Friday, June 14, 2013

Charbroiled Steak at Shady Maple

Of course, we are back to talking about Shady Maple Smorgasbord in Lancaster, PA - the buffet that has been awarded best and top buffet from this site year after year. Just before the new year, Shady Maple announced that they were adding a char grill to the restaurant. I have mentioned this but a few weeks ago I got to try it and I will tell you all about it.

We were there on a Monday night - steak night - and I was eager to see how this new grill would be utilized. The types of steaks have not changed. They are still serving New York strip steaks and Delmonico steaks. I wondered if they would be only using this new grill for the steaks as there seemed to be talk of only one grill and there are three stations where steaks are cooked.  There is just one grill and the cooking station on the left of the entrance of the buffet serving area is the one with the char grill. All of the other stations still have the fry grill that they have always had in the past. If you go to that first grill (the one closest to the entrance to the dining room from the lobby) you will get a char grilled steak. If you go to any of the other grills you will have your steak cooked as Shady Maple has always done in the past on a fry grill top. Each grill was active with people getting steaks and I wondered if everyone realized that the steaks at the first grill were being cooked differently.

I wanted a char grilled steak and went right for that. Of the two steak cuts served, the Delmonico has always been my favorite. I find it has more flavor than the NY strip but it is a thicker cut steak and I decided that it would go better on the char grill than the thinner Delmonico. So I asked for a NY strip rare and that is what I got. It was cooked nicely. It could have been charred on the outside more but that is sometimes the price of ordering a rare steak - less cooked both inside and out. (My idea of a perfect steak is red on the inside and crispy charred on the outside and I have had steaks like this - even at some buffets.)  Right away I regretted not having the Delmonico just because I prefer it so much more.

I went back later for a second steak and this time I ordered the Delmonico. I enjoyed it much more than the NY strip but I knew that I would.

Now, does the char grill add very much to the steaks at Shady Maple? Well, I have liked the steaks fried on the grills of Shady Maple for many years. These charbroiled steaks come off the grill with less grease and a flame broiled taste so they were good. On occasion, Shady Maple will have different cuts of steak for special occasion dinners and I think that these thicker and fancier steaks might grill better and really put the new char grill to excellent use. The next steak night that I go to Shady Maple I will certainly go for the char grilled steaks rather than the fried steaks. I prefer charcoal cooking over frying (searing) when it comes to meats. But if the only steaks available were on the original grills I would not be disappointed. Which leads me to note - as the night got later and the grill stations were combined down to just one, the char grill was closed and the center grill with the fry grill top remained open, so all steaks then were cooked in the original Shady Maple manner. So if you go up for your steak late, you may not see a char grill choice at all.

Just a side note. It is remarkable when I talk about Lancaster County in any context sometimes with complete strangers and totally unrelated to food, I am asked if I know about Shady Maple. This restaurant seems to be known by so many as the must go to place to eat in Lancaster.

Shady Maple Smorgasbord is located at 129 Toddy Drive in East Earl, PA. Take Route 23 East from Lancaster or Route 322 South to get to the restaurant. (Put the name in your GPS and it will know it.) The phone numbers are 1-800-238-7363 and 717-354-8222. They are closed on Sundays and certain holidays. There is a website and it is listed at the side of this page.There is also a very active Facebook page!

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