Review: Chandlers Steakhouse Boise
Chandlers Steakhouse at Hotel 43 in downtown Boise used to be one of my favorite dining spots in town, but my recent visits have been utter disappointments. I’m not sure what happened, but something better change quick, especially at the prices they charge.
Everything sounds like it should be great. Their website states, “CHANDLERS STEAKHOUSE is an upscale dinner house specializing in prime corn fed steaks and Kobe-Style Beef. An incredible fresh seafood menu featuring delicacies from around the world and a three course prix fixe dinner menu featuring Idaho-sourced ingredients round out a menu that has already won praise from guests that have dined at Chandlers, not to mention the Best Steakhouse Award from the Idaho Statesman’s 2010 Best of the Treasure Valley.” Their menu states that they dry age their steaks and then broil them in an 1800° oven. Sounds just perfect, but something’s amiss.
Chandlers Steakhouse Salads
We ordered two salads, which both sounded great. The Limousine Salad and the Rocket Salad.
LIMOUSINE SALAD – Crisp butter leaf lettuce, dressed with genuine Roquefort bleu cheese, spiced cashews, shaved crispy shallots, and garlic croutons with Roquefort vinaigrette. This was good, but only if you like really intense burn your tongue bleu cheese. It was a bit much for me, but the others in our party loved it. It was a whole butter lettuce which was just soaked in the Roquefort dressing. The dressing was bleu cheese, vinegar, possibly butter milk, and a touch of hot pepper. Good not great.
ROCKET SALAD – Baby arugula with fresh sliced pear, shaved asiago cheese, crispy pancetta and toasted pine nuts in an apple cider vinaigrette. Garnished with crispy onion straws. The arugula was perfectly tossed with just the right amount of vinaigrette, which was very light and mild in flavor. A nice balance with the spicy arugula. The pancetta was excellent, very tasty and nice and crispy. They gave a fair amount of it too. The pine nuts were terrific. But there was hardly any asiago given. Stop being so stingy on the cheese. It’s a nice salty contrast that needs to be more present.
I was rather enjoying this salad, but then I got to the pear. The tricksy tricksy pear. It was grilled, soft and firm. Looked great. I bit into it and it was ice cold. It just completely ruined the entire thing. I’m sorry, but a grilled pear with black grill lines on it just should not be freezing cold. What an unnecessary mind trick. A warm pear would have been a perfect contrast to the rest of the ingredients, and would have matched the visual presentation. So sorry Chandlers, but you failed on this one.
Chandlers Steakhouse Appetizers
I usually order Chandlers Tower of Tuna or Crab Cakes, as I have found them to be quite delicious. But I thought I’d branch out and try a couple other things this go around.
OYSTERS ROCKEFELLER – Fresh oysters baked on the half shell with sautéed spinach, shallots, red bell peppers and Pernod topped with a light citrus hollandaise. These were absolutely amazing! Possibly the best Oysters Rockefeller I’ve ever had. The oysters were cooked perfectly. The spinach made the whole thing seem liter somehow. And the hollandaise was perfect with a little extra lemon juice squeezed over the top. Do not change these Chandlers!
ROASTED ARTICHOKE – Halved and oven-roasted artichoke, marinated with garlic, herbs, lemon, and extra virgin olive oil served with roasted red pepper aioli. Maybe I just got a bad artichoke, but this thing was horrible. It had absolutely no flavor to the meat at all. Aggravating, but not necessarily Chandler’s fault. What was their fault, though, was the horrible choice in preparation. This marinated with herbs and lemon thing translated in what tasted exactly like chopped herbs and balsamic vinegar. Ya, I know they’re both Italian, but don’t put balsamic on an artichoke. Those flavors do not work together. And maybe think about grilling the artichoke over flames instead of throwing it in an oven. At least then a nice smokiness could potentially compensate for a bad flavorless choke. Nice try, but huge failure.
Chandlers Steakhouse Steakhouse Specialties
Special my ass. Chandlers dry aging process doesn’t seem to make their beef taste any better than a nice local raised beef pulled out of my freezer. Dry aging usually does a lot to the flavor and texture of a steak, but I wasn’t finding that here. We ordered two steaks, the Flat Iron American Kobe Beef, and the Argentine Style Grass-Fed Beef.
FLAT IRON STEAK AMERICAN KOBE BEEF – The menu says this comes from Idaho Snake River Farms. That means local, and local is always a better choice. How nice that Chandlers supports local businesses and eco-friendly sourcing. Wish the steak was good though. It was prepared perfectly, and had a great crust from the high temperature broiler, but was certainly nothing special for $36. The sauces served with it weren’t anything to write home about either. The Red-Wine Roquefort was a waste of time, the Bearnaise good, and the Peppercorn adequate, but for a high-end steakhouse shouldn’t the accompanying sauces blow your socks off? Lame.
ARGENTINE STYLE GRASS-FED BEEF – So you know my last comment about how Chandlers is eco-friendly by sourcing local ingredients? Well that was a funny joke because the beef in this menu item comes straight from South America. That must mean it’s one of the best steaks ever. Wrong! It had less flavor than the Idaho steak did, which was surprising being that it was rubbed with a dry chimichurri rub that should have been popping with zingy flavors. What the hell happened here? Oh I know, $36 went down the drain.
Chandlers Steakhouse Side Dishes
ROSEMARY ROASTED YUKON GOLD POTATO – This was perfect. Slices of Yukon gold, lined up beautifully on a plate, seasoned perfectly with rosemary, salt and pepper, and drizzled with olive oil. Perfectly executed. $7 is a bit steep though.
ROQUEFORT AU GRATIN POTATOES – Wow! This was truly revolting. Chef Ramsay would have through this against the wall, and I must say I was tempted myself. The mere fact that you would put this on your menu and then charge somebody $7.50 for it makes me embarrassed and ashamed for you Chandlers. Seriously, this tasted like it came straight out of a Betty Crocker box of dehydrated $0.89 potatoes. I pity your chef that thinks this is worth serving.
Chandlers Steakhouse Desserts
We didn’t order any desserts after this dining fiasco, but I have had most of them several times in the past and thought I’d touch on them.
The CHOCOLATE SOUFFLE is good, but not amazing, and is perhaps a bit too much of a production to wait 30 minutes for.
The TRI-FECTA (mini flourless chocolate tortes) is fun for us chocolate lovers out there, and is well done.
The FRESH FRUIT COBBLER WITH HOUSE-MADE CINNAMON ICE CREAM is always nice, though it often seems to have a bit too much sugar for my liking.
The BUTTERSCOTCH CREME BRULEE is good, but the traditional classic version would be better.
But I recommend going straight to the KEY LIME PIE. It is fantastic. It comes out in a ramekin boat instead of a slice of pie, but that just adds to its unique quality. The ginger snap crust is an awesome contrast to the lime, and the whole thing is perfectly tart, sweet, and creamy. Yum!
Chandlers Steakhouse Summary Review and Verdict
Go somewhere else for dinner. Chandlers is no where near the price, and needs to hire a new chef. However, if you’re looking for a nice place to listen to live jazz and enjoy some nice appetizers and/or desserts, definitely pay them a visit.
The Bald Gourmet is on the pursuit of finding dining perfection, and writes reviews of how well restaurants do in appeasing that pursuit.
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