Porterhouse Grill at the Red Lion Hotel, Pocatello, Idaho June 2, 2006
The Porter House was an established eatery in the 1980's and the menu was superb. However when the chain changed hands it went from superb to the mundane and finally closed. About 5 months ago the chain management decided to reopened the long vacant restaurant. We went on a Friday evening at 5:30pm. We were the only patrons there, perhaps too early for the "crowd". The menu was an abbreviated and slightly up grated version of the hotel’s day restaurant, prices included.
We were a party of three and ordered three different dishes. Mine was an Asian influenced wheat noodle Vegetable, beef kabob inspired fare. Another was a healthy turkey wrap in a multi grain tortilla and finally a traditional steak dinner, rib eye with blue cheese, risotto and house vegetables. To start it off we ordered an appetizer, a multi grain/spice infused quesedilla with cheese, mushrooms and spinach. In all, the most spectacular part of the entire meal. It was absolutely delicious, served with a side of sour cream and a mild salsa; it needed nothing to add to its superb taste and texture.
Now one must remember the ambiance of an establishment, we had of course linen tablecloths and napkins, ours were black and red, the former were white, perhaps the same only aged? We had the tones of a newly formed micro light jazz combo complete with singer wafting in the air, through an open door of the adjacent Porterhouse Pub. Since we were the only occupied table in the establishment, the sounds carried through. I am all for newly formed groups, however since I was in the mood for a distinctive dining experience, I was not amused.
The wine list read from boxed fare to the mediocre for a normal bar type atmosphere. We were distinctively pleased to see that Mohitos were being served and ordered two. Two too many it seemed. Our waitress was also in charge of engineering the complex tastes of this Caribbean inspired drink and her only comment was, " I put in two sugar packets, was that enough?" OK, not enough crushed mint, too small a glass and just not enough of Mohito. So moving along to the main menu.
The rib eye encrusted blue cheese fare was fine enough, although slightly over done from the medium rare ordered. The down side was when the waitress entered stating that the risotto had gone bad and could she substitute something else. Ok, so we said wild rice, minute rice with a teaspoon of wild rice something mixed in is not a substitute. The upside would be the multi lettuce (escarole, radicchio, endive etc.) salad complete with a single hard crusted white roll with a foil-encrusted pat of "real" butter. Hummm……
The turkey wrap in the multi grain tortilla was a dry arid arrangement of turkey, some sort of lettuce with cheese perhaps provolone and some chopped up tomatoes and a slight version of dressing, ranch I think? All in all too dry.
Mine was the most interesting; it was a wheat pasta noodle with a kebab of beef served over with sautéed Napa cabbage and vegetables. Sounded good, however what I received was an over done kabob of beef, two no less served atop swimming wheat noodles infused with about thirty micro mini carrots and a trace of cabbage here and there. And perhaps about a cup of Asian inspired sauce, Hoisin, soy, sesame, etc., who knows, all I know is by the time I got it home in the to go box it had leaked through the bottom; a glutinous mess of oily sticky Asian stuff.
Now do not by any means discard this establishment for a dining experience, for the only way to get and maintain an eatery of fine staple goods is to frequent and comment as to its fare. So go and dine and do fill out the comment cards as to your tastes and wants and only by this will you be afforded a truly enjoyable eatery. I must say that the servers were ever so intent to serving our needs and tried to make our experience enjoyable. It was as though they could read our minds.