I am always apprehensive about entering a restaurant an hour to closing time. My concern is that if you attempt to dine at a restaurant moments before last call you won’t get the service and quality you expect. With the clock ticking down, the staff are tired and attempts are made to clean up early to be able to head home early. And if I am paying for a steak I want to be able to sit and enjoy it to its full capacity.

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After an appointment ran long we were under the gun to find a place still open and willing to seat us late Tuesday night. We both craved a good steak and we both agreed that “The Keg” is a decent place to get one any time of day. We called ahead and the lady at the other end confirmed that the doors would be locked at 11:30pm, but they would remain open to allow us to finish our meal. We arrived at 11pm and left an hour later. Our stay was inviting and we were not treated any differently despite the time, the dimming of the lights, and the exiting of kitchen staff.

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We sat ourselves in the lounge with the rest of the dwindling customers. We spotted the largest booth, highlighted by a single spot light, and bee lined towards it for the best seat in the house. It needed a good wipe down first. We waited and showed ourselves to its cushiony seat before it even dried. Time was of the essence at this point.

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Our server was still chipper given the time. Something we thanked her profusely for, to which she made us blush by admitting she enjoyed our patronage as pleasant customers. When I asked for her recommendation in drinks she immediately pulled out her favourite. A blackberry martini first introduced last year, that is no longer on the menu. It was a thoughtful recommendation, one that she herself loves and recommends when given the chance. Her description of it being unreal was no exaggeration. As was her, “it is everything I wanted that I didn’t know what I wanted”. It was just the right balance between being sweet with that tell tale vodka kick. Sadly with the kitchen closed and the liquor cut off we could only have the one. Until next time I guess.

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I was not shy to request for and use my hands to break into the square of complimentary bread. A loaf of crusty and chewy warm goodness. Served with a generous side of real butter. It was a good start and one that built my hunger up for the entree to come.

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When at “The Keg” it’s almost obligatory to order steak. And when ordering you are giving a plethora of cuts, seasonings, and preparations. For those who are unfamiliar, you are given a choice of how thoroughly your meat will be cooked. A guide on each menu makes this process even easier. Each cut is available in a range from well to rare. Except for their baseball sirloin which is so thick that they can only prepare it on the rarer side. However I am one of those diners who believe it is medium to rare or not even at all. I went with the menu’s suggestion and ordered their “Top sirloin”, considered their most flavourful steak. This was also the only cut with size options. I went for the largest at 12oz over the 6oz or 8oz. The steak was a leaner cut with a nice rub. It was prepared the perfect pink, with a nice char. Tender and juicy, I have no complaints. I came in and got just what I wanted.

Each steak also comes with your choice of sides. The usual suspects were available: mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, twice baked potatoes, fries, mixed vegetables, and rice. We both had the garlic mashed potatoes made with red potatoes and their skins. The garlic was definitely the feature flavour. I like the skins mixed in as they give an other wise whipped smooth bite some interesting texture, but I know it is not for everyone.

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I ordered an additional side of vegetables and was disappointed. Our server warned me that my entree would come with a few string beans, but I wanted more. I figured a side of vegetables would have more panache than a few strung beans. The latter turned out to be better than the beans present in the vegetable mix. They could have at least been served seasoned and cooked crisp. Instead what I got was a sad looking plate of limp and bland vegetables. It was not what I had expected and I was sad to have to pay extra for it. Though given the time was not about to bring it to anyone’s attention. Ar least their colouring was still bright and they still had their intended healthy taste.

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My guest ambitiously ordered her usual cut, the “Rib steak”, a hearty bone-in rib steak served with sautéed field mushrooms. It was a whopping 20oz and it delivered in look and in taste. This was a much fattier cut than mine above. The pockets of fat made the meat surrounding them even more tender. Though not many folks can get past the texture of gristle. And like my steak it too came with perfect scorch marks from a grill and a smokiness for its charring. Needless to say she packed more than half of it to go.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – No.
“The Keg” is a staple so I foresee a return in my future. Its a chain where you can get a good steak at a good price. There are no other steak house in the area, and not many restaurants nearby offering steak as good. Don’t deny your cravings.

THE KEG
4510 Still Creek Avenue, Burnaby BC, V5C0B5
604-294-4626
kegsteakhouse.com
The Keg Steakhouse + Bar on Urbanspoon