Since we hve been back we have done mostly revisits. Part of the reason is the food industry here is still in flux with all of the Government second guessing. Another reason is we like to do a welfare check on some of our more favorite joints. When it comes to favorites the Red Key ranks right up there.
I know the trend in bars is craft beers and the whole gastropub scene but the Red Key is a comfortable joint with beer and liquor and just a few food offerings. https://www.redkeytavern.com/
I decided on a cheese burger. A simple patty fully cooked on a griddle with some onion and pickle.
I appreciated a good burger cooked medium rare but I also like a drug store burger cooked to one temperature. Fully cooked.
So if you haven’t been to the Key you should ask yourself why. It’s a nice and relaxing atmosphere with very good cheese burgers and they only take cash. However on Wednesday the drink special is a $4.75 Manhattan. Now that is a good deal.
We have been asked before why we go to so many bars or taverns. Some folks don’t consider such places as “legitimate restaurants”. Well considering the crowd these joints feed at lunch time I would say that is a minority opinion.
We have been to all the bars we lunch at before; for a beer or cocktail. The ones that offer something unique or special we add to our list. This week we couldn’t really decide on what we wanted to eat. I recalled Fort Ben’s Wednesday Special. A 6 ounce bacon wrapped filet with fries, toast and a salad for $9.25. Now that is a special Special.
Pat ordered his medium and mine was medium rare. For all practical purposes they were the same temperature. The beef was very tender and had a very nice char quality to it. It was a record for speed that is for sure. I believe it was because the steak was par cooked prior to the order, and the fries were probably fried earlier and stored under a heat lamp. All perfectly reasonable and legitimate “tricks” done to expedite the lunch service. Also you could eat it in record time since you didn’t need to cool anything down. The meat was still tasty and I would do it again were I in the area. However Murphy’s @Flynn’s use to have a similar steak special for $9.99;and the steaks didn’t start cooking until you ordered. They might have raised the price a buck since Pat and I were there. Check their website.
This particular place has a full repertoire of daily specials; both lunch and dinner. The specials may make this particular spot your destination. So don’t be too quick to overlook lowly bars or taverns for a bite to eat. Remember some of the best scratch type cooking can often be found at these bars.
Well the name Murphy and Pat Flynn have been pretty well know on the North side for many years,with Murphy’s Steakhouse on Keystone and Pat Flynn’s Public House on Allisonville. A couple of years ago Murphy’s Steak house closed its Keystone location and moved to the Pat Flynn site. It has kept both names; I assume to take advantage of the name recognition of each. The menu has items suitable for both a steak house and a pub. Pat and I popped in for a beer one Tuesday afternoon and noticed that they have a set schedule of specials. On Tuesday it is a 6 ounce filet with potato choice and soup or salad for $9.99. So here we are. Tuesday at Murphy’s at Flynn’s.
Their soup offerings that day were white bean and French onion;both too filling for us. So we both decided on salad.
It was a salad. What can be said about a salad? It was fresh and chilled with crunchy stuff on top.
As for me I was very impressed with the steak. It was very tender. The seasoning was minimal if at all,which is fine with me. I prefer the naked taste of the steak. Needless to say Murphy’s has two new fans.
The time we stopped for beers we ordered some mushrooms. They were pretty good. Couple that with the steaks and I will say they know how to cook at this joint. Murphy’s offers a different lunch and dinner special every day of the week. They also have pie and cobbler.
They have 4 or 5 beers on tap,some local brews. They also build a pretty tasty Manhattan for 6 bucks.
So;in summation you can get an old school steak lunch and cocktail for $16 plus tax. Toss in a respectable tip and you have only dropped a twenty,tax not included. Of course a cocktail isn’t mandatory. I just think it makes lunch much more jovial.
How I could have overlooked this place for so long, I just don’t know. Well I corrected that over sight Friday. This joint is the quintessential tavern. Dim lighting and wood paneling. It is a credit to its generation. And their food and service is a credit to taverns everywhere. I discovered a new beer from Sun King. I don’t recall the name but after the obligatory notes of hop, the finish had a definite chile pepper smack. This beer made for a great pairing with the Hot Sicilian sandwich. Now this sandwich is standard fare in a lot of places. Ham, pepperoncinis, bacon and mozzarella cheese on a toasted roll with shredded lettuce. The way they prepare their version is what sets it apart from the rest . They par cook the bacon and then finish it per order on the flat top with the remaining ingredients. The result is a flavor filled sandwich full of greasy bacon goodness. I would also recommend a side of potato salad to go with. The salad is of the smashed variety. The first taste is hard-boiled egg, followed by the potato with a touch of sour cream and a hint of vinegar. If you like potato salad as much as I do I think you’ll love this.
After my successful scouting trip Pat and I decided to make this joint our weekly destination. As you will see I wasn’t the only one taken by this joint. Following is Pat’s ode to a French Dip.
I was torn between a grilled chicken sandwich or a burger. Since the menu mentioned char broiled burgers I ordered one, medium rare, with a side of cole slaw. I was a wee bit disappointed. There wasn’t a whole lot of char on the meat and it was cooked past medium. All in all the meat was a little dry. That could have been caused by aggressive spatula use or patty compaction. In either event it really is not that big of a deal. The burger temp is regulated by the Board of Health. The last I heard all ground meat must be cooked to an internal temp of 160 degrees, and held for 15 seconds. Which precludes even a true medium. As for the slaw I thought it could have used more dressing. Now that is purely subjective. Hell you can’t hit a home run every time.
So this is a place worth visiting. And from the lunch crowd I guess a lot of folks feel the same way. Oh. I almost forgot the Chile. I had a cup to start things off. It was house made and really good. Mild enough to appeal to non chile heads and packing enough chile powder and cumin to make it interesting. Also like so many joints the help is such a key to success; and the help here appears to be professional. At least in the front of the house; where it matters. I would also like to thank Kelly for such attentive service. Thanks from both of us.