Take a look at the menu offered at the Steer, a new steakhouse on South Orange Avenue, and you’ll realize this is not a restaurant gunning after the likes of Christner’s, Ruth’s Chris or even Linda’s La Cantina. When you can get a 12 ounce New York strip for $15, you’re probably not in the realm of fine dining.
The restaurant’s subtitle – Pioneer Steakhouse – might lend a clue, as well. Pioneers weren’t historically known for refinement. The Steer occupies a former Pizza Hut hut that most recently, and for decades, was home to Bauern-Stube, a German restaurant noted for its eclectic and cluttered decor. Perhaps the best that can be said for the Steer is that its owner successfully un-Stubed the place.
But go back to the price point and you’ll find it easier to find other kind words.
I stopped in with some friends for a Friday night visit. We thought we would start with an appetizer of Bitz-O-Chix, which we assumed were meant to be a boneless take on Buffalo chicken wings. We’ll never know because the kitchen was out. And nothing else on the limited list of starters appealed to us. (I long ago learned to leave alligator to tourists who order it just so they can tell their friends back home that they ate it before it could eat them.)
And starters weren’t really necessary because most of the entrees include a house salad, bread and a side item, which makes the prices even more attractive.
One of my guests chose that New York Strip and another the Filet Mignon. Neither was cooked to the requested temperature but at least came close. And they looked pretty enough with the requisite grill marks.
Another guest chose the Prime Rib, which was served, oddly, beneath a pile of sautéed mushrooms and onions. The meat was quite thin and never had much of a chance to be anything but medium-well. It also lacked the tenderness one expects from prime rib.
I chose the All Beef Burger, a six-ounce patty, sufficiently thick and with a coating of swiss cheese that seemed to have been shrink-wrapped on it. The toasted bun came stacked with onions, pickles, tomato slices and lettuce. This also went beyond the requested medium-rare, which may have been the reason it lacked juiciness. The fries seem an afterthought.
The house salad, with iceberg lettuce, cherry tomatoes, a slice of cucumber and toasted croutons, was certainly serviceable.
Servers were friendly if not entirely well-versed in the menu. The dining room features an open design with solid tables and chairs in pastel stains. Tables are set with flatware rolled in paper napkins.
Again, we’re not talking fine dining. But at the price point, you should be satisfied with what you get.
The Steer is at 8015 S. Orange Ave., Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday. The phone number is 407-286-6802.