Who would have thought there would be a line to get into Neil’s Lounge on an early Wednesday evening for dinner! I was lucky to get a table as I, for the first time, came in to enjoy Steak Night offered by Western Grill, the restaurant located inside of Neil’s. Please allow me to preface everything I’m about to write about this dining experience by explaining a little about myself. I, Lisa Morgan, RARELY go out for a steak dinner. It seems to me that in order to get a really good steak, you practically have to leverage your first born in order to afford it. That’s difficult for me to do when I adore my first born. Being a meat and potatoes FANATIC and quite the woman in the kitchen, who on Que, can make a fabulous steak at home for a fraction of the cost; a big, giant, thick cut, beautiful, medium rare, perfectly marbled, on the bone steak.
I have enjoyed Western Grill’s offerings quite a few times on my karaoke nights out. The deep fried sampler platter, kielbasa sliders on Hawaiian rolls, the tri tip sandwich with au ju, their steak fries and more, all cooked to order and consistently delicious upholding the fabulous reputation of good pub food offered at prices as low as $3. But this was going to be a test. This was STEAK NIGHT, and this had better be good. The pressure was on. Not only did Western Grill have to meat (no pun intended) my standards, but the standards of some of my favorite people on the planet who with all their charm, aren’t afraid of stating their critical opinions.
When our charming waitress came to the table, we ordered 3 different cuts of beef 5 different ways. First out, was our salad. Not a big deal unless you realize it comes with the meal. A beautiful mound of fresh, cold iceberg lettuce garnished with cucumber, mushroom, olives and grated cheese beautifully presented with a side of dressing and a soft, sweet Hawaiian roll. Not only do you get a salad with your meal, but you get a choice of potatoes and a side of fresh vegetables with order. This is also not a big deal until you realize how inexpensive the entire meal is. Considering how low budget this steak dinner was turning out to be, I began to have my doubts as to the quality of the meat I would be dining on.
Just as we were finishing our salads, the moment of truth arrived. I of course, ordered the biggest and best on the menu, a medium rare 18 ounce Porterhouse. My friends however ordered the Rib eye and New York cuts. As these gorgeous looking cuts of beef were placed before us, I flashed back to the moment of angst when the waitress asked how we wanted our steaks cooked. I absolutely HATE when a steak is over cooked and have resorted to ordering rare versus medium rare just to insure that it would not be so. But today, I ordered it the way I wanted it, medium rare, 130-135 degrees and pink in the middle. As I tentatively cut into that first bite, low and behold, I had a big, giant, thick cut, beautiful, medium rare, perfectly marbled, on the bone steak complete with the perfectly placed grill marks, just enough char on the edges for smokiness with a perfectly pink, juicy center. Noticing that this normally loud and lively group had fallen silent, I looked to see what was wrong. Absolutely nothing was wrong! Every steak looked perfectly cooked to order and the only sound from our table was the approving grunts of happy diners. The baked potato was huge, the vegetables were crisp and the drinks were…. Well, let me just say the drinks kept coming, and nobody pours a drink like the boys behind Neil’s bar.
Over all, Western Grill at Neil’s Lounge gave us all a fabulous dining experience at an amazing price. When was the last time you had a really good steak dinner for two for less than $40? The atmosphere is casual, the lights are dim, the pool table’s open and the karaoke machine is on all lending to a fun night out with friends. This was a very satisfying experience that I plan to enjoy again very soon.
Western Grill inside Neil’s Lounge is located at 80956 Highway 111, Indio. 760-347-1522.