St. Elmo Steak House (Indianapolis, IN)

During Thanksmas (Thanksgiving + Christmas) in Indiana, we decided to check out the famed St. Elmo Steak House in downtown Indianapolis. Chris made reservations. He found a tip about buying a gift card and then using it to pay to get a discount (20% off) that did save us money but be prepared to spend your entire life savings if you go to this restaurant.

Since we had time to kill, we drove through the Fountain Square district which is frequently featured on HGTV’s “Good Bones” and looked for Mina’s house. (We found it.) Also, I had no idea Indy was so woke. I don’t know if I’ve seen that many yard signs and flags, every flag but the American flag, at one time.

We parked in a parking garage connected to Center Square Mall. My brother-in-law knew the shortcut through St. Elmo’s sister restaurant, Harry & Izzy’s. We were promptly seated in one of the dimly lit dining rooms. St. Elmo is the Indiana equivalent of Keene’s in New York City which we tried during the Great Northeastern Trek a few years ago. Like Keene’s, St. Elmo is replete with wooden paneling, photos of famous celebrities and sharply dressed servers. The wait staff all wear tuxedos reminiscent of the staff of Downton Abbey. It was a nice touch. 

The server’s names are even included on the menu because they all work there forever. That is pretty impressive in the current climate. Our waiter was about his business and readily explained the spot’s history and time-honored traditions. Which leads me to the…

St. Elmo Steak House has been a landmark in downtown Indianapolis since 1902. It is the oldest Indianapolis steakhouse in its original location, and has earned a national reputation for its excellent steaks, seafood, chops and professional service.

St. Elmo Website

The Main Event

We started off with the world famous shrimp cocktail appetizer. Our waiter warned us the freshly ground horseradish would hit hard but vanish quickly. He wasn’t wrong. I don’t know if I’ve had that hot of a burning sensation in my nose ever! My sinuses cleared right up. I don’t normally do spicy food. Since the brother and sister-in-law didn’t want any shrimp, Chris and I had two each. The spicy cocktail sauce was accompanied by a few packs of Saltines to take the edge off.

It was SOOOOO good. (Spoiler Alert: It was the most memorable thing at the restaurant. I’d go back just for the appetizer.)

The restaurant’s founder started the tradition of eating navy bean soup or tomato juice before the meal. I don’t remember the exact reason why but I ordered the soup. It was bean soup so there wasn’t much to write home about but it did have meat in it so the flavor was good.

Of course, my husband and his brother had already picked out their steaks before we got there.

I went with my usual pork chops because I like to compare between restaurants and I can’t stomach the prices of wet or dry aged steaks. I don’t care if other people get them. It’s just not my thing. I always eat some of Chris’s food so I can comment on it for the blog. 

For the entrees, I have to say the presentation was pretty bland. Chris had a loaded baked potato with his ribeye and I had mashed potatoes with my double pork chops. 

The portion size was substantial. I like the mashed potatoes with the skin mixed in and the flavor was good. The pork chops were large but thinly sliced. I prefer thicker cuts. There was a small dish of spiced apples on the side. With Ruth’s Chris, the apple is on top of the pork chops and I like that better because the flavors mix better as opposed to it being on the side and not especially hot. The grill marks were evenly distributed and the char was decent. 

Overall, it was decent but unremarkable. Chris liked his steak but wasn’t blown away. He probably likes the steak at Select in Greer better. The loaded baked potato was excellent. The butter and salt were mixed well throughout. 

YTC Takeaway

St. Elmo is on a lot of national lists as a top steakhouse. We definitely wanted to check it out. It’s man food as they say. Apparently, many VIP’s come here to conduct business deals. It sounds like The Monocle or Old Ebbitt Grill in Washington, DC, in that respect.

I’m glad we tried it but I don’t have to go back. I would go back just to eat that appetizer, though. I would add the shrimp cocktail appetizer to my Top Ten appetizer list.

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