria, a friend started talking about a rumor of a dive bar in Harrisburg that had these really huge, delicious steaks that were super cheap.  Steak, you say?  Cheap?  And the scheming began.  Should we just go for lunch one day?  No, too far.  Perhaps a happy hour?  But the folks in the office are highly flaky about large invites and it never garners serious attention.  So we went back to the basics - word of mouth and viral marketing.  Get a few to commit, and voila - a party is born.

The Glass Lounge is north on Front Street and reminded me of those roadside restaurants you'd drive by on your way to a small town on a getaway weekend from the bustling city to go fishing.  Like in Northern Minnesota.  Who knew it was just down the street from the Capital of Pennsylvania?  But it's exactly that dynamic that makes it so interesting when you get inside.  Truly, you walk in and it is quite the dive bar as it was described.  But then you see plenty of folks in their suits and ties, and you realize you must be somewhere special if the suits are blending with the proletarians. 

I ordered the Delmonico, otherwise known as the rib-eye, medium rare.  I find it to be the best combination of juiciest, tastiest, moistest, tenderest cut available.  Yes, it's also the fattiest, but where do you think all that flavor comes from?  23-24 ounces for $21.  I think.  Okay, I admit it, I don't quite remember, and the website says $19.95 which I'm pretty certain is out of date, so yes, I arbitrarily picked $21.  It might have been $23.  But I would be lying if I said I absolutely knew.  

Each steak comes with potato and salad.  I hope you like carrots because that's all you can really get to for the first 15 bites before you start to see some greens that you can dig into.  I remember thinking that if this was the size of the salad, I was really excited about the size of the potato!  Alas, the potato is fairly normal sized, but cooked to that perfection point of soft and malleable to the diner's touch.  Ever since I was a kid and saw the server at the local Ponderosa cut my potato open and squeeze it from the side to make it look all fluffy and wholesome, just like on the print ad, I was hooked and I can't help but do that to every baked potato I have the pleasure of having in front of me.  

And then the steak came.  Look at this gorgeously crusted monstrosity of a slice of cow.  It was so impressive that after I took my first picture, I rued the fact that it looked quite average given the enormity of the plate it sits in.  I joked that I needed a dollar bill to demonstrate its actual size, and when I looked up, there was the crisp face of George Washington ready for a portrait with a side of beef.  

My favorite part of the ribeye is the outer "collar," for lack of a better term.  What is that called, anyway?  Anyone?  It's that part that surrounds the middle and is extra marbled and tender.  So I started in on it.  As beautifully browned as this looks, I have to say that it was a tad oversalted and substantially undercooked.  Medium rare?  It was still practically alive.  But no matter, after a few bites of parts that were cooked to order, I took it home and pan-fried it to medium rare perfection, and it served a few more meals beautifully.

I also took home all the mushroom and onions on top of my coworker's New York Strip.  For some reason, he was thinking there would be a few choice slices of portabella mushrooms sitting atop with some rings of onions.  I can blame him for thinking there would portabella, but I can't blame him for thinking there would be just a few.  But remember the carrot salad?  They have the same philosophy with the mushrooms and onions.  Still the flavor was good, if not for the super-sized portion.  And talking about super-sized portion, his New York Strip was absolutely enormous, spanning the huge platter from end to end.  And dare I say they did a masterful job on his medium rare steak.  Perfectly cooked, perfectly tender.  

As I drove the hour-long path back to my house in Lancaster, I concluded that the Glass Lounge does, indeed, have some great steak.  Is it less expensive than other places?  Yes, it is.  But I know of a place that rivals it and is more conveniently located.  It's called My Grill in My Backyard.  I'm taking bets.

The Glass Lounge
4745 N. Front Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110

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