Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gastronomy: "Virgin River" Prime Rib

Every once in awhile I need to keep reminding everyone that this blog actually started out as a blog about snowbirding between Mesquite and Salt Lake City. This year, whether it's the economy or what, Mesquite has been a "colder" place than we've experienced before.

However Charley's wife told me that the prime-rib over at the Virgin River Casino was a real good deal and we had never tried it. "You're kidding," I said "That's really real?"

You see, for years we've all seen the huge billboards all the way from SLC to Mesquite announcing "Prime Rib Dinner - only $4.99." But, when you actually get to Mesquite the "bread-crumb trail" type advertising pretty much stops. I wrote about the buffet we found at the Eureka Casino last year. Well they also have a Prime Rib dinner, except for twice the price that we saw advertised.

Over the years I have made inquiry's to no avail, so figured that the whole thing was pretty much like the proverbial Boy Scout "Snipe Hunt" which we were suckered into as kids. All indications were that some Mesquite resident in the past had fallen for some scam and had "passed it on" to his neighbors.

I was determined to know beans.”
Henry David Thoreau

Once he had run out of neighbors the next logical course of action was obviously the thousands of suckers transiting the highway every day. "Come on guys," I'm sure he said, "It'll be fun. They don't know beans… we'll at least get them to stop and wander around a bit, and we'll all have a good laugh!"

Well, we took her at her word and went to the Virgin River Casino for dinner. There actually WAS a poster in the lobby for prime rib, but no mention where to actually find it. Asking an employee, we were told: "in the cafe." Except we found that there WAS NO CAFE, so we went to the restaurant instead. However, none of the people in the fairly long line knew anything about the prime rib.

Nowhere else to go, and taking a chance, we went in only to find that there was NO PRIME RIB DINNER ON THE MENU FOR $4.99! The price listed for the prime rib was TWICE THAT AMOUNT. Now, more than a bit annoyed, we snaggled the nearest waitress who put up her hands like she'd been accosted with this before and exclaimed "Yes we have it but it's not on the menu!"

There you have it! Making use of the single-minded determination which Snowbirds have to learn to survive these days in Mesquite - WE FOUND THOSE SNIPE… AND WE ATE 'EM!

[They actually were pretty good: Only 6 ounces, no salad, $2 extra for drink and school-cafeteria quality mixed vegetables; however, it was a "full" 6 ounces, cooked very good and came with a big baked potato. In all, a good deal for $5 — no wonder they don't want you to find it!]


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