It’s always fun to visit a new restaurant, but every once in a while it’s just as entertaining to revisit an old favorite — especially one that’s just received a revitalizing jolt in the arm. So is the case with Steamers.
A long-time occupant of the upper level of the Biltmore Fashion Park, Steamers is now under new ownership. Doug Czufin and Bruce Lazarus, who also own the adjacent restaurant Sam’s Café, acquired Steamers late last year and set about changing the menu and freshening the décor.
Change is good, but not if it alienates customers. Fortunately, Steamers should have no problem keeping old customers while still attracting new ones. The Steamers dining room still has its yacht-clubby feel with dark woods and brass accents. The biggest change to the décor can be seen in the bar area, which now has a more modern and streamlined look to appeal to the happy hour crowd of professionals from nearby office complexes.
Another change is the food. Czufin, who also serves as corporate chef, has infused Steamers’ traditional seafood fare with lighter options. One of those new options Steamers is promoting are the lobster lettuce cups, a crispy leaf of lettuce filled with lobster meat, avocado and vegetable slaw. They can be purchased as a lunch menu item or as a dinner appetizer. Other delicious appetizers to choose from include a tuna tartar stack made with yellow fin tuna tossed in a ginger soy sauce and stacked with tomatoes, wasabi guacamole and tossed greens; and the jumbo crab cake concocted from Maryland-style and sweet jumbo crabmeat, baked and served with crème fraiche.
For dinner, you can pick traditional seafood dishes served in new ways. For example, the Chilean sea bass is steamed and topped with a ginger-soy sauce, and it sits on a bed of fresh spinach and white, sticky rice. Sole menuiere consists of a cut of sole lightly dusted, sautéed and placed atop a generous pool of lemon-caper butter sauce.
Some dishes are better left alone, and Steamers knows when to do that too. The restaurant offers a selection of crab legs, but the best bang for your buck — both quantitatively and qualitatively — are the ruby red jumbo Alaska king crab legs. Big, meaty and tasty, I tried not to think about what monster-sized crabs the legs came from.
Knowing that dessert is the crowning glory of any good meal, the new Steamers hasn’t skimped on the sweet treats. The must-haves include a chocolate s’more soufflé made with rich chocolate, a hint of Grand Marnier and served warm with a marshmallow crust; the thick and flavorful crème brûlée with fresh fruit; and the pleasingly sweet and tart Key Lime pie.
So if you haven’t gone to Steamers lately, plan a return visit. And if you’ve never gone to Steamers, make it a point to add it to your list of favorite restaurants.
If You Go:
Steamers (Out of Business)
2576 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix