Ya know, it is probably unfair to critique a restaurant within a week of it's opening or re-opening. But here in the White Mountains, it seems that a successful first few weeks means long term success. Hopefully, things will go up from here but it will be awhile before we go back.
This restaurant has been in the White Mountains for years but has been closed for about a year or so and was last known as the Chuck Wagon Restaurant, and/or the Porter Mountain Chuck Wagon Restaurant. It was originally the Porter Mountain Steak House, the name it is now. Bison properties apparently has purchased the restaurant as the interior is revamped with a western and buffalo motif representative of the Bison properties.
The interior is rustic, western and very nice with a lot of work done to fix it up. Especially interesting is their Buffalo Bill Room!
The menu is simple with a couple of burgers; one bison (buffalo) and one beef, sirloins,T-bones and prime rib and there might have been a filet. There is one chicken dish as I recall.
We went with friends and started with some jalapeno "bottle caps". They are sliced from fresh peppers which was excellent but the breading needed some spice! Simply a bit of salt and pepper as did their pepper jack cream cheese dipping sauce. We all ordered sirloin steaks, cowboy cuts and one cowgirl cut and one shish kabob. Some of us had cowboy beans or vegetables and/or a baked potato.
The dinners are served with salad, (don't remember if soup was an option), and fresh bread. The salad was a decent dinner salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumber and assorted greens. The bread was good, soft and fresh, but cool and served on stone cold plates.
The meals came out in two waves. The steaks were a consistent size but no real sear or char but did have some diamond grill patterns. My steak was served medium rare as I asked. One of the others came out more rare when asked for medium rare. The beef was tender but had zero seasoning! There was nothing at all exceptional about these steaks or noteworthy or distinguishable from any other steak house in the area, other than... no seasoning. No salt, no pepper, no other unique blend of spices that one could associate with the Porter Mountain Steak House.
The shish kabob was a standard kabob but we were wondering how it could retail for $19.95. Again, nothing notable about this kabob meal. Maybe a bit of hollandaise sauce or "something" would be that bit of 'extra' to make it memorable.
The cowboy beans, as are most cowboy beans I have had, even at other places, needed some spice. Salt and pepper would help and I am not a big salt fan and seldom add it. The mixed vegetables were in fact seasoned and were pretty nice with kale, mushrooms, onions and other standard vegies. I liked the vegies! And the vegies were fresh, not frozen. The baked potato was, well... a nicely baked potato.
Service was very good and our server was very pleasant.
We heard from other friends, after we ate here, who had eaten here several days prior to us and they said the same thing that there was no seasoning. Another couple we know told us their meal was comped on the opening night due to serving issues apparently caused by a computer malfunction. Another simply said, nothing memorable.
Ya know, one of these days when I am asked how the meal was, I want to get the guts to actually tell the person what I thought especially if a manager asks, instead of, "just okay". Some pick up on my "just okay" and will ask questions but that is rare. Well... there is nothing like opening pains.
I hope they improve and I know the community wants them to be successful. But, it will be awhile before we go back and try them again.
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