Friday, March 14, 2008

Strip House Restaurant at Naples Grande

The Strip House plays on its double entendre, with a red velvet flocked wallpaper highlighting a bordello-esque decor. This would please even the pickiest Duke or "steamroller" of a Governor, to Mann-ly entice an escort to cross state lines, and savor this Strip House's delights.

Jean Harlow, Lesser Clad Ladies Grace the Walls
Finding the Strip House at the Grande Hotele was difficult. One has to walk through a windy tunnel, after valet parking the car, walk 50 feet North into the lobby, walk 100 feet further West in the lobby, then go outside the lobby, walk over 100 feet zigzagging South and West to the restaurant, and then choose between two poorly marked doors to enter. What to do if it rains? You are SOL, my dears, with no overhead cover at all. Good luck with the Rambling and Flawed Grande Designe Maze.

This tortuous walk is not safe for those with signficant heart, circulation or lung conditions, or for the elderly not used to such a walk.

Since we don't dine on decor, needed the walk, liked the newly acquired "wind-blown" coiffure, and found the place by the scent of a steak, let's get to the delights. We were delighted with our attentive server, and with what they serve best- steaks. We started with the Clams Casino ($14) graced with smoked bacon and herb butter. The fresh clams were on the small yet acceptable side with a good amount of natural liquor; some had a bit too much of a salty taste, perhaps from the salt bed's salt flakes. Not recommended.

Clams Casino on Salt Bed

We did better with the Lobster Bisque ($14), served with red pepper ravioli, cream, and portions of lobster meat at the bottom of the bowl. Then the rich creamy Bisque was poured on top-a good sized portion.
The Jumbo Sea Scallops (14) were a nicely seared pair, served on an Edamame Succotash with White Truffle Butter.
Let's get to the meat of the matter-the steaks. The positive-these were good steaks, as expected in a steakhouse at these prices. The NY strip ($41) was 16 full ounces, cooked as ordered, with a charred exterior.

The negative-we paid $17 more for the touted "Rossini Special" of alleged Foie Gras and a special reduction sauce. The "foie gras", when charred, was pink in the center, not ivory or tan as in French restaurants, and at this searing heat, a real Foie Gras should have been reduced to a luscious goose fat puddle. This Faux Gras stood tall, and quite firm around the edges. This fowl liver, ANTHING but restaurant quality foie gras, was foisted upon us, and we were not pleased. How do you spell "rip off?".

Guys, your fowl "Switcheroo" was not appreciated, one bit.

For sides, we liked the Cheese laden Potatoes Romanoff (11).

The Black Truffled Creamed Spinach (11) with butter and cream

Fried Onions (8) Next time we'll try the Crisp Goose Fat Potatoes (11) to excercise our arteries.

For desserts-We were happy with the sorbet trio (~12) with the creamy coconut sorbet outshining the Berry and the Kiwi, and the fresh surrounding fruit. The Banana Tart with Ice Cream-was a mushy delight.

I asked the manager the next day to look into getting real Foie Gras. Shame, he didn't offer to serve me just the "make up" real Fois Gras "Rossini" part gratis, if I bought a ($41+) steak on our next visit. I would have offered at least this "make up" to a patron on a returning visit, were it my restaurant.

A truly attentive manager at a non-chain restaurant would know how to easily turn a first time customer, into an enthusiastic repeat customer.

As an aside-Why do hotels think they can add instant "class" by adding a cutesy "e" to the end of "Grand"? Hmmm. About as "classy" as tired red velvet flocked walls, a poorly designed route to a restaurant, and hefty hookers in torn stockings.

Strip House, Naples Grande Beache Resorte, 475 Seagate Drive 239-598-9600


SteamyKitchen said...

oooh hate it when restaurants think they can serve you faux gras.

Ivan Seligman said...

This is not the first time in Naples-Cafe Lurcat has served red liver, and the chef insisted red-pink was the finest.

Uh-huh, chef.

My group of 30-40 stopped dining there, and found Escargot 41 and other restaurants to be honest and serve the real deal.

Anonymous said...

What's sad is why anyone would want to eat fois gras! With all the great selections of food in the world, why eat animals that are tortured? Then you whine about it... I'm sure the goose would trade places with you anyday!

Ivan Seligman said...

I saw a video on the net a while back, with geese walking up to be fed, one actually being fed, and it walking off. Seeing that made me a believer. I don't know how much they paid the goose to do that-He didn't look tortured to me!

Veterinarians say that the goose's esophagus is way tougher than ours, suited for eating angular pebbles, sticks, and whatever else they gobble down. They don't have a gag reflex as we do. I've seen cormorants gobble down a whole live large fish, and their esophagus REALLY stretches with that meal. Never heard them complain yet-I wouldn't trade places with them, either.

As to assumptions of "torture"? I can't visit all livestock operations, and hope that people are as kind to their animals.