Steak Quest: Heinnies is a finalist for best steak in the county
Posted: 09/19/2011 at 1:15 am
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$PHOTOCREDIT_ON$The entry from Heinnieís is a finalist in Steak Quest. $PHOTOCREDIT_OFF$
Truth Photo By Marshall V. King
Now hereís why:
The DeShone family has been in the restaurant and bar business for 60 years. In 1985, Harry DeShone and his kids expanded the Elkhart restaurant at 1743 W. Lusher to offer big pieces of meat and a big iceberg salad.
They donít make the staff wear bib overalls in the rustic, blue-collar atmosphere anymore. Itís not a fancy place. Itís not an expensive place. But the foodís good.
On a weekend night, cooks Blake Pierce and John Ontiveros may have 30 steaks on the grill at one time. But they regularly nail the doneness. They consistently send steaks out of the kitchen with the right amount of char, the amount of pink inside someone ordered, and enough seasoned herb butter to give the right amount of seasoning.
In the 1980s, when the family was getting ready to expand, they spent a lot of time on the deck cooking different cuts and recipes. The butter, which son Troy DeShone says has a ďlittle sprinkle of this and that,Ē is still the one the family uses at its Elkhart, South Bend and Edwardsburg restaurants.
I donít get to Maxiís in South Bend or Stacyís in Edwardsburg. With apologies, I always end up in Elkhart at Heinnieís, where brothers Bill and Troy DeShone oversee the drinks flowing and the meat getting cut, cooked and served.
Aside from the burgers, which nearly won Burger Quest, Heinnieís serves 700 to 800 pounds of steak a week.
Thatís a lot of beef.
A chunk of that is prime rib, which they rub with seasoning and bake for 24 hours. Itís very good prime rib and the prices are $17.99 for the 10-ounce cut to $24.99 for the 20-ounce. Couples often order that 20-ounce Clydesdale cut and split it and the two sides, Bill said.
Heinnieís sells plenty of New York strips, rib eyes and filets they cut from slabs of beef graded choice or higher. They get the burger from Johnís Butcher Block in Nappanee, but the steaks from other restaurant suppliers.
The two-pound ďsteak for twoĒ sirloin isnít on the menu anymore, but is on special sometimes. The 20-ounce strip is gone too because it was too hard to cook properly, Troy said. But the values are still on the menu. You can get a 6-ounce filet with two sides
cook properly, Troy said. But the values are still on the menu. You can get a 6-ounce filet with two sides for $17.99, though if you add much to the salad or get mushrooms, there are upcharges. A 16-ounce rib eye or New York strip is only $22.99. Thatís a good deal, but doesnít factor in the flavor.
The butter and the seasoning in it balances the steak nearly perfectly. The steaks have the right amount of char from the gas charbroiler, but with plenty of pink inside if you want it. The steaks are often run through a tenderizer before cooking, Pierce said.
Heinnieís steaks are consistent and flavorful. I had the rib eye and tried the strip steak, filet and prime rib recently. They were all great.
The restaurantís service is solid. If you know Bill, you know that he has plenty of bull to go along with the beef. Thatís part of the gift of this place too.
Heinnieís is one of my favorite places. Itís a well-run, family-owned restaurant. Business is steady even though itís difficult to get there right now because of construction on Lusher Avenue. But people are still heading there because itís got one of the best steaks in Elkhart County. (five out of five stars)
Is it the best? I donít know yet. Time will tell. But itís a sure-bet finalist along with Miles Lab.
Iím hungry. Letís eat.
ē The Michiana Mennonite Relief Sale Friday night and Saturday will offer a huge variety of food at the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds, 11746 C.R. 34, Goshen. Ethnic foods ó ranging from Indian to Amish ó prepared by local individuals and churches will be available for purchase both at the event and to take home.
ē IU Health Goshen is hosting the Gluten Free and Wellness show from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, according to Tanya Slabach-Trick, who advocates on gluten-free issues locally. Participants are asked to bring a gluten-free food item to donate to the Gluten Free Food Pantry of Middlebury. Information: 574-215-0788
ē On a road trip last week, my wife and I visited both Thurman Cafe and Jeniís Splendid Ice Creams in Columbus, Ohio. The burger was in George Motzí ďHamburger AmericaĒ book, which features Heinnieís as well. The huge burgers at Thurman Cafe were amazing. The Suclescy family that has run it since 1942 has a great business. Jeniís gets a lot of attention for its flavor combinations and I was pretty thrilled with the salt caramel and brown butter/almond brickle flavors I tried. Marshall V. King is news/multimedia editor and food columnist for The Elkhart Truth/eTruth.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, 296-5805, on Twitter @hungrymarshall or via Facebook at www.facebook.com/DiningALaKing.