My brother’s 30th birthday celebration occurred this past weekend and I wanted to take him to a mid-level steakhouse for dinner. Due to the fact that it was also Mother’s Day weekend, I couldn’t find any local steakhouses that could accommodate a large party (about 10 people) on a Saturday night. The only place that even took reservations for that matter was Ted’s, so even though I’d never been there before, we figured we’d give it a try. I was especially intrigued by the idea that they boast the largest Bison menu in the world. It wasn’t until later that I learned another fun fact that media mogul Ted Turner is the Ted in Ted’s Montana (which apparently started in Columbus, Ohio and not Montana). I don’t usually review chain restaurants, but in this case there are only two Ted’s Montana Grills in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, so it’s new to me!
Ted’s Montana Grill
2 Chapel View Blvd
Service and Atmosphere
The exterior and interior of Ted’s looks like a Bugaboo Creek Steakhouse, but with less animal taxidermy and a better quality of wood finish on the walls. Otherwise, it was hard to tell the difference just by appearance alone. The service was friendly and helpful. They entertained all of our silly questions regarding the differences between bison and beef. They also gave us recommendations that seemed sincere although, they never once recommended that we order the beef, so that seemed strange. The servers were also very accommodating regarding separate checks allocated among members of the larger party. The only hiccup during the night was a mixed up drink order where they brought me a dirty martini instead of a regular vodka martini (and yes, I had a martini at a steakhouse). It was quickly resolved though, so I don’t really have any complaints.
At the start of dinner, instead of bread, the servers brought over homemade potato chips accompanied by a ranch dip as well as small plates of thick sliced pickles. The chips were very good and had that extra crispy yet hearty feel that homemade chips often do.
The pickles were also pretty good due to a crisp crunch and a fresh cucumber taste, but they were a bit on the sour side. My brother and I love pickles though, so when the servers were clearing away the chips, we held on to a small plate of pickles for later snacking.
My brother ordered a bison rib eye steak and I got a burger. Out of curiosity, I tasted a small piece of my brother’s birthday steak and was immediately horrified. I already knew that in many cases Bison is leaner than beef, but this was unlike any rib eye I’ve ever had. It was firm, not tender, tasted a bit like iron or minerals as if maybe it had been sitting in its blood for too long, and very thin. This is up there as one of the worst steaks I’ve tasted at a restaurant. I could easily make one better at home. I felt really bad for my brother, but he had a good attitude about the night in general and ate it happily.
The bison burger I had on the other hand was fantastic. Obviously, Ted’s Montana knows how to make a burger even if they can’t seem to figure out steak. The meat was tender, flavorful, and juicy. The toppings (bacon, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, grilled onion) also tasted very fresh and complemented my burger nicely. If there was one complaint it would be that the burger was a little too thick, so it was harder to hold in the thinner bun. Otherwise, the flavor was all there. The side of coleslaw I had (it usually comes with fries or some other potato) was refreshing and not over-dressed, but the cut of the cabbage was chunky rather than fine or julienne, so that was different.
Ted’s is a standard and easy place to just come and grab a substantive bite. Skip the steaks altogether and just go for a delicious burger. I would come here again, but it wouldn’t be at the top of my list for mid-level steakhouses.
One stupid man tossed by one badass bison.