Two of our favorite things in the restaurant world are fine cuts of meat and a comfortable, low-key atmosphere to enjoy them in. Citizen Kane's Steak House has plenty of both, as we were reminded on our most recent visit.
Unlike other steak houses, Citizen Kane's is actually located in a house—a turn-of-the century Victorian beauty in the leafy green heart of Kirkwood, to be exact. Mind you, there's nothing wrong with the traditional steak house vibe: dark wood, soft leather, low lights, maybe some Rat Pack faves playing overhead. But walking into Citizen Kane's had the feel of being at a friend's place instead of a high-end eatery, albeit a friend who has a hostess stand in his foyer. The decor was low-key, just the occasional movie poster touting the other Citizen Kane. One thing to be aware of—given that the space was once a private residence—is that since it wasn't originally designed to be a restaurant, some of the tables are necessarily located fairly close to each other due to the way the rooms are laid out. As a result, space is tight in some areas. It wasn't an issue during our visit, but a loud talker or two could put a damper on things.
To start, the Kane's Platter for Two ($19), is a selection of the four available apps designed to share: Sauteed Mushrooms, Toasted Ravioli, French-fried Onion Rings and Shrimp Cocktail. All of these starters were quite passable. Nothing extraordinary, just solid takes on some standard offerings. Of the four, the onion rings were the standout--fried up golden and crispy on the outside, and sweet and tender on the inside.
Since ordering a steak was a foregone conclusion, we went for the top-of-the-line with the Filet ($35). This was the ultimate in delicious simplicity, just a thick piece of soft and tender beef cooked to a rosy center, just chewy enough to give us pause before it melted in our mouth. We added a side of Green Bean Almondine, which was just fine but sort of superfluous in light of the superb steak, which didn't need much, if any, accompaniment.
The Tenderloin Brochette ($27) consisted of charbroiled beef tips served with peppers and onions atop some wild rice and with a deep, savory mushroom Burgundy sauce. The dish came with a Kane's Rosebud Salad dressed with a mild vinaigrette and another side of Green Bean Almondine. At first glance, this seemed like a fairly modest portion, but the meat was so rich and the sauce so decadent that it wasn't long before we were asking for a to-go box.
Both of these meaty masterpieces were nicely accented with a couple of glasses of Louis Martini 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon ($9), although the wine selection changes frequently. Though we'd almost reached our tipping point by meal's end, we couldn't resist sharing a slice of New York Cheesecake ($7) to cap things off.
Citizen Kane's turns 20 this year; and with its mix of cuisine and comfort, we think it'll see another 20 easy.
--Citizen Kane's, 133 W. Clinton Place, 965-9005, citizenkanes.com.
Citizen Kane’s New Orleans Style Barbecue Shrimp
•2 c butter, at room temperature
•2 T chopped garlic
•2 T crushed dried rosemary
•1 T paprika
•1 T ground black pepper
•1 t ground white pepper
•1 t ground red cayenne pepper, or more to taste
•1/4 t salt
•1 T Worcestershire sauce
•Juice of 1 large lemon
•2 to 3 lbs shrimp
1. Combine all ingredients, excluding the shrimp, in an electric mixer. Beat the mixture until it is light and fluffy, then refrigerate until ready to use.
2. Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the last shell section and tail intact.
3. Heat skillet over medium-high heat, then add butter mixture and shrimp. Cook, stirring frequently, until shrimp are done.
4. Serve with crusty bread for dipping in the extra butter sauce.