Massachusetts Restaurant Reviews
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Rating: 4 / 5
Chuck's Steak House is located in Auburn right in the prime shopping district, and is always packed. They are lucky to have Margaritagrill attached to the same building, so that the overflow from Chuck's can easily get some food if they don't want to wait a long time. Just what is it about Chuck's that attracts this attention? We've eaten here a number of times. This review is mainly about a recent visit, but I'll add in notes from others as well.
First, there are few real steak houses in the area. You can go to the 111 Chophouse, but they have relatively high prices and a very classy atmosphere. Many times you're simply looking for high quality steaks that you can still bring the family along to. Chuck's is exactly that kind of a place. It's a nice restaurant - but not pretentious. There are nice, deep leather booths, with shelves of old books lining the walls. There are people dressed up for a night out, but there are also people in jeans and baseball caps. There were several families present the night we went to have dinner there.
Chuck's likes to be different with their bottle-menu. That is, a large painted bottle sits on your table and the menu is printed on that bottle. It's an interesting idea, but in practice it gets annoying. You have to pass the bottle around which is more troublesome than the normal situation where each person can peruse their own menu for as long as they wish. Still, it's a "tradition" here.
We ordered the salad bar and both of us got steaks. I got the filet mignon while my boyfriend got a heftier steak. There was a minor issue when I ordered the broccoli instead of the standard potato sides. I had to pay more for the broccoli - that was fine. She asked if I'd like it better with cheese on it, and I immediately agreed. My boyfriend asked if that would be extra and she said, "well, ummmm yes." My boyfriend was annoyed that the waitress would push added-cash items on us without making mention of it, where I figured it was par for the course in a restaurant. We've had this exact same thing happen to us on other visits here, where you get surprised by extra charges on the final bill.
In any case, we asked for a bottle of old-vine Zinfandel to go with it. Luckily we clarified the winery name, because the waitress was preparing to bring us a bottle of WHITE Zinfandel which wouldn't have been what we wanted at all. I don't believe there actually are any old-vine white zinfandels out there :)
Down to the salad bar we went. For such a classy restaurant (comparatively), it was odd to find cheap, scratched plastic bowls for the salad bar. The items provided were also a toss-up - the tomatoes looked rich and red, while other items looked pretty iffy. On most visits they had Bac-os, and sometimes they have no bacon at all. We've been told by a waitress that you can ask for real bacon if you want it. In any case, by picking and choosing we made up a nice pair of salads and returned to our plates. We also picked up some bread which was fresh and quite delicious.
The Wine Guy showed up with our bottle. First he claimed it was a blend of red grapes, which we definitely knew to be untrue. A few more inaccuracies followed. We smiled and nodded. It's one thing to not know about the wine - that's fine. You don't expect a wine pourer to have memorized every fact about every wine. It's another to just make up stories about the wine you pour to pass the time. In any case, we'd chosen well and the wine went very well with the steaks, which arrived shortly.
Here is of course the reason you come to Chuck's - the steak quality is very good. You're paying relatively high prices for them, but you are getting what you pay for. You get very good cuts of meat, cooked just right. Neither of us could finish our dish, and we were thrilled to have take-home to eat the next day. We've had that happen most times, and have never gotten a bad cut.
For dessert, they bring around a dessert tray with slices of several similar-looking pie/cake items. I have to say that the plate looked VERY tired, and our server was quick to promise that the actual food we got would look much fresher than this. We weren't even there late in the evening, either. Still, I got a Heath toffee cake slice and it was relatively tasty.
Well recommended as a nice evening out with great steaks, where you don't necessarily have to dress to the nines.
Menu: Relatively few (it has to fit on the bottle after all), mostly steak
Wine List: Good selection
Dress: Anything from dressed up to jeans, tshirts and baseball caps
Staff: Friendly but not necessarily well informed
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