Kevin Rathbun Steak: The Great Steak out – Part Deux

Having reviewed Bones some time ago, and with KRS Steak, Hal’s, Chops and New York Prime remaining for visits from Mrs. C and myself, I scored the daily double for this visit. First, in role reversal fashion, we were invited as guests of clients of mine (my “niece” whom you may remember from my review of the Treehouse) her brother (and business partner), as well as his lovely paramour Deadeye,  as a thank you for a non legal favor. And next, just to gild the lily, they (similar to my Little Bacch companions) are, in a sense, restaurant royalty – their name for the reservation was not unfamiliar to management. They are landlord to many fine and casual dining establishments whose names you would easily recognize; they are investors in many others; and their tentacles at one time stretched as far as Pennsylvania where they had a Waffle House franchise in Amish territory, complete with a hitching post for the horse drawn carriages and the extra sanitary duties attendant to horses everywhere. It had all the earmarks of a wonderful evening. 

Let me first get my curmudgeon nature out of the way, then I can move on to describe a delightful evening. Mrs. C and I arrived promptly at 6:00, the time of our reservation, when the restaurant was virtually empty due to the unfashionable dining hour, and were “invited to the bar to have a drink” and when the entire party was ready they would seat us. As any of you familiar with fox hunting traditions should know, whenever you are “invited” to do anything, get out your wallet, it is not an invitation in the true sense. I told the hostess we would prefer to wait at the table, and after a pregnant pause and an unpleasant look she escorted us to the table. A smile and “no problem” would have gotten the same result, so why the attitude?  It reminded me of the time I went to meet a friend at the old Sundown Cafe on Cheshire Bridge before its conversion. There were no tables occupied at 6:00 and certainly no line to get in, but the hostess insisted I remain at the bar pending the arrival of my guest. I then told her that my guest was probably not coming, I only needed a table for one and I was ready to be seated, which she did, daggers in eyes. And you ask why I get cranky. 

Our hosts’ having arrived after a slight delay due to the usual but inexplicable traffic gridlock in Atlanta, we then proceeded to wine and dine on some very well sourced and prepared ingredients. For appetizers, three of our group had a caprese salad with superb tomatoes of the “home grown” high acid variety, interspersed with buffalo mozzarella and basil, then finished with olive oil. One had a shrimp cocktail with two or three exceedingly large and tasty shrimp accompanied by two different sauces. I had the fried lobster tidbits, and Mrs. C, in addition to her salad caprese, had half a dozen oysters, which must have been excellent because she didn’t offer to share them with me. 

For entrees, my niece, whose dining habits are so healthy so healthy that she won’t even let me consume Splenda in her presence, had the chopped salad for 3, which, given the portion she was served, was the best way I could describe it. It was topped by an onion ring on steroids. Her brother had the small New York strip and fried lobster tail combination. Deadeye had a fried lobster tail, not offered that way on the menu, but when the request was made it was met by a cheery “no problem” by our pleasant and efficient waiter. Luckily for us the hostess did not also double as our waitress. Mrs. C had the small New York strip and I had the small ribeye. For sides we had the cheese grits, kale with fennel, onion and pine nuts and charred jalapeno creamed corn with scallions. With the exception of Mrs. C, who had a selection of sorbets for dessert, the rest of us finished with either coffee or cappuccino.   

As it happens, I also represent a wine wholesaler whose wines are offered on the list at KRS, so I contacted her for some recommendations. She gave a high end choice as well as a lower (there is no “low” on the list) end choice, and after presenting the options to the hosts, they chose to spring for the stratospheric cabernet sauvignon. I had brought a 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape from my cellar, a vintage of such exception that it is rarely available by retail any more, and such a stellar bottle that I made the rookie error of offering it first, effectively ruining any chance we would have of appreciating the higher priced bottle from the list. A lesson well learned. The restaurant has a corkage fee of $25.00 per bottle (two bottle limit) which is not out of line. 

So, as the second entrant in my high steaks dining review, was it better than Bones? I am coming to the opinion that it really does no good to compare the prime steaks in these restaurants. They are all going to be very good, as they should be. What it really comes down to, in my opinion, are the side dishes and appetizers, and in those categories KRS comes out the clear winner. So much so that I have every intention of returning, ignoring the steaks and having a wonderful, upscale vegetable plate consisting of a variety of their sides. 

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