Monday, September 10, 2007

Mainly Murray's

In terms of venerable old steakhouses, Murray's has to be at the top of almost anybody's list. Old is without question. It was started by Art and Marie Murray in 1946 and remains at its original location. Up until about a year ago it remained completely unchanged. Now, however, the interior is done in shades of chocolate brown, replacing the pastel pinks that had dominated for over fifty years. It remains as classy as ever though.

Murray's, Home Of The Silver Butterknife Steak

But, I am getting ahead of myself. After returning to Minneapolis from Rainy Lake I spent a couple of days with my friends, Rico and Sandy. You saw them in the pictures of Nye's. On the morning of our return to New York the Mysterious Chinese Woman and I drove to the airport, checked our car and luggage, and took the nifty light rail train downtown. It is a quick and convenient ride marred only by a somewhat demented ticketing system.

You pay two dollars, I think, for a ticket. Because we were going to go downtown and then back to the airport we each bought two. When the train came there was nobody collecting the tickets so as I sat there with it in my hand I noticed that it was only good for two and a half hours from the time of purchase. Initially I couldn't figure out why and regretted my purchasing two tickets at once. I should have regretted purchasing any because nobody ever collected the tickets, coming or going. In fact, other than one other person at the airport, obviously a tourist, I never saw anyone purchase a ticket. I think people were laughing at us when we bought ours.

I guess the theory must be that periodically uniformed and heavily armed security forces will board the train and anyone not having a ticket less than two and a half hours old gets beaten to a bloody pulp. But, being Minneapolis where the streets are clean and nobody crosses a street against the light you would probably just be scolded a bit and then given some lutefisk to stop your crying.

But, I digress. Right next door to Murray's was the Lyon's Pub, so I decided to go in and have a beer before my meal.

Lyon's Pub

This was a very comfortable bar with tables outside where you could sit and have a cool one on a nice sunny day. I prefer the inside unless I am on a lake or ocean or something. Sitting on a busy sidewalk in the middle of downtown isn't really my idea of how to enjoy a beer. Well, I guess if I had several and then started making disparaging remarks to everyone returning to work after their lunch break it could be kind of fun.

I decided to have a Summit Extra Pale Ale at the bar.

Dave The Bartender And Bar Man

Minneapolis and its sister city St. Paul used to be the home of many fine breweries such as Hamms and Grainbelt. They were also the home of the Lakers once which is why a team based in Los Angeles has that name. Minnesota has over 10,000 lakes, and their license plates proudly announce that fact to the world. And, you can probably guess where Land O' Lakes butter comes from. By the way, if you cut out the package of butter that the Indian maiden is holding and then cut out and paste in her knees you get an image of a topless Indian maiden. This is vastly amusing to anyone who has never seen it before, particularly grade-school boys.


Summit Pale Ale is a refreshing crisp beverage with a hint of hops and a subtle malty flavor. It is a nice burnished copper color with a small head that rapidly dissipates. Kind of like a good all around session beer should taste like. I would have gladly had another but I was looking forward to my steak next door. Dave said he didn't know why I was going there for their aged beef when they served fresh stuff here. Quite a card, that Dave.

Of course I had to have a pre-lunch libation at their very classy bar up front. This is the perfect setting to have a well-constructed cocktail so I ordered a Manhattan made with Jim Beam. I am developing a taste for these although a purist would insist that they be made with Canadian Rye Whiskey. I am not that much of a purist though so I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

A Touch Of Manhattan In Minneapolis

After the drink we headed to the dining room where the Mysterious Chinese Lady and I shared a perfectly done and perfectly delicious Silver Butterknife Steak. They sure haven't lost their touch because it was great. I have been eating here off and on for well over 40 years. It is the last remaining great restaurant of my youth left in downtown Minneapolis. Two of the others were Charlie's and Harry's, both long gone though.

If you ever get to Minneapolis, I strongly urge you to try out Murray's, and bring your appetite or order something smaller. It is a bit pricey, but not for what you get.