We finished the Seven Months of Steak Tour last Tuesday with our road trip to Big Racks in Canton and so now it’s time to pick a winner from that tour for the best steak in Peoria. I have to say that I didn’t have a bad steak throughout the entire tour...well, one was a little weird, but all in all, I learned that Peoria and the towns we roadtripped to have some excellent offerings for steak.
The rating system for the tour was one to four Elsie the Cows and most places scored around a four. But there were three that went above and beyond and got an elusive and honorable five Elise the Cows rating. Those are the trio of restaurants we’ll be traveling to tonight to pick the best of the best. And of course I won’t be judging, I’m too much of a pussy to do that, so I’ve recruited three world-class steak eaters who aren’t afraid to let their opinions be known. So without any further ado, because none of us are too fond of ado, please meat...I mean meet the judges for our Seven Months of Steak Judgement Night!
The Esteemed Judges
Our honorable Judges are, from left: Joe, Steve and Amber. This is a bone-a-fied steak eating trio, who are going to pick the best steak from the best of the three restaurants. And so, let’s let the judging begin!
The First Stop: Novu Sushi
The Judges were seated at a table up in the front with a nice view of Junction City, one of my favorite shopping centers in Peoria.
Our server was Tim, who served us on the original stop way back in February and it was great to see him again!
A Martini And Some Miso Soup
There’s only one steak on the menu here at Novu Sushi, but it’s definitely worth seeking out. It’s an eight ounce filet crusted with parmesan compound butter and it’s definitely one of the best filets served in Peoria. It’s served with fried rice and sauteed vegetables and they both compliment the filet perfectly. I especially love the fried rice.
Carla is the talented chef who prepared our meal and she did a wonderful job! Come to Novu Sushi for the fantastic sushi rolls and then stay for the steak, you won’t be disappointed!
Judge’s Spotlight And A Highlight From His Notebook
Joe’s Favorite cut of steak is the New York strip steak and his preferred side dish is a baked potato. His one word summation of the filet at Novu Sushi: “Succulent.”
Each judge got a notebook for notes to help with the rating and also to help me with facts for the post. I liked the way Joe duplicated the logos in his and also note that he prints and uses cursive writing in his notes. An impressive, all-inclusive use of penmanship!
Stop Number Two: Alexander’s Steakhouse
The Judges were seated at a table near the grill which is located in the center of the expansive and comfortable dining room at Alexander’s. This is the only place in Peoria where you can cook your own steak on the grill if you want to. Of course you can also have it cooked for you, and that’s what we chose to do
Our server was Joe, who also is an expert bartender here at Alexander’s. I told you that this place has the friendliest people working here and Joe is at the top of the list. When I come to eat here with my family, we always ask to be seated in Joe’s section and it was great to see him as always!
I asked Steve Shaw to pick out the cut of steak for us and he chose the Alexander’s filet, which as you can see is a massive and meaty treat! All of the steaks served are aged, USDA Choice or better Midwestern beef. The steaks are cut on a daily basis by Alexander’s own in-house butcher’s making each steak fresh and so delicious.
Johnny is the chef and chief grill-master here at Alexander’s. He’s been grilling steaks for over 30 years and has taken cooking steaks to the highest level. And like everyone else here, he’s a really nice guy!
Judge’s Spotlight And A Highlight From His Notebook
Steve’s favorite cut of steak is a filet and his preferred side dish is rice. So he got both of those so far tonight! His one world summation of the filet here at Alexander’s: “Great!” Then he added, “think about it.” It took a minute, but I got it!
I love Steve’s Arnold Schwarzenegger notation! Is that a promise or a threat? Whatever it is, do not forget it!
Stop Number Three: Jim’s Steakhouse
The Judge's Table
The Judges were seated at a corner table in Jim’s dark and elegant dining room. We all agreed that the atmosphere and ambiance in Jim’s is like nothing else in Peoria. I think I’ve said this in every review I’ve ever done on Jim’s, but it really makes me feel like I’m in a four-star steakhouse in Manhattan. The bar is wonderful too and one of the few left that has piano bar entertainment. If you’ve never been here, you must come and try it out.
Our server was Susan, who’s waited on me before and it was a pleasure to see her again! She’s been here 17 years and most of the people working here are veteran’s and that’s a testimony to the Comfort family who owns Jim’s Steakhouse. One great thing about the wait staff and bartenders here is there’s a level of professionalism you don’t find everywhere. If you have a question or need help ordering, they’ll expertly help you out and they balance that professionalism with a friendly attitude, which I love. It always feels like a special holiday dinner at Jim’s Steakhouse.
Our jaws collectively hit the floor when this steak and side dish was presented at our table! I asked Chef Todd to pick and cook us his best steak and this was above and beyond anything my imagination could conjure up! It’s a sixteen ounce bone-in aged filet cut of steak. It was served with a buttery base sauce and topped with broiled in butter Alaskan King Crab, breaded asparagus spears and drizzled with Hollandaise sauce. This is an incredible presentation and it was served with a skillet side dish of Brussels Sprouts which were impressive but the steak was definitely the star of the show! Adjectives cannot describe this justly, so just look at the pictures and head into Jim’s Steakhouse for dinner as quickly as you can!
This wonderful meal was cooked and created by Chef Todd. Chef Todd not only served us up a wonderful meal, he took time before the dinner to share his history here at Jim’s which is as impressive as his culinary skills. Todd has been here for 24 years and he started out washing dishes. He gradually moved from cleaning the dishes to covering them with his wonderful food creations and it’s a real treat to hear his story and share in his passion for cooking, food and life.
Judge’s Spotlight And A Highlight From Her Notebook
Amber's favorite cut of steak is a filet and her preferred side dish is au gratin potatoes. Her one word summation of this steak: Overwhelming. (She also added, "In a good way.")
Amber’s been a Judge on these end of tour judgement nights before and her notebook is always the best and most fun and this one was no exception! Check out the Judge Mooo-dy cartoon above! Other highlights include: “Page Intentionally Left Blank”, “This smells like what I want my last meal to be” and “#meatsweats.” Ha ha ha!
The Final Judgement!
Okay, time to tally up the Judge’s scores and see who won this meaty contest! Ringo, I think you know what to do here!
Thanks Ringo! Okay...the winner is...
It was really close and they all were such great steaks and presentations, but Chef Todd promised us “Total Beef Porn” when we came in and he more than delivered on that promise! Thanks and congratulations to Chef Todd and everyone at Jim’s Steakhouse for an unbelievable meal and service! And much thanks to everyone at Novu Sushi and Alexander’s Steakhouse, you all served us award-winning steaks and side dishes. And last, but certainly not least, big thanks and hugs to our trio of esteemed Judge’s, Amber, Joe and Steve! It was a fantastic night and thanks for coming out for this judgmental journey!