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Published October 01, 2012, 11:36 PM

Restaurant review: Beefsteak Club new destination for fancy dining in Fargo

FARGO – High-class dining here has a new home. The Beefsteak Club at 612 1st Ave. N. in Fargo opened its doors last week and offers some delicious, if expensive, meat options.

FARGO – High-class dining here has a new home.

The Beefsteak Club at 612 1st Ave. N. in Fargo opened its doors last week and offers some delicious, if expensive, meat options.

According to general manager Nolan Hidgen, the locally owned, independent restaurant’s name comes from the beefsteak clubs of old London, where “dining was an experience – clean, elegant and simple,” he says.

That’s the kind of experience Higden hopes diners have at his restaurant, where the décor is simple yet elegant, with vintage photos of downtown Fargo adorning the walls. A sparkling wood bar stands out in the middle of the room.

“A lot of TLC went into this building – really nurturing that atmosphere,” Higden says of the restaurant, located in what was most recently the home of Taste of Italy before it moved across the street into the Avalon building.

Even though beef is the “flagship” dish at the Beefsteak Club, as Higden says, the menu isn’t just steak – pork chops, lamb, chicken and seafood are all offered.

But be prepared to open your wallet for any of the main dishes. Steak ranges from $21 to $81, with the other meat options costing between $21 and $50.

For the most part, the food is worth it and is painstakingly prepared by chefs extremely proud of their kitchen. The porterhouse steak, served rare, was juicy, tender and mouth-watering.

Diners can combine the steak or any of the main dishes with the restaurant’s homemade sauces (which include a port reduction, mushroom, blue cheese, house steak sauce and peppercorn), although with as flavorful as the meat was by itself, sauces are almost superfluous.

The meat prices are high in part because of where it comes from, says head chef Toby Reichart.

The restaurant’s lamb, for example, comes from a ranch called GrassRoots, from Pagosa Springs, Colo., while some of the steaks come from Allen Brothers, a steak retailer in Chicago, he says.

At GrassRoots, animals are fed only grass with no supplementary grain, which accounts for the meat’s cost, according to the farm’s website.

Beef from Allen Brothers, meanwhile, is ranked as U.S. Prime, the highest grade attainable by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Steaks with a Prime ranking have “the ultimate in tenderness, juiciness, and flavor,” according to the USDA.

The menu has a number of sides and appetizers for less than $10, ranging from baked potatoes to the exotic mushrooms that I had, which were fresh from Seattle, according to Higden. Even though I’m not a huge fan of mushrooms, the dish was a tasty pairing to the porterhouse.

In addition to the dining experience, the Beefsteak Club also has a separate room for wine tasting, with nearly 100 different kinds of wine for diners or non-diners to check out, as well as regularly scheduled wine flights.

The restaurant also has a grill room that isn’t currently in use, but Higden says it’ll eventually be used for occasions such as private parties.

Even with the wide range of wines and excellent selection of food, will Fargo-Moorhead come, despite the high prices?

Higden said he thinks so, in part because he believes the Beefsteak Club fits into a particular niche in the region’s dining scene.

“We’re not the pretentious type to forget about Fargo,” he says. “We think we’re meeting Fargo’s demand for that next-level dining experience. We’re going to cater to the needs of the population.”

Reichart agrees, adding that he hopes that the area appreciates the Beefsteak Club for what it is.

“We wanted to be a steakhouse that would be talked about, a very unique experience,” he says. “We can be something different from what most people have seen around here.”

The Beefsteak Club is open Monday through Saturday from 5 p.m. until close. The restaurant has seating for about 60 people at a time, and reservations are recommended by calling (701) 356-3656.

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