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Frankie Rowland's Steakhouse 1
Known for its steaks, Frankie Rowland's also has a fine touch with martinis and desserts.
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Frankie Rowland's Steakhouse 2
Although steak is its specialty, Frankie Rowland's also offers selections like jumbo lump crabcakes and grouper (shown above) that are equally cooked to perfection.
Frankie Rowland's Steakhouse on Jefferson Avenue, in the gritty heart of Downtown Roanoke, would make a fine setting for a scene in a Dashiell Hammett private eye story. Dark mahogany, luxuriant chairs bound in rich green leather, and just enough light to see the double-cross before it’s too late.
At the bar, a somewhat limited selection of beers – a good steak and a cold draft are a fine match, in my book – was offset by a downright notorious selection of specialty martinis. Black raspberry, the infamous pineapple martini that spawned a wave of imitation in downtown Roanoke some years back, and expertly prepared classic martinis serve as refreshing aperitifs. Beautiful, seductive and a little dangerous, each is a femme fatale in a glass.
When our table was ready (actually, a while after it was ready; we had been running late, and a gracious host staff kept it waiting), we took a moment to peruse a refreshingly simple menu: all entrees and side items are offered a la carte. The obvious showcase is the offering of steaks, though seafood and lamb options are also available. A well-traveled wine list (and a bit of help from our warm and attentive server) offered a fine accompaniment.
An appetizer of succulent roasted duck leg fairly slid off the bone, and was matched very well with a berry sauce and greens, while delicately steamed oysters on the half shell came served with Tobasco and lemon, but were much better paired with a spicy relish.
My ribeye – a magnificent 22-ounce cut of tender and well-marbled beef – was served unadorned, showcasing the impressive flavor of the meat with minimal distractions. This steak was outstanding, even to a steak enthusiast. If I have a bone to pick, it would be that I ordered medium rare, and it was served Pittsburgh-rare, charred outside and less done inside than I’d have preferred. It was delicious nevertheless, and went well with creamy potatoes au gratin under a golden crust.
My wife’s jumbo lump crabcakes were full of firm chunks of meat, and paired nicely with fresh asparagus – cooked to an al dente perfection – in hollandaise sauce.
A smooth, rich creme brulee with a decadent caramel crust and a seasonal apple cheesecake gave this dark tale a happy ending while revealing a broad range of kitchen talent to match the front-of-the-house workers’ ample skills and welcoming hospitality.
For more information, please visit our restaurant directory for: Frankie Rowland's Steakhouse.