St. Elmo Steak House, Indianapolis, 4/21/23

exterior – 127 S Illinois St, Indianapolis, IN 46225

St. Elmo Steak House has been a landmark in Indianapolis since 1902 when it opened.  It is the oldest steakhouse in the city that’s in its original location.  The place is huge, covering several floors with lots of different rooms and private dining options.  It was founded by Joe Stahr and named for the patron saint of sailors, St. Elmo.  Having had several owners over the years it is now run by Stephen Huse and his son Craig. They’ve won awards, have a huge wine cellar, valet parking and professional tuxedoed waitstaff.  The large white cloth-covered tables are surrounded by brick walls and lots of photos with lowered lighting.  The evening we were there, there were a number of large parties in the private rooms as well as on the floor.  It had a very typical steakhouse ambiance that you have to be in the mood for.  It was mixed on food but service was outstanding.


Frankie shared the restaurant details
sign on street
about and employees
dessert menu



We started with their St. Elmo shrimp cocktail which the menu called “World Famous.”  It contained 4 jumbo shrimp served in their spicy, signature cocktail sauce.  The server felt compelled to us that’s how meals there traditionally begin and be prepared to tear up from the horseradish in the cocktail sauce.  I regularly eat horseradish sauce and so I liked it quite a bit.  I enjoy that feeling of clearing the sinus passages as well as the flavor.  The shrimp were indeed jumbo and perfectly cooked and chilled.  It was delicious but I thought $17.95 was too much to ask for it.  We enjoyed a beautifully made martini with it.

shrimp cocktail
Frankie enjoyed a martini


The bread service included mini croissants, brown rolls and cheese wafers with softened butter dotted with pepper.  The mini croissants were okay but not very buttery.  The brown rolls were mostly stale and hard.  The cheese wafers looked like they’d be crisp but were chewy and wrong.

bread and butter


Steaks include navy bean soup or tomato juice.  We tried the soup and it was thick with lots of texture and a good depth of flavor.  It was a delightful thing to include.

bean soup


Steaks also include a choice of baked potato, fries, mashed redskins or sautéed French green beans.   We both chose green beans and ordered their house-made onion rings as our starch.   They were surprisingly light in color and undersalted, but a huge plate.  They were lightly coated and not overly crisp.

onion rings


The steaks have a number of choices, mainly whether you want to pay a little more for aging and prime cuts.  We chose the prime dry-aged beef that came from corn-fed Midwest Black Angus cattle.  The USDA prime New York Strip had been aged 60 days and was a 12 oz cut.  It was cooked a little more than the ordered rare but still had a lightly cool inside.  It had good flavor.  The green beans were good and cooked nicely, not too much or too little.

USDA prime 12 oz. New York Strip, aged 60 days
another view
Frankie appreciates having 2 grinders on the table


The Prime ribeye was an 18 oz cut and had been aged 45 days.  It was over-cooked.  I like a rare with a warm center and the server suggested medium rare which I never should have succumbed to but ribeye can tolerate a little more cooking if it’s really fatty.  This was neither.  It was tough and got sent back.  I declined to have it replaced and they kindly took it off the bill but it still put a blanket over my enthusiasm for the place.

Prime ribeye, 18 oz cut,  aged 45 days
another view


We got dessert to try and end on a better note.  The Bourbon Butter cake was housemade with créme anglaise and caramel sauce and served with Madagascar bourbon vanilla bean ice cream.  It was a really dense cake with very whippy ice cream on top.   The exterior of the cake had no crisp edges but melded nicely into the rich sauce.  The caramel was not at all liquid but added another layer of sweetness to the mix.  It helped heal the wound left by a bad main course.

bourbon butter cake
from the side
Frankie rested on the towels

6 thoughts on “St. Elmo Steak House, Indianapolis, 4/21/23

  1. Yikes! I was able to eat there several times and my rare steaks always arrived rare, and the shrimp cocktails was cheaper. They mix cocktail sauce the way I mix it …almost. I’m sorry that they quality seems to have fallen as the prices have risen. We almost ate there last year, but instead ate at the restaurant in our hotel next door. It was quite good.

    1. Thanks! Had to try it due to reputation but I think you’ve nailed it – quality has declined as the prices have done the opposite. I did enjoy the shrimp cocktail a lot but I’ll try the hotel next door if we visit again.

  2. So sorry to hear about the ribeye. But that shrimp cocktail really is legendary. I immediately thought of it and was sure you ordered one when I saw the headline for this post.

    1. Thanks! The shrimp cocktail was right up my alley but way overpriced. Steaks are often iffy – I should know better- but my husband’s was way more edible.

  3. I second that yikes. It has generally been reliable as a stop in Indianapolis, but I concur on the shrimp being overpriced (but that really is a smaller-city-in-the-Midwest issue). The steak being miscooked is shocking for a place that rests its reputation on them. Sorry to hear.

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