This past weekend I was lucky enough to get off early on Saturday and have Sunday and Monday off, allowing me to drive home for Easter Weekend. I got into Columbia Saturday evening and met Ben to try out a new Restaurant in Chapin called Steak Masters. Steak Masters is a little bit of a drive coming from downtown Columbia and what I, being a ‘city girl,’ like to think of out in the country. While driving out there, Ben had to stop and fill up his truck with gas. Upon opening his door at the gas station, he tells me to hurry and open my door up as well and smell the air. Um…gas? No he says, FRIED CHICKEN! He then proceeds to explain that everyone except for sheltered people know that the best fried chicken comes from gas stations. This creates a fight. He then drags me into the gas station, keep in mind before dinner!, and shoves a fried chicken leg down my throat. Okay, I take that back, it was self-induced and I did not share…gas station fried chicken is pretty good…
Back to the story, once arriving at Steak Masters, I learned it was previously a local seafood joint called Finz. Back in the 60s, fisherman would bring in their catches for the day and clean them up and serve them fresh right there at the restaurant. The fisherman would then retreat to their rainbow shacks behind the restaurant where they lived. Charleston folks, let’s just say Rainbow Row of the country. The restaurant was a locals spot and the only restaurant for miles. However, slowly over time, the restaurant started to lose its heat and the food began losing fuel. Bad reviews started to surface and Finz was going under. AND THEN, local restaurateur Robbie Robertson bought Finz with new management, a new menu, a newly remodeled interior, and a new name, Steak Masters.
Upon walking in the side entrance of the restaurant you enter the small cozy bar and Robbie himself is there to greet you. Actually, in reality, he is there to hug you and welcome you back. This place kept the local vibe and it’s apparent the moment you open the door. Ben and I propped ourselves right up at the bar and were greeted next by another familiar face, Ben’s Momma!
Wanda went over the menu with us and the popular menu items: ribs, steak, and baby catfish. We decided on the ribs and steak and would obviously be sharing both. Before our entrees came out, Wanda sent us out two appetizers. The first was fried zucchini sticks. This is something I will definitely be copying and bringing back to my kitchen. The zucchini was lightly fried in panko bread crumbs and then sprinkled with parmesan cheese and served with a spicy ranch dressing.
The second appetizer was the famous sausage biscuits with strawberry preserves. These take you right back to sitting on your grandma’s porch in a rocking chair sipping sweet tea in one hand and a homemade biscuit in the other. My grandma was from New York so I never actually did that, but this is what I imagine it would feel like. At one point, Ben even said, does all jelly taste like this!?
Next we were served a side salad to cleanse our hungry palates if you will for the main course. Our entrees arrived and my steak was HUGE! Forget all that city nonsense of paying 3x as much for 3x less the food, come out to the country for some real portions! The steak was tender, flavorful, and cooked a medium rare with a little more on the rare side. It was served with au jus sauce and steamed vegetables. The chef left some of the tender fat in the middle for flavor, but I gave that part to Ben…not that adventurous yet. Ben’s ribs also came in a healthy portion and he devoured all of them.
After dinner, homemade dessert of a chocolate brownie and a cheese cake were brought our way. Both were covered with perfection in whip cream, harden chocolate, and a cherry on top!
The food at Steak Masters was great, but I have to say the experience is what really captured me. One of the reasons I love the restaurant business is because it brings all different people together and closer over a meal. And hey, Robbie’s special apple cinnamon shots didn’t slow the process!
Steak Masters, I look forward to coming back, especially on a Saturday for Oysters!