Photo & story by William Hughes
NORTH EAST – For those who love a good steak, there is not one any better at preparing a prime cut side of beef like Steak&Main. The much heralded eatery lives up to its fine dining image and is serious about impressing its patrons with atmosphere as well as the plate of food that leaves the kitchen to your table. Whether you are a tourist or local, you will walk out knowing you just visited a real, upscale restaurant.
Steak&Main has created an event called the Great Steak Challenge and on occasion, brave and hungry guests take their chances for their name on the wall and a cash reward. If someone comes in unprepared, it will cost them $140.00. In September of 2009, the Travel Channel and Man Vs. Food host, Adam Richman, visited Cecil County as Adam sat down for the quest.
Last Sunday, Aston, Pennsylvania resident, John McDowell, a regular customer for Sunday brunch, made reservations and an empty stomach for the Great Steak Challenge, bragging rights and some fast cash. The time limit is one hour and John paced himself. “I saw it on the wall and we’re saving for a trip, so when I saw that it was $100., I thought I’d give it a shot to get $100 and put that towards the trip for next year. Hopefully we’re going to head to Hawaii. That’s the plan.”
From Chef Christopher Yates grill to John’s table. “It’s five and a half pounds total,” John said. “It’s 26 ounce Delmonico’s, eight ounce filet mignon, 12 ounce New York strip, 12 ounce veal chop, 16 ounce flat iron, mashed potatoes and (fresh sautee blend) vegetables. I had about three sips of water. I figure I didn’t want to load up with a bunch of liquid weight and down the hatch it went.”
When was his last meal before the challenge. “Last night like 6 o’clock. I knew that much not to come in on a full stomach. I’m feeling it right now, there’s a knot in my stomach. It wasn’t like leather, for food challenge wise. It was delicious to eat it which is the best part about it. That in a nutshell is why I’m here.”
Not his first rodeo. “I did a mushroom eating contest last September in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania and I did a pizza eating contest, so they’re the only two I’ve done.”
John’s favorite meals. .”Either pizza or french fries, something like that. Now healthy wise I love anything chicken. Chicken, chicken, chicken.”
Owner Anthony Covatta was on hand to keep tabs on John’s progress. “Yes, referee, time keeper. I go over the rules, temperatures, sides and inform what each steak is when it comes out. Friends and customers have seen this all over the world. Competitive and average consumers have come from all over the world to attempt it.”
Will he be back for seconds? “If there was a chance to make money at it, I’d definitely try it again. There’s no doubt about it. I think it’s one and done. Once you win, you’re done with this challenge. I might be in the Wing Bowl down the road.”
Reservations for the Great Steak Challenge must be made ahead of time. There are no walk ins for the event. Steak&Main is located at 107 South Main Street in North East and you can also call 410-287-3512 for more information.
Note: Man Vs. Food which last aired in 2012 with original host Adam Richman, will return to the Travel Channel and a new 10 episode season this coming Tuesday, August 7th at 8pm with host Casey Webb, according the Trevel Channel’s web site.