Side Porch Steak House: It's What's For Dinner
Bartlett's Side Porch Steak House: It's What's For Dinner
I know where you're going for dinner this weekend, and it's the Side Porch Steak House in Bartlett. A few weeks ago, I needed a change from fancy tapas and cocktails made of unicorn tears (as much as I adore both of those things, variety is the spice of life, etc.) My friends Kendyl and Gardner recommended Side Porch Steak House in Bartlett. When I say "recommended", what I really mean is that they insisted we go right away. We did, and I'm so, so glad.
The Side Porch has been around for more than thirty years, and judging by the crowd on a Friday night, it's a local favorite. We had a group of six, so we had to wait for about fifteen minutes. During our wait, we had a few drinks from the adorable bar and got the chance to meet the owner, Tim Teel, who charmed us immediately with his impression of Steve Martin. I hadn't made a reservation or told anyone there that someone from I Love Memphis was coming, and I point that out because I liked that Tim seemed to make it his business to move about the place talking to customers.
He started telling us about the croutons and steaks and was so enthusiastic and passionate like it was the restaurant's opening day. I liked that. After we sat down, the server brought us out our non-booze drinks (in giant mason jars so big I could barely pick it up with one hand) and baskets of "croutons." Now, let me tell you about these "croutons". The Side Porch kitchen takes their homemade rolls, cuts them into pieces, and toasts them up into big, buttery, mouth-watering hunks of garlicky goodness. There's a bit of seasoning to it, but the best part is the texture, a nice crust on the outside, soft but toasty on the inside. I could have eaten a whole basket. I know it's lazy to say "they are so, so good, you have to try them", but really, they are that good. We had fried pickles and fried mushrooms as appetizers, which were good but self-explanatory. The salads, also, were good but standard - iceberg, a bit of red cabbage, a sprinkle of shredded cheese and a cherry tomato (I call them "Mississippi salads" because I am silly). But you don't go to Side Porch for the salads. We all ordered steaks - the filets are wrapped in bacon, FYI - and they were all cooked perfectly to temperature. The secret sauce, which puddled in the plate before I sopped it up with a Magnificent Crouton, was rich and tasty, and the meat was as tender as you could ask for. It was as almost, almost as good as any steak you'd pay twice as much for. My 8 ounce Filet Mignon was $16.95, and that included the side and the salad. For sides, you can get a baked potato, fries, fried okra, broccoli or steamed veggies, plus sweet potatoes Fridays and Saturdays. I was already on carb overland due to bread and fried appetizers, so I went with the steamed broccoli. A couple of folks at my table added shrimp to their steak order - there's also a seafood part to the menu with tilapia, salmon, and shrimp. More pictures here.
The place is a well-oiled machine but you don't feel like cog; the servers are swift but friendly. It felt like they were glad that we were there, which is notable. The decor is literally like a mom or grandma's house, but I found that refreshing and fun. In all honesty, I loved this place because it was unpretentious, fun to be there, and the food was delicious. I will go there again soon, as soon as I'm craving a steak or a break from the fancy. The Side Porch is family and kid-friendly (there are chicken tenders if all else fails), but vegetarians will need to be okay with the fried veggies or small salads. Side Porch is open for dinner Tuesdays through Thursdays from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. They are closed on Sundays and Monday, but are available for private parties on those days. Prices are subject to change. Go there: Side Porch Steak House 5689 Stage Road Bartlett, Tennessee 38134 (901) 377 2484 sideporchsteakhouse.com