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Dining Out: Lone Star is a cut above the common steakhouse

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MIDVALE — When I'm asked to name my favorite food, I usually say steak.

It's a hard question for me, because I like food very much. I'd rather list my favorite foods, divided into dozens of subcategories: ice cream (burnt almond fudge), sashimi (yellowtail), pizza (Canadian bacon, mushrooms and green peppers), that kind of thing.

But I typically list steak as my favorite food because, when I ask myself what food I like BETTER than steak, I can't think of anything. Steak is wonderful. Steak is substantial and meaty and satisfying like practically nothing else. Steak is what condemned men choose as a last meal and what happy people choose when they want to celebrate.

I'm talking about beef steak here, of course. I don't mean ham steak or halibut steak or a portobello mushroom cap marinated and grilled like a steak. Those things are good, but they're NOT steak.

I'll never forget my first steak back on American soil after a year living in Great Britain. I loved living in Wales, but the couple of times I was served steak there, it just wasn't right: a thin, overcooked, curling-at-the-edges slab of fiber and gristle. I liked a lot of British food, but definitely not the steak.

And then, I was back home, and it was Independence Day, and my dad grilled steaks for the holiday. I usually am a painfully slow eater, but I finished that steak in about five minutes, grunting like a pig at the trough the whole time. Then I ate my brother's steak.

All of this may explain why, when my husband and I found ourselves unexpectedly alone for dinner the other night, we went out for steak. It was late evening when we finished various church and work obligations, and the really ritzy places (and the medium-ritzy places) were all closing.

So we headed just down the road to Lone Star Steakhouse, one of the common, but decent, chain steak houses in my neighborhood. These kinds of places have their little specialties and rituals, and at Lone Star it's a little loaf of sweetish brown bread brought to the table as you begin your meal.

We also started with the horribly indulgent and simply constructed steak fries with cheese, wide planks of fried potato smothered in melted cheeses and topped with bacon bits. The bacon was weirdly tasteless and hard in some spots, but salty and rich in others.

There's other stuff on the Lone Star menu, salads and sandwiches and burgers and fish and chops. We were there for steak, though. My husband, who has been teased unmercifully by me for years for his preference for "girl steak" (filet mignon), surprised me by ordering the New York strip, a substantial and flavorful cut that he enjoyed. With it he had a simple but fresh and tasty Caesar salad and a mound of mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy.

One thing I really like about Lone Star is the attention paid to ribeye, my favorite kind of steak. Customers can get them Cajun style, coated in cracked peppercorn and brandy cream sauce or plain, both the regular ribeye and the "heavily marbled" Delmonico cut.

I had my 14-ounce ribeye straight up, medium rare and full of juices, with a nice sear all over and a salt-coated baked potato and fresh, buttery steamed green beans on the side. Now, I ask you, does anything sound better than that?

To finish up, we shared a slice of triple chocolate "miracle" cake, your typical but tasty rich chocolate layer cake, with proceeds benefiting the Children's Miracle Network. Sweet!

Appetizers $5.99-$9.99, soup and salad $2.99-$11.99, burgers and sandwiches $7.99-$11.99, steak $10.99-$23.99, steak combos $14.99-$18.99, other entr?s $12.99-$18.99, desserts $4.99-$5.99.

Stacey Kratz is a freelance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret News.

email: skratz@desnews.com

Lone Star Steakhouse

Rating: ★★★

Where: 7176 S. 900 East, Midvale

Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-11p.m. Phone: 801-568-2600

Payment: Major credit cards accepted

Wheelchair access: Easy

Web: www.lonestarsteakhouse.com

Also: Lunch combos and menu available