|Doe's Eat Place in the Maestri Home on Government Street|
Get Your Steak On at Doe’s Eat Place
by Jay D. Ducote
As much as we love seafood in Louisiana, sometimes nothing beats sinking your teeth into a huge slab of beef. Instead of going into the treacheries of the oil spill and the lasting effects it is sure to have on our seafood industry, I’d like to take this opportunity to focus on our favorite bovine feast: steak! Baton Rouge has a casual, yet fantastic place to do just that. Doe’s Eat Place on Government Street does not try to be anything they are not. They don’t pretend to be fancy or high class. They’ll never turn up their nose at a customer or ask if they’d like sparkling or still water. They’ll just serve great cuts of beef, cooked properly and seasoned wonderfully.
Dominic “Doe” and Mamie Signa opened the original Doe’s in Greenville, Mississippi in 1941. The two were Italian immigrants who settled in Greenville. Delta style tamales were the original staple and then steaks followed as a back door trade. The first franchise (although it was more of a simple licensing agreement at the time) opened in Little Rock in 1988 and quickly became then Governor Bill Clinton’s favorite restaurant. Theresa Overby, owner of the Baton Rouge location with her husband Scott, worked at the Little Rock location for eight years and developed an operational knowledge of the brand. The Signas contacted Theresa (knowing that Scott was a Louisiana native) to see if they would be interested in owning a franchise. The couple said they might consider a Baton Rouge location at some point. Scott was working for a mortgage lender at the time and when they saw that industry start to free fall, they began to seriously consider the possibility.
|Owners Scott and Theresa Overby Pose with Jay Ducote (Center) at Doe's|
|Doe's Delta Style Tamales and Homemade Chili|
Doe’s opened the first weekend of September 2007 and business soared for the first year. When Gustav hit in 2008, Doe’s spent their one year anniversary in the dark, waiting for electricity and health department clearance. Being down for three weeks created a challenge for Doe’s, just like it did for a number of restaurants and small businesses. The economic downturn finally hit Baton Rouge in 2009, and due to the higher price of choice and prime beef, they felt a 20-25% hit in business. After a roller coaster ride to start 2010 and dealing with some instability in seafood pricing, things now seem to be looking up again as the dog days of summer move on.
|A Porterhouse (Right) and Ribeye (Left) sit Ready for the Broiler|
|Steaks Cook in the 650 Degree Broiler|
|Happy Hour Grub: Sirloin Sliders|
|Doe's Dough: Homemade Drop Biscuits|
Speaking of beef, let’s get to the real reason I went to Doe’s… the steak! Since there were three of us we decided that it would make sense to get three different cuts of beef. This way we could try a variety of awesomeness. We ordered the two pound ribeye, the smaller of the two filet mignon options, and the largest porterhouse, weighing in at two and a half pounds. All of our steaks were ordered to a medium rare temperature, as good steak should be. We can debate that at another time, but just for the record, overcooking a prime steak cooks all the fat out of it. This seems irrational to me because you are paying for the steak’s marbling, which is purely fat content! I usually don’t know whether to laugh or cry at somebody that orders a beautiful cut of meat and gets it cooked well done. Oh well, I don’t have to eat it!
|The Two-Pound Bone-In Ribeye with Fries|
|Doe's Smallest Filet Mignon Cooked to a Beautiful Medium Rare|
Finally, the porterhouse is often considered the granddaddy of all steaks. To those unfamiliar or intimidated by a porterhouse, allow me to enlighten you. The porterhouse is known as the prize cut because it is indeed two steaks in one. On the larger side of the bone is a New York Strip. This flavorful cut of beef is second only to the ribeye in terms of marbling. The strip is usually thought of as the true beef-lover’s steak, as its meat really carries the taste of the steer. It can be succulent while actually requiring a slight amount of chewing. The bone is important for adding flavor and sealing in juices. Just on the other side of the bone comes your very own piece of tenderloin, also known as a filet mignon. Doe’s two and half pound porterhouse is one of the best I’ve ever had. The filet side oozed a very buttery flavor. The strip section made me work a little harder as I actually had to use a knife to cut it - but what’s a steak without a big steak knife?
|The 2 1/2 Pound Porterhouse is One Huge Steak!|
Jay D. Ducote is the author of the blog Bite and Booze, which chronicles his culinary and indulgent cultural experiences around Baton Rouge, South Louisiana, and the world. It can be found at www.biteandbooze.com. You can also reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @biteandbooze.
Thanks to Eric Ducote of BRBeerScene.com for taking all the pictures for this article.