CHEW ON THIS

Steak 44 is all steak house deliciousness without the stuffiness

Jan 15, 2015, 2:49 PM | Updated: 2:49 pm

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The area of 44th Street and Camelback Road seems to be a hub of interesting restaurants and new concepts for some well-known restaurateurs.

One of those is Steak 44, which replaced the Cork & Cleaver and is part of Michael Dominick’s Steakhouse group of restaurants.

As with the Dominick’s at the Scottsdale Quarter, you will be treated very well, in a dark and classic-looking steakhouse. But Steakhouse 44 tends to be a bit more casual in décor and styling.

It may have been where we were seated, which was by the busy bar area, in what seemed to be the main dining area. They have more secluded rooms around the corner if you are looking for a more intimate and quieter setting.

Indeed, the main room was loud and busy the night we visited. In fact, I bet my dining partner that someone would most definitely get food dropped on them as trays of food were carried high and fast over our heads all night. This, of course, did not happen, but with such tight quarters I can’t imagine it’s never or never will happen.

The service was quick and informative, not to mention overtly friendly. There was no stuffiness I had expected, which was a nice change of pace from such a high-end steakhouse. Our waitress was there just the right amount of time, never being intrusive but never leaving us wanting for anything. In fact, the timing of the food was perfect, as if she was watching us and waiting for the right time to put our orders in the fire.

The one thing that was strange was the music. A mix between top 40, rock classics and adult contemporary seemed very out of place with the décor, food and service. I even asked if this was normal music for the restaurant and not some special music for the night. At times, the music made me feel rushed and then, just as quickly, slowed down to a crawl. I am not sure I would have chosen it but happily the rest of our experience was enjoyable.

We started off with the calamari and shrimp plate which came with three sauces — a typical shrimp cocktail, a garlic aioli and some sort of spicy Sriracha or Thai chili-type of sauce. Neither of us were fans of the latter, as was evident by the two empty bowls and one full one at the end of our appetizer. The calamari was not chewy or overly battered; definitely not the absolute best I have ever had but enjoyable. The shrimp was perfect, not large, but more like rock shrimp. Popped in our mouth with wonderful flavor and again not overly-breaded, just as we like them.

We both ended up getting the same main course, which was a petite filet mignon. I had wanted to add truffle butter but forget as we ordered. Turned out I didn’t need it, as it was a buttery cut of meat that melted in my mouth. Both cuts were cooked to perfection, even though we had ordered different temps.

For the sides, we decided to share a few instead of ordering for ourselves, which was the right decision as we barley finished any of them due to all the food that arrived at our table. Dominick’s Potatoes were essentially a very cheesy version of scalloped potatoes, with caramelized onion, Gouda and mozzarella. Cut into four squares almost like a pizza, it was sinful and delicious.

The sautéed spinach, covered in garlic, and what I can assume was a very light dusting of parmesan, was our green choice for the night and we made the right one. Just a tip from me to you: You can take the spinach leftovers and make an amazing spinach omelet the next day.

Lastly, we ordered the sautéed wild mushrooms, with just a little garlic, parsley and thyme. We covered our steaks with them and both went in for seconds once those were devoured.

A bit on the pricey side, it is not a place to go for your everyday night out. However, I would happily take my significant other there on any special occasion.

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Steak 44 is all steak house deliciousness without the stuffiness