The two-week hype leading to Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis was in full swing. About the fourth time somebody mentioned having the world famous shrimp cocktail at St. Elmo’s Steak House, I said to Carol, “Eric and I ate there on our cheese road trip in the summer of 2008. We had the shrimp cocktail and it was good, but I don’t remember it being SO SPECIAL.”
That same day I got an email from Eric on that very subject:
On Eats, in honor of the Super Bowl in Indy, you should reprise our meal at St. Elmo’s, or maybe try to replicate the cocktail sauce at St. Elmo’s as one of the tapas at your SB party, and write about that?
Well, here’s the story:
St. Elmo’s Steak House Indianapolis, Indiana
I suggested we stop in Indianapolis for the night, about two hours to the southeast [of Chicago]. Maybe we could get a tour of the new stadium for the Colts that will open this fall. Besides, I’ve never been there — except passing through on US-40 on the way to an OSU v. Illinois football game in 1960. Stephanie, the Hilton desk clerk, told us we would find plenty of places to eat on Illinois Street, the street just outside. Indeed, McCormick & Schmick’s was in the hotel and we passed at least four steak houses, including Weber Grill Restaurant and the ubiquitous Ruth’s Chris and Morton’s. St. Elmo’s Steak House was about three blocks down and looked local, maybe because of the plain, old time sign. Lots of cops were on the street — something about a Black Congress rally on the weekend — so I asked a cop about St. Elmo’s. “Great,” he said. “Be sure and have the Shrimp Cocktail.”
Our waiter Billy, sporting muttonchops, was really nice and very thorough. But once he had started his spiel, there was no stopping him. That was okay with the “world famous shrimp cocktail we grind our own horseradish daily,” because we weren’t familiar with that and contemplated ordering it. But the, “Founded in 1902 as the country’s first Steak House. Although we are a steak house, for those of you who are not fans of red meat,” I said, “Billy, you can stop there, we love red meat.” But he continued, “,we have a terrific selection of seafood, flown in daily. Our vegetables are fresh, not frozen, from local Indiana farms.” Billy gave good spiel, and good service.