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Dining out: Madeline's Steakhouse & Grill

Published: Friday, Nov. 10 2006 12:00 a.m. MST

SOUTH JORDAN — I hope three times is the charm for the handsome building that houses the new Madeline's steakhouse.

This cavernous space first was home to a spin-off of Perry's famous Maddox Ranch House, then to a Mexican restaurant that I reviewed and liked. I do remember thinking, though, that the architecturally rustic surroundings seemed a little unsuited to the type of food being served there.

That's not a problem anymore. Madeline's is a steakhouse, and one good enough that it should become a local favorite.

We visited Madeline's for a weekend meal, sitting in a comfortable dining room painted in sage green and buttery cream, with touches of wood and wrought iron and framed western prints on the walls.

We started with the stuffed mushroom caps and "grandma's" chili-cheese dip. The former was an elegant blend of spicy ground Italian sausage and cream cheese, stuffed into a mushroom cap, and baked to intensify and blend the flavors.

The dip, a savory and tomatoey chili full of onions, chili meat and veggies, and smothered with cheese and green onions, came in a bread bowl surrounded by thin, crispy corn chips. It was intense and comforting, a crowd-pleaser.

The girls ordered from a kids menu of such favorites as corn dogs, spaghetti and PB&J, but also baby-back ribs and a junior-size sirloin steak for more sophisticated appetites.

Our kids covered the spectrum, enjoying standard (but hot and fresh) mac and cheese; meaty, plump mini-cheeseburgers on soft dinner roll-sized buns; and the tender sirloin, which was juicy even when cooked medium-well.

My husband had the tri-tip steak-and-cheese on a hoagie, topped with provolone cheese, caramelized onions, mushrooms and green peppers, with strong, beefy au jus on the side. The tender and full-flavored tri-tip made a lovely upgrade to the mall-type Philly cheese steak, and the toppings were fresh and flavorful. With his sandwich, he had steamy homemade chicken noodle soup.

I had a T-bone steak for the first time in, oh, I don't know how long. My medium-rare steak (all the meat we tried at Madeline's was cooked spot-on) had a flavorful, crusty sear and was tender and juicy, though in spots just a bit chewier than I expected. I shared it around the table — 16 ounces is too much for me, especially considering the creamy, earthy garlic red-skin mashed potatoes and crisp-tender mixed veggies I had to go with it.

For dessert, the kids had the soft-serve ice-cream cones that came with their kids meals, while I enjoyed the creme brulee, a creamy and satisfying example of this classic dish, served in an oval ramekin with plenty of burnt, crackly sugar on top.

My husband, however, had the showstopper, the cookie monster. We assumed this dish — two chocolate-chip cookies in a puddle of thick, warm hot fudge with golden vanilla ice cream sandwiched between them — got its name from its gargantuan, you-must-share-it size.

But no — it arrived with the top cookie propped on the ice cream like a big open mouth, with Muppet eyeball-size squirts of whipped cream on its top rim, each sporting a single, precisely placed chocolate chip. Darned if it didn't look just like Cookie Monster from "Sesame Street," and darned if that isn't just the kind of personality that makes me hope Madeline's stays open a long time.

Appetizers $5.99-$7.49, soup and salad $3.49-$12.99, steak $14.99-$25.99, chicken and ribs $13.99-$24.99, specialties $13.99-$19.99, sandwiches $6.49-$8.49, kids' meals $2.99-$7.99, desserts $3.99-$5.99.


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


E-mail: skratz@desnews.com