A group of us went out for dinner at an "Illiana" (Illinois + Indiana) institution: the Beef House. While their name is all about the meat, their URL reveals what else they are famous for: large, yeasty rolls. The restaurant also has distinctive decorations: stained-glass cows at the entrance, and Delft porcelain around the walls. There's even a large, random, fiberglass giraffe painted in a "southwest" theme outside (left).
Dinner comes with a basket of rolls, soup, the salad bar, and a choice of potato. Among the five of us, we tried the black bean soup (delicious), broccoli and cheese (not too salty), and corn chowder (perhaps a little more pepper than if I were making it). Clam chowder was yet another option.
The salad bar includes a satisfactory array of mixed salads (potato, bean, peas, etc), jellos, and of course veggies. Dear Husband has truly been converted: he pointed out that the lettuce was all iceberg with a little Romaine; some spinach would have been nice. One person in our group encountered Catalina dressing for the first time.
As for the rolls, they were impressively large--and, I thought, underdone. Mine was a bit damp inside. Each basket comes with strawberry jam (very sweet) and apple butter (just right). The rolls, jam, and apple butter can all be purchased at select stores.
As for dinner, the others sampled a variety of steaks and filets, while I decided to try the frog legs. In a steak house, I know. But I'd never had them before, and I'm a believer in adventurousness when eating out. The appetizer plate was more than enough, with eight breaded and fried legs in butter sauce. The batter was good, the leg meat white and thin, and it all tasted of the lemon juice I had squeezed over it. I ate half the batch and took the rest home for lunch. DH, meanwhile, serenaded me with lines from "The Rainbow Connection." "It's tough being green!" he accused.
We were too full for dessert, so we can't say anything about that part of the menu. But we agreed the Beef House is worth the drive for a special occasion, whether that is a birthday, an anniversary, or just hanging out with some of your favorite fellow stargazers.