Monday, December 29, 2008

A brief visit to 1970

We've been having trouble getting enough calories and especially protein into the kiddo lately, and he's been losing weight. He's not a picky eater, but he's on medication that has pretty much wiped out his appetite. He's been off it for a couple of days, so we've been taking the opportunity to pack him full of anything and everything we can convince him to eat. (And yes, all the while thinking, "Way to lay the groundwork for poor eating habits.")

We decided to eat out tonight, and Carl decided we needed to go for steak. Kiddo will always eat steak. But where to get one? Usually we throw down a big ol' YB T-bone (kiddo's preference) or ribeye and grill it ourselves. Sometimes we go to Town & Country, and the kiddo likes that, but last time we went a roach staggered across our table as we got up to leave. Granted it was half-dead, and that likely meant they were treating the problem, but we're still giving them time to get it sorted out. Lots of time.

So Carl Googled: "Wichita steak." Plenty of chains, a couple of locals that are only kinda-sorta actually steak places… and Doc's.

It will perhaps amuse locals to learn that while I've lived in Wichita since 1982, and Carl nearly as long, neither of us had ever been to Doc's Steak House. Sure, every time we drive that stretch of north Broadway (admittedly, not that often; usually we only go as far as Saigon, or perhaps La Chinita) we say, "We really ought to try Doc's some time." It's an institution, after all.

So we finally did. Now, Doc's is such an institution that they haven't updated their decor since the last remodel… in 1970. I didn't take my camera, because I assumed there'd be pictures on the Internet, but clearly the Doc's regulars are not the Flickr sort. If you follow that link to their webpage, though, the datedness of the site is as nothing to the datedness of the restaurant. It has passed beyond "outdated" and is well into "retro." Character, yo.

The objective was certainly achieved: I split the Small T-bone Dinner with the kiddo, and while he only ate some of the legendary garlic salad (not, to our surprise, garlic slaw—same texture, but it's made with lettuce), he more than made up for it with the steak. It was a big, thin-cut steak, grilled as close to medium-rare as one can get on a steak that thin. It was no YB t-bone (which is usually more of a porterhouse), with probably the USDA-minimum tenderloin, but it was still good. At least, what I got to eat. The kiddo scarfed down most of my steak and a good chunk of Carl's KC strip, along with half the garlic toast, plenty of fries (Carl's plate arrived with an unsolicited double helping of fries, half for the kiddo), a couple of packages of crackers, and I think more than half the cherry-topped cheesecake Carl ordered for dessert.

When Carl paid the bill, he was advised we should have gotten either the Large T-Bone (a "better cut of steak"), or the Canadian T-Bone—which, the specials board warns, is not actually Canadian beef, but is "Montreal style" with garlic and such. (Yes, garlic is a recurring theme there.) Possibly our waitress would have recommended that, but she was surprised to learn that we hadn't ever been there before—she was on a first-name basis with at least two other booths, so I guess they don't get many first-timers. She was also surprised to learn the place had a web site, and amused by the domain name (I said garlic was a recurring theme).

Since Doc's regulars probably also aren't big into blogging, I guess I'll have to be the one to do things like this, so we get some representation that isn't just the big chains:
Doc's Steak House on Urbanspoon

We really should visit more of the "landmark" Wichita restaurants—though we've been to plenty, and pretty much every one I've just mentioned is one too…oh, in the north Broadway listing I left out Connie's Mexico Cafe, which we haven't been to in a coon's age. So there are some we need to revisit.

Oh, and one more thing: "Doc's Steak House and Bait Shop." Yep. Still works.


rebmoti said...

I haven't been to Doc's, but a while ago I read a book by Jane and Michael Stern, the traveling food critics for Gourmet magazine, and the one and only place they recommended in Wichita was Doc's Steak House.

Emily said...

Oh Karen, I absolutely love Doc's! I lived here ten years before I ever even heard of it, and I'm so glad I finally did. Their filet is also quite good, and the "Canadian" strip is as well. Those $10.99 steaks (I think) have made me loathe to order $18-26 steaks at most other restaurants.

captin-jack said...

Karen, I think our families may have way more in common than we even realize! Some of the waitresses at Doc's know us by name, and we had to quit going for a while because they spoiled Coco! I always say it is the best cheap steak in town. And yes, always go with the Canadian Strip special for Carl and the Large T-Bone. You can't go wrong, but we've discovered that the garlic salad is really a mood thing!