For my birthday a couple weeks ago, I chose the exact same restaurant we went to last year, and ordered exactly the same things. It sounds boring, but I had waited a whole year... And you can build up quite an appetite in that amount of time!
Don Roth's Blackhawk holds the current position of my very favorite restaurant. (Other than Roscoe's Chicken-n-Waffles, in L.A. More on that later). I love the history and the ambience... and I have now been lucky enough to have two perfect meals there. And sorry, in my anticipation and purtying up for the evening, I forgot the camera. Thank goodness for that camera phone!
Your meal begins with bread crisps that are covered with drawn butter, and huge amounts of sweet roasted garlic. Enough said, there.
Next, just as last year, we got the shrimp cocktail. Again, not reinventing the wheel here, but it is just a perfect example. The shrimp are large and perfect, and the cocktail sauce is sweet and made from scratch (I think so, anyway). It is almost like a sweet-and-sour sauce.
Don Roth's is famous for their "spinning salad bowl." They actually sell the salad dressing in the grocery store, but I hadn't thought much of it when I purchased it before I went to the restaurant. I recommend using it a marinade, though... So what happens in the house is, the server comes over and does this special sort of act with the salad prep in front of you. He will whizz the bowl around over a bed of ice, and add the house dressing and toss the salad as he does so. Then he add blue cheese dressing IN ADDITION TO THE HOUSE DRESSING. Yeah. Happy birthday to me! Then he offers you the choice of "anchovies, shrimp, or both?" Chris and I had not heard the "both" portion of the deal the last time, and we exchanged a look, like, "Oh, you know we're taking both."
You would think that I would be full by this point, but if it is possible, I think I was actually hungrier than when I came in.
Next step? My prime rib. This is the small, the smallest portion that they have (!) The server asked me how I wanted it done, and of course the answer to that is, "however it comes off when the cook slices it is how I want it on the plate." That'll be approximately medium-rare.
And you GOTS to get the twice-baked potato. Now, I am very picky about my TBP's. At our wedding reception, my mother-in-law was pushing for the selection of that restaurant's twice-baked... But though the otherwise utterly fantastic food was the reason we chose Monastero's (and I mean, like your sainted mother made it herself), I knew that, weirdly, the potatoes were the kind that come frozen. (You can always tell this by those perfect little machine-placed whipped peaks on the top.) She thinks they are great, but I say she can keep 'em (we got the risotto, with peas, which was terrif). Anyway, I want my TBP mixed up on the spot with real cheese and sour cream. I mean, those are fine, but who wants to go to a restaurant for something you can buy at Jewel? Well, if you are the same way I am, Roth's will not disappoint!
Afterwards, I awaited my large red balloon and free dessert. This last visit found the restaurant quite a bit busier than the last time, I guess since it actually was St. Patrick's Day. I gave up on the candle and the song, and asked for a dessert menu. My waiter said, "Oh, I got something special coming for ya!"
I can see why he thought I would like it. Chris' instructions were, "something so chocolatey you could die from it." We got a chocolate cake with a scoop of vanilla, and hot fudge. While I thought the flourless torte we got last time was better, I thought the hot fudge was insanely good.
You can see how much we hated it.
UPDATE: Sadly, the owners of the Blackhawk have retired, and their children did not follow them into the business. Don Roth's closed in December of 2009.