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Anniversary Dinner Turns Into Disaster

Patch Local Editor discusses his experience at Dakota Steakhouse & Tavern this weekend.

Just about everyone has heard the “You might be a redneck if…” jokes.

I have a new take on those jokes.

“If your baked potato is the highlight of your meal, you might have picked the wrong steakhouse.”

That’s what I was left to think Sunday night when my wife and I went out to celebrate our wedding anniversary at Dakota Restaurant on the Silas Deane Highway in Rocky Hill.

When we first started dating and were first married we visited the steakhouse often. We fell in love with their Falling Down Cake; molten lava filled chocolate cake with ice cream and whipped cream…Yumm.

We would also almost always order the petite sirloin so the meal wasn’t too big and we left enough room for dessert. It was also such a moist and delicious cut, we loved it.

Petite sirloin is no longer on the menu, which is a disappointment.

My wife and I had not been to Dakota because about 18 months to two years ago we had a bad experience with our dining there.

I let my wife pick, which I rarely do. My wife said we should go to Dakota and if it were busy, we’d go to On the Border, which is in the same parking lot. Dakota had no wait and was really a ghost town, which should have been a clue.

I ordered the sirloin, well-done with baked potato and salad bar. I told the waitress it was fine to butterfly the steak to make sure it was cooked properly. My wife ordered sirloin and shrimp with baked potato and salad bar. She ordered her steak medium-well.

I often have problems getting steaks well-done because the cooks don’t want to make them leathery but at the same time want to cook them thoroughly all the way through. Medium-well is not hard to make, however and my wife always gets her cut the way she likes. I often send my steak back to get it just right.

The salad bar was good but there were fewer options than I remember.

Our meals came and we had a feeling something was wrong. The waitress asked us to cut into our steaks to make sure they were cooked correctly. Really???? Are you that unsure about how the steak was cooked that you need us to check while you watch over our shoulder?

I cut in and half was well-done but the other half was medium. I cut the steak into strips to make sure it would be cooked through thoroughly, the way I like it, when it came back. My wife cut in and her steak was rare. Wow, 0-for-2.

The waitress brought mine back and it was certainly cooked but tasted and had the texture I can only imagine of an old shoe. My wife’s was almost as rare as it was the first time. Strike two.

I started to eat some of the steak; I got through about half while my wife’s steak went back for a third try. This time it came back and it was mooing. Steeeerrrrrikkkke three, you’re out. My wife is as mild mannered and as easy going as they come but she told the waitress in no uncertain terms, “I’m Done.”

We didn’t even want to stay for the dessert that we loved so much. We wanted to leave and we wanted to leave now. The manager came over and said she was not going to charge us and almost made us laugh out loud when she said, “It’s not usually (this bad) like this.”

To top it off, the Sprite I ordered to get some bubbles and settle my stomach had no bubbles and was flat.

So in review; water with lemon, not bad. Salad bar, pretty good. Baked potato, hot and tasty. Steak, abysmal.

No more chances for Dakota by this family.

“If the baked potato is the highlight of your meal, you might have gone to the wrong steak house.”

I’m here all week; make sure to tip your waitress.

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