Expect the unexpected

Expect the unexpected

Patriot Steakhouse in Lebanon

By Brian P. Sharp
Photo: The pork trio at Patriot Steakhouse in Lebanon featuring babyback ribs, pork chop and pork tenderloin

Don’t be fooled by your initial thoughts of a restaurant that sits in shopping center right next to a Goodwill store and in front of WalMart. I was certainly skeptical, but I decided to stop. Situated at a small strip center just outside of Lebanon, Ohio is The Patriot Steakhouse. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not like Lebanon is that far away, it’s only about 35 minutes from downtown Dayton. However, I did not walk in expecting anything exceptional.

I was greeted by a cheerful hostess who took us to our table. As we walked through the restaurant we walked by a man playing appropriate dinner music live on a keyboard. Hmmmm … maybe this isn’t going to be what I imagined. There is a large full-service bar at the front of the restaurant. Flags representing all of the branches of the military hang on the walls – is that what should denote the “patriot” in the name?

Our server, Yuliya, came to the table. She was informed and able to answer most any question we threw her way. We asked for time to look over the four-page menu, which offers everything from appetizers to desserts. I noticed that the bar seems known for beer, scotch and even bourbon flights that are reasonably priced. Certainly, a flight is a nice way to try out new options.

I paged to the back of the menu and noticed what really makes this a “patriot” steakhouse. If you have a relative in the military and they are being deployed, bring your family to The Patriot and they will buy dinner for the service member so your family can have a night together before deployment. That’s not all. Maybe your service member is coming home – have your homecoming dinner at The Patriot and that service member eats free again! What a great way to give back and recognize our men and women in uniform.

Well, we needed to start, so appetizers it was. We ordered a number of things to try: the baby brie wheel, the seafood nachos and potato skins. Appetizers range in price from $3.99 to $10.99 – certainly nothing is going to break the bank. The brie arrived topped with pecans and caramel served with house made chips – delicious. The seafood nachos were more like a seafood quesadilla but filled with seafood and topped with cheese that fills the plate. The potato skins are offered in servings of two or four. Topped with cheese and bacon bits and served with a side of sour cream. I have to say the best options were the brie and the seafood nachos – certainly a step above the normal potato skin option.

On to salads and soups … The basics are certainly represented with a tossed salad, a Caesar and even a wedge. However, there are other options like a classic Cobb salad and even a Martha’s Washington apple salad that can be topped with chicken, scallops, shrimp or even salmon. Salad options range in price from $2.99 to $14.99, for the salmon topped apple salad. Soup options are plentiful as well with menu options of “the best” clam chowder, French onion, vegetable beef or even steakhouse chili. Add to those options lobster bisque and mushroom soup. We sampled the lettuce wedge, the house tossed salad, mushroom soup and the lobster bisque. The lettuce wedge – crisp iceberg lettuce topped with chunky blue cheese dressing bacon, onion and tomato – is simply always a great salad option. The house tossed salad is served with croutons, onion, tomato and cucumber. There are housemade dressings available like maple vinaigrette, as well as some basics. The soups were delicious. The lobster bisque was so full of lobster it was more like a stew. The bisque was perfectly flavored and the bowl is enough for two.

Certainly, you could make a dinner of just appetizers, salads and soup at the Patriot, but that is not why we were here. This is a steakhouse and I wanted to try their steaks.

The menu offers chicken, pork, seafood and pasta options, but the steak list is certainly complete, offering filet, porterhouse, ribeye and strip options. The menu offers surf and turf options, as well as toppings for your steaks. An interesting note is that steaks are offered at market price with two options – USDA Choice or Certified Angus Beef. All prices are published on a card at the table, so no surprises. There are even trio options, offering you smaller sizes of three options in a shrimp trio, scallop trio, pork trio or even a barbecue trio.

We tried the pork trio, as well as a filet served Oscar. The pork trio – ribs, pork chop and pork tenderloin – comes with your choice of two sides. The babyback ribs are tender and delicious and the pork chop seared and full of flavor. The pork tenderloin, however, was a bit over-seasoned and dry. The filet – topped with crabmeat, béarnaise and asparagus – was prepared a perfect medium and served with two sides: the asparagus – still a bit crisp – and the crab –flavorful. The filet was certified Angus – delicious and certainly well worth the $38, plus $5 for Oscar. The pork trio was $20.

For dessert, we sampled the brownie sundae – a rich brownie topped with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. This needs to be shared! The menu even offers light plates, sandwiches and young patriot options, so bring the family. The Patriot Steakhouse is worth the drive to Lebanon!

The Patriot Steakhouse is located at 1525 Genntown Dr. in Lebanon, Ohio. For more information, call 513.228.2500 or visit patriotsteakhouse.com. 

Reach DCP food critic Brian P. Sharp at bria@DaytonCityPaper.com

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