Downtown Dining Week Review: Rare Steakhouse

The prix fixe menu at Rare is a pleasant surprise.

I took advantage of Downtown Dining Week to indulge in a dinner at Rare Steakhouse. It was Sunday, I didn’t feel like cooking and the price — $35 for three courses — sounded right.

I arrived alone, without a reservation, and sat in the bar area at a table. My server was very courteous and attentive, and made me feel welcome.

I started with the Caesar salad. The dressing was very good, with just the right amount of garlic, but although the salad was very satisfactory, there was nothing outstanding about it that would speak to its status as a signature dish of the house. The croutons were disappointing, only nominally better than those bland ones that come in a box.

I selected the petite filet mignon for my main course. While the two other choices – truffle mac and cheese or grilled salmon — both sounded tempting, when at a steakhouse, one must eat steak, or so goes my thinking. The filet was excellent, flavorful with a good texture and cooked to perfection. It was served with some very tasty (but not quite hot) whipped potatoes and a meager portion of delicate young string beans. I savored every last bite.

A bowl of mixed berries – fresh, juicy and flavorful – with some whipped cream was the perfect ending to this tasty dinner. I left satisfied but not stuffed, and a little bit surprised. When I lived in New York, Restaurant Week was generally a disappointment, with restaurants often serving meals that were significantly inferior to their typical offering. If my dinner at Rare is any indication, Milwaukee’s Downtown Dining Week is a deal I would recommend to everyone.