Saturday, September 24, 2016

Lewis Ethan's Syrah BYOB at Jack's Steak House Bloomington, Illinois

Lewis Ethan's Syrah BYOB at Jack's Steak House Bloomington, Illinois

Traveling this week through Bloomington, Illinois, we dined at Jim's Steak House and took BYOB the latest vintage release of Lewis Ethan's Syrah, one of our favorite labels from one of our favorite producers. Named for the grandson of Indy racecar driver Randy Lewis, we collect this, their line of Cabernets, and their oldest grandson namesake Alec's Blend, also the name of our youngest son. With the Laverne and Shirley-esque 'L' moniker on the label, this has become somewhat of a signature wine for our family with our family lineup of Linda, Erin Leigh, Lucy (grand-daughter) and namesake Lucy (grand-mother), and the Long family heritage.

Jim's Steak House is a welcome discovery in Bloomington, a regular destination for my business travels where I've been stymied in finding a nice fine dining establish in the tertiary city, until now.

Jim's is a classic midwestern steak house with a focused menu featuring dry aged beef and a selection of seafood entrees. A bit dated and showing its age, it has a somewhat awkward interior layout, but the food was good and the service hospitable, friendly and professional. Its ideal for a business dinner, upscale casual dining or a special occasion dinner outing - 'big city' dining experience in the heartland.  There are also Jim's locations in Peoria which I will look forward to visiting.

My New York strip was perfectly prepared in my favored 'Pittsbugh' style, and the dinner salad, potato and side of creamed spinach were appropriately prepared, presented, and were satisfying. Linda's black and blue steak salad was a bit disappointing with less the crisp fresh lettuce and a lesser mediocre cut of skirt or round steak.

A limited basic winelist offers a selection of generally available American wines from the range of core varietals at standard prices. Their hospitable corkage policy allowed us to pick up this feature label and try the latest release of a favorite label. The Lewis Syrah was a perfect accompaniment to our steak dinner.

Lewis Cellars Ethan's Napa Valley Syrah 2013

Dark inky garnet colored, full bodied, rich concentrated core of black and blue fruits give way to a layer of vanilla, spice, and a hint of what Lewis calls 'bacon fat', and a bit of alcohol heat that softens over the course of the evening, finishing with tongue coating tannins. Lacked graceful staying power as it was a bit flabby the next day, but delicious initially after given time to settle.

RM 92 points.