Sunday, January 22, 2006

Veggie Does Gibsons

First, I’d like to apologize to Chris Botti, the “trumpeteer” (that’s the stadium announcer’s term, not mine) chosen to play the National Anthem at today’s AFC Championship Game between the Steelers and the Broncos. Remember when sports fans used to wait until “home of the brave” to start cheering the musician off the field? Now we barely get past “Oh say can you see” before the crowd has to hear itself roar. And that’s just rude.


Dave turns the Big 4-0 today. We got the celebration rolling last night at Gibsons Steakhouse. This has been Dave’s personal Yeti ever since I ate there with my father 10 years ago and reported back on the ginormous portions and equally prodigious prices—over $100 for Surf ‘n’ Turf. I should note that Dad was in town for a convention and a salesman was picking up the tab. And I did not get the lobster.

The reservation was for 9:30 and we allowed ourselves a 45 minute cushion. We wanted to make a good impression. Our ages belie the fact that we feel like poseurs whenever we do anything remotely adult. (We celebrated my birthday at Glenn’s Diner, which features cereal as an entree.) Things like coat check and valet parking confound and intimidate us, but we managed to accomplish both with minimal show of nerves.

Gibsons is the sort of place where men smoke stogies, women of a certain age show too much cleavage and you expect Frank Sinatra (or maybe just Dean Martin) to pop out and say, “Ring, a-ding, ding.” Jack Nicholson and Bill Clinton have dined here, part of the “nightly procession of the famous and powerful.”

Last night, the celeb wattage was low. Passing the Wall of Fame on my way to the Ladies Room, I locked onto a photo of Morgan Brittany, who last I checked was one of the rotating vixens on “Dallas” that tried to steal Bobby from Pam.

Which isn’t to say we were short on entertainment. There’s nothing like watching two aging single men, who think they’re players, try to hit on women, who are mortified that they’ve been deemed assailable. The advances of our Romeos, charmers with their Thumbelina-sized glasses of Port, met with withering stares and conversation killers. As the ladies exited, I imagine their backs met with a “those bitches.”

Finally seated, at nearly 10 p.m., we were shown menus and a platter of fresh samples of the various cuts of meat available to order. London Broil, Flank steak, a 24-ounce Sirloin on the bone, Filets, Porterhouse, Ribeye and something that looked like brains but turned out to be the lobster tail, all two-and-a-half pounds. I watched the Meat Guy move from table to table, warning diners that the peppercorns were very hot and that “medium” in this joint meant really red.

Did I mention that I’m a vegetarian?

This is why Dave and I seldom go out to eat. As a mixed couple—he’s a Carnivore, I’m an Herbivore—it’s difficult to find an eatery that meets both our criteria (especially mine). Just travel through Montana sometime and tell me I’m not right. Token nods like Portobello Mushroom and Eggplant sandwiches do not count. Not only do I eschew meat and seafood—and yes, chicken is meat—but also foods in the “rubber-ish” category.

But it was Dave’s big night and my boy loves his steak. He pronounced his “W.R.” signature cut “the best ever.” Yeti was no longer a myth. I gnawed on my salad and side dish of steroidal broccoli and asparagus.

I didn’t mind. I’d been here before and I knew what was coming next. In a place where the baked potatoes are the size of footballs, the desserts are hefty, too. Our “slice” of pie measured 6 inches tall by 10 inches wide. I got no beef with chocolate mousse.


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