A wave of new meat-and-martini slingers has descended upon the Mile Square—Red the Steakhouse, Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse, and the soon-to-open Tony’s Steaks and Seafood joining the established Ruth’s Chris, Shula’s, Morton’s, and The Capital Grille. It’s a bold move for every one of them, considering the city center already has its patriarch of porterhouses: 116-year-old St. Elmo, which has thrived through every dining whim thrown its way—including the downtown-steakhouse trend. In the face of its fresh competition, the gentlemanly landmark barely flinched. It just kept serving its incendiary shrimp cocktails, kept offering diners a choice of tomato juice or navy bean soup before the main course, kept whisking out noble expense-account steak dinners that make the recipients feel like Mad Men (if only for a night) in those dark, paneled dining rooms off Illinois Street—and kept showing everyone else in town how it is done. Turns out, operating a high-end steakhouse isn’t as easy as St. Elmo makes it look. So if you’re going to come after the champ, you’d better come strong.
NEW THIS YEAR
St. Elmo’s upstairs bar, 1933 Lounge, now serves a $30 prix-fixe meal on Sunday.
“We’ve been featuring a Cookies and Milk dessert to benefit Riley Hospital for Children. It’s a gooey chocolate chunk toffee cookie and a glass of Traders Point Creamery whole milk.”— Richard Edwards, general manager
127 S. Illinois St., 317-635-0636