Where: 127 N. Randolph St., Garrett
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday; closed Sunday-Monday.
* Portabella mushrooms appetizer: $6
* Homemade Cheese Sticks: $6
* Loaded Fries: $9
* Clam Chowder: $2.50 (with a sandwich or wrap)
* Jambalaya soup: $2.50 (with a sandwich or wrap)
* Philly Steak sandwich: $8.50
* Bourbon Beef sandwich: $8.50
* Asiago Crusted Chicken: $7
*Jamaican Me Crazy burger: ⅓ pound $6; ½ pound $7
* Steak & Spinach Salad: $14
* Mediterranean Chicken Salad: $9.50
* Steak Wrap: $7.50
* Peanut Butter Pie: $4
Hoping to relieve a massive case of cabin fever, I welcomed the chance to get out of the house, get a break from cooking and get out of Fort Wayne.
I remembered seeing a post from a Facebook friend who said she had tried Shorty's Steakhouse in Garrett and gave it rave reviews. This friend is a restaurant owner, so I held her opinion in high regard.
We arrived, placed our order, then took in the atmosphere.
The interior had features typical in a late-19th, early 20th-century Main Street building. The room was long and narrow and the brick-red paint color highlighted the decorative pattern of the tin ceiling.
But the real star is the bar. The mirrored long dark wooden bar was adorned with heavy columns on each end. It looked just like what you would see in a western, where the bartender would slide a drink down the counter toward a thirsty cowboy or unsavory outlaw.
When I asked the waitress how old the bar was, she said it had been there for decades.
We started with the portabella mushroom appetizer. When it arrived, my friend thought it looked like chicken because the pieces were so large. The heavily battered mushrooms were crispy on the outside and piping hot on the inside.
My dining companion would have preferred less batter on the mushrooms. I respectfully disagree. I really liked the thickness and the initial crunch when I bit in to them. Batter thickness is likely a personal preference.
Two soups were offered on the daily specials lunch board. I chose the clam chowder and my friend chose the jambalaya.
My clam chowder hit the spot on a cold day. The creamy, lightly seasoned soup was loaded with bits of clam, potatoes and shredded carrots.
My friend said the jambalaya soup - chock full of sausage, chicken and rice - was tasty but very spicy. And was it ever. After just a few spoonfuls, he had to cool his mouth with his drink.
I thought, “Oh, how hot can it be?” Then I tasted it. And my nose started running. After I sampled his soup, I could still feel the heat as I ate the rest of my chowder.
Both soups were excellent and, despite the strong Cajun spices in the jambalaya, both of us said we would definitely order them again.
I wanted to try steak (it's what Shorty's is known for, after all) but didn't want a huge piece of meat. The Steak and Spinach salad was the perfect choice to sample the meat but eat a little more healthy.
The steak was cooked to my specifications and was juicy and flavorful. Blue cheese crumbles were scattered throughout the entire salad. That cheese is perfect with the filet mignon tips.
The homemade Caesar-Italian dressing added another layer of flavor. The dressing was very thick and had a strong garlic taste. Again, another winning combination with beef.
Soggy salads are a huge personal pet peeve. Thankfully, this salad wasn't that way. Every leaf of spinach was crisp to the bottom of the bowl.
Toasted almonds, tomatoes and red onion rounded out the rest of the salad's ingredients. My only suggestion would be to slice the red onion thinner. The large rings were a bit difficult to negotiate.
The Bourbon Beef sandwich my friend ordered was excellent. A generous portion of sliced beef covered with smoked Gouda on the open-faced toasted sandwich roll was as impressive in appearance as it was in taste. It was served with horseradish sauce.
He said the sweetness of the onion marmalade was an unexpected flavor but really stood up to all the other ingredients. The beef had a hint of a bourbon taste. “The sandwich was really enjoyable and was good 'til the last bite,” he said.
For dessert we had two options - cheesecake or peanut butter pie. This was a no-brainer for us. The slice of peanut butter pie was quite large, and I was glad we decided to split it. The sweet, rich, silky peanut butter filling was offset by the salty chopped nuts on top. I appreciated that the graham cracker crust was easy to eat with a fork and wasn't so firm you needed a jackhammer.
It was delicious. When the server came by to ask whether it was OK, I said, “You'll have to roll me out to the car.”
Business was brisk the day of our visit. One server took care of the entire restaurant. We had excellent service and our food arrived quickly at our table.
We were there for lunch, but according to the menu, steaks are available anytime. You just have to ask. Next time, we likely will.