Monday, March 31, 2014

Shula's Steak House - Center Valley, PA

This classic American steakhouse located in The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley is named after co-founder and legendary Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, Don Shula.

SHULA CUT® 8-oz. Filet Mignon - Shula's Steak House - Center Valley, PA | Taste As You Go
SHULA CUT® 8-oz. Filet Mignon - Shula's Steak House - Center Valley, PA

When was the last time that you and your significant other went out on a dinner date? I'm not talking about a last-minute meal at a restaurant because eating out sounded more appealing than cooking something at home. I mean a proper date, an outing that required thoughtful preparation, wardrobe planning, and a little bit of primping.

Since Stephen and I have been working so hard lately (and since I couldn't remember the last time we went on a date with each other!), I purposely scheduled a Date Night on our Menu Plan to give ourselves a chance to get dressed up, get out of the house, and enjoy a meal at leisure over a bottle of wine.

Football - Shula's Steak House - Center Valley, PA | Taste As You Go
Football - Shula's Steak House - Center Valley, PA

Our chosen dining destination? Shula's Steak House at The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley. After checking in with the hostess, Stephen and I were led to a cozy booth, where the story of the legendary Hall of Famer Don Shula and his chain of steakhouses was explained to us. We were also told about The SHULA CUT® of beef, only the most desired Custom Center Cuts of Premium Black Angus Beef®.

While the telling of the story about the man behind the restaurants and the explanation of their premium cuts of steak was meant to be endearing, Stephen and I thought the delivery of both felt forced. You could tell that our server was reciting a rehearsed speech that allowed for little or no deviation from the original script, which, of course, made it hard for us to actively engage or interact with her.

The wheeling out of the meat cart and explanation of the various cuts made for an interesting bit of entertainment, but it didn't influence our order decision. It was pretty much a given that we'd be ordering steak for dinner. We knew that before we got in the car to drive to the restaurant. ;-)

BBQ Shrimp - Shula's Steak House - Center Valley, PA | Taste As You Go
BBQ Shrimp - Shula's Steak House - Center Valley, PA
 
BBQ Shrimp - Shula's Steak House - Center Valley, PA | Taste As You Go
BBQ Shrimp - Shula's Steak House - Center Valley, PA

Because we wanted to save room for our steak and accompanying sides, we went easy on the appetizers, choosing to split the BBQ Shrimp ($17). Stuffed with basil and then wrapped in applewood bacon, the shrimp was absolutely covered in a rich and tangy barbecue sauce, making it a messy dish to dig into and eat. Totally okay for the married couple out on a date, but not necessarily something I'd recommend ordering on a first date. ;-)

I really loved the flavor of the barbecue sauce, but I think it overwhelmed the shrimp. With the basil trying to fight its way to the forefront and the powerful flavor of the bacon, the sauce just added another competing element rather than one that complemented the rest of the ingredients. The shrimp was completely lost in the mix, and we could have just as easily been eating chicken tenders that had been stuffed with basil and wrapped with bacon before being doused in sauce.

SHULA CUT® 8-oz. Filet Mignon - Shula's Steak House - Center Valley, PA | Taste As You Go
SHULA CUT® 8-oz. Filet Mignon - Shula's Steak House - Center Valley, PA

SHULA CUT® 22-oz. Cowboy Ribeye - Shula's Steak House - Center Valley, PA | Taste As You Go
SHULA CUT® 22-oz. Cowboy Ribeye - Shula's Steak House - Center Valley, PA

For the main show, I ordered the SHULA CUT® 8-oz. Filet Mignon ($46), while Stephen ordered the SHULA CUT® 22-oz. Cowboy Ribeye ($45). After our server delivered our steaks to the table, he asked us to cut into them to make sure they were both cooked to our specifications. I thought that was a nice touch. There have been times, at other restaurants, that I've wanted to send something back to the kitchen because it wasn't cooked the way I'd requested, but having to call over the server made it seem like more work. Our steaks were cooked perfectly, so there was no need to send anything back to the kitchen... it just refreshing to see how thoughtful they were about the steaks.

Creamed Spinach - Shula's Steak House - Center Valley, PA | Taste As You Go
Creamed Spinach - Shula's Steak House - Center Valley, PA

Potato Gratin - Shula's Steak House - Center Valley, PA | Taste As You Go
Potato Gratin - Shula's Steak House - Center Valley, PA

Potato Gratin - Shula's Steak House - Center Valley, PA | Taste As You Go
Potato Gratin - Shula's Steak House - Center Valley, PA

For our sides, we stuck to tradition -- Creamed Spinach ($9) and the Potato Gratin ($11). While I enjoyed the Creamed Spinach with its creamy sauce, shallots, garlic, and Parmesan cheese, Stephen wasn't too impressed. He favored the Potato Gratin with its thin slices of potatoes, Boursin cream, white cheddar cheese, and top crust of breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.

To me, the Potato Gratin was on the dry side and needed a touch more salt to bring all of the other flavors together. I wanted potatoes that were cheesier and reminiscent of the potatoes my mother made when I was growing up.

As we were eating our steak and sides, our server appeared at the table and started telling us about the dessert specials. The leisurely dinner I had pictured when planning our Date Night was slipping away, but it turned out that there was a reason for the early mention of dessert -- the kitchen needed a head start on all of them. So, before we even made it halfway through our meal, Stephen and I ordered dessert -- Chocolate Souffle for me and Apple Crumb Cobbler for him.

Chocolate Souffle - Shula's Steak House - Center Valley, PA | Taste As You Go
Chocolate Souffle - Shula's Steak House - Center Valley, PA

Chocolate Souffle - Shula's Steak House - Center Valley, PA | Taste As You Go
Chocolate Souffle - Shula's Steak House - Center Valley, PA

The photos I took of the Apple Crumb Cobbler didn't survive (Stephen started attacking it before I could get some decent shots... oops), but I did manage to take some photos of my dessert. By the time the Chocolate Souffle made it to the table, it had fallen, making the presentation of the dessert somewhat lackluster. Rather than being rich in flavor and light in texture, the souffle was dry and unimpressive. Thankfully, the accompanying vanilla ice cream saved it from being a complete disappointment.

There were some culinary highs and lows over the course of the meal, and we weren't bowled over by the food as we thought we'd be, but Stephen and I still managed to have a fantastic Date Night. We used the time to connect with one another and to have some deep and meaningful conversations, so I'd say we still had a successful outing.

However, with that said, I'm not sure we'd come back to Shula's. We had a very generous gift certificate that covered the majority of our meal, but, without that gift certificate, I would have been quite upset about paying so much money for food that was just okay (outside of the steaks).

Shula's Steak House
2960 Center Valley Parkway #700
Center Valley, PA 18034
(610) 841-5600 | Online Reservations | Map 

Shula's Steak House on Urbanspoon

Taste As You Go Disclaimer: I was given a Shula's Steak House gift certificate at no cost to me. This gift certificate covered the majority of our meal, not including alcohol, tax, and gratuity. I did not accept monetary compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

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