Last night, Amanda and I made our way to Meadville where we met up with Whitney and Justin Catalano at Montana’s Rib and Chop House for some steaks. This was not my first trip to this restaurant, but it was my first time trying their steaks. The Movies at Meadville theater is located across the parking lot from Montana ‘s and on Tuesday nights, they offer five dollar movies. A discounted movie makes for more money to spend on dinner, so needless to say, the restaurant was rather busy. Our server, Jess, was new and in training, but he was backed by veteran server, Jim. Jess got us a few drinks, told us about the nightly specials, and left us to our menus. We put in an appetizer order of their fried green tomatoes while we decided on dinner. For the time that Jess was our server, he was attentive and helpful. When the time came to order our entrées, Jim stepped in to take everything down. Within seconds of Amanda ordering, Jim had picked up on the dynamic of the table and played right to us, joking and laughing along while taking our orders. Amanda’s favorite menu item is the Baseball Cut top sirloin, so that was an easy choice. I was torn between their NY Strip, the hand-cut Ribeye, and the Famous Filet. Amanda got a filet last week and I had the NY Strip, so I decided to go with the Ribeye. Justin ordered the NY Strip and Whitney went off-theme and ordered the Cedar Plank Salmon.
Our appetizer came out first. Although fried green tomatoes are a southern food, the ones at Montana’s will give any of them a run for their money. These thick cut tomatoes are coated in a cornmeal breading and lightly fried. They are then layered on a plate with bleu cheese, large chunks of lump crab meat, and a thick, sweet balsamic reduction. The tomato and the powerful bleu cheese are accentuated by the sweetness of the crab and the balsamic vinegar. The balance of each bite is truly perfect; it is one of my favorite appetizers in the area.
Our steaks came out shortly after and were served and presented in a very simple fashion. The plates they were on were scorching hot and completely bare besides the cut of meat and the seasoning that might have come off of it. The sides are served in separate bowls as to not burn on the hot plate. The first thing I noticed on my steak were the gorgeous grill marks. The flawless diamond pattern gave the meat fantastic color and a great char. I cut into the steak to reveal a warm, bright red, medium-rare center. I spoke with kitchen manager Ryan and found that the steaks are all hand-cut (by him) and are Certified Angus Beef. My steak was juicy and tender with amazing marbling throughout. I had minimal excess external fat. The seasoning on the steak was a basic salt and pepper spice rub and was packed with flavor. For a side, I had sweet corn as well as sautéed garlic mushrooms for my steak. The mushrooms added a great layer of flavor to the beef and are good to eat just on their own.
Amanda’s Baseball Cut Sirloin was about three inches thick and was fantastic. With the meat being so thick, it is more difficult to cook it to temperature. Amanda ordered hers medium-rare as well. The outside had a great sear and everything but a small spot in the middle was more rare than medium-rare, but it was still delicious. She did comment that she’d rather have the steak done that way than have the chef wait longer and risk overcooking the rest of the meat. The steak had very little fat and was incredibly juicy and flavorful. Amanda’s side of wild mushroom stuffing was awesome as well. Fresh mushrooms are blended with toasted herbed bread and baked in its natural juices. I could eat an entire plate of just the stuffing.
Our total bill was just shy of $60. Between our incredible steaks and our awesome server, it really was a great meal. The 38 mile drive is more than worth it for a meal of this quality. Thank you to both Jess and Jim, as well as the kitchen manager Ryan. You will see us again for sure.
The phone number for reservations and information is 814-333-2000 and is located directly across from the movie theater at 11142 Perry Highway. The restaurant opens daily at 11 AM and closes at 11PM every day except for Friday and Saturday when they close at midnight.
Until next time,
Andrew — Beard vs. Food