I have no problem spending good money on a great meal and St. Elmo has been on my Indy wishlist for a long time. To be honest, though, we don't exactly have a "St. Elmo" budget... For this reason, we decided to check out St. Elmo's during the Devour Indy WinterFest, a celebration/promotion of some of the better, independent restaurants in town. There are generally limited menus and smaller portions, but you get a three course meal for a lesser price. That doesn't necessarily mean it's cheap, just not as expensive as it usually is...
We dined with some friends on a Saturday night. It was the first trip to St. Elmo's for all four of us. We had a great time and the food was delicious. I'll get into some details later on, but overall, it was a good experience.
If you are at all budget conscious, but still want a three course experience, Devour Indy is definitely the way to go. My wife and I both had the filet mignon with redskin mashed potatoes and sautéed green beans. We both opted for the shrimp cocktail as a starter, but since Anne doesn't eat shrimp cocktail, I ate both orders (there's no shame in my game). We also got a dessert in the deal, so we decided to order the chocolate layer cake and the creme brûlée and split them both.
Our meal, with taxes, tip, valet parking, and a tip for the valet driver, was $125. Like I said, not cheap, but cheaper than a full price, three course meal, which would have topped $200. Definitely a "special occasion" destination for us...
If budget is not a concern, however, I say dress up and go all out! Make it a three course meal with the shrimp cocktail, the 8oz filet, and chocolate layer cake, savor every minute, and leave a big tip!
The Atmosphere: Casually Refined
The atmosphere at St. Elmo's is about what you would expect from a classy, old school steak house from the early 20th century. It's refined, but not pretentious. You can dress up and go out, but I'm sure you could feel just as much at home in jeans and a t-shirt. I wouldn't know. My wife made me wear a collared shirt...
Fire & Fury: The Notorious Shrimp Cocktail
I have had several friends recommend the shrimp cocktail. In fact, that's usually the first thing they mention. There are always those who don't like shrimp (or meat at all, God forbid). I don't trust those people, though... at least not when it comes to food.
It's funny how these friends give their recommendation: always with a knowing smirk, like there's some sort of inside joke and you're not in on it. It's not like your friend telling you that a ghost pepper is anything else... It's a genuine recommendation, a glowing one at that, they're just not giving you the whole story...
I was really impressed with the shrimp cocktail. Best I've ever had, hands down.
The waitress said that the sauce would clean out your sinuses, but that didn't really do it justice. It was pretty brutal and I like spicy stuff. She said they make their own cocktail sauce with fresh horseradish, which gives it that extra kick.
You can't miss this. Just take it easy on the sauce...
The Main Attraction
The main course was delicious and I was pleased with mine. The green beans and potatoes were above average, although Anne's potatoes were lukewarm by the time they reached the table. Not a home run, but a solid base hit.
The filet mignon was another story. It was excellent! Like a tender little meat baby wrapped in flavor...
Let's be honest, that came out a little weird... I stand by it, though... It was tender and delicious!
My filet was lovingly cooked to a medium rare perfection. The flavor was full, but not overwhelming. It was a near-perfect mix of meat, seasoning, and the heat. I won't tell you how my wife ordered her steak, but suffice it to say she ruined it. At least she doesn't put ketchup on it (here's looking at you, President Trump)... If the shrimp cocktail and sides were base hits, then the filet brought them in for a grand slam, even if it was only 6 ounces.
I won't spend much time on the creme brûlée. I really felt it was average. It wasn't good, but it wasn't bad. I know "meh" isn't something anyone wants to hear, but that's about the best way to describe it. I would honestly go back to the drawing board on the creme brûlée... It was weak.
The chocolate layer cake, on the other hand... The chocolate layer cake was pure heaven. It was dark enough that it was interesting, but sweet enough that my wife still liked it. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who has ever remotely liked anything chocolate.
Not exactly our speed. We would probably opt for a more casual, hipster gastro-pub, but it's definitely worth a visit. Everything was good, several things were great.
4.2 out of 5 stars.