Photography by Sara Edwards Neal
[dropcap]Chef[/dropcap] Bruce Barnes has worked in northwest Arkansas kitchens for 35 years, including a 10-year stint as the owner of Herman’s Steakhouse in Fayetteville. For 34 of those years, his wife, P.J., has worked beside him. Together, they and their staff create a dining experience at Mister B’s Steakhouse in Rogers that rivals other fine steakhouses in the area, though you may not have heard of it.
Tucked into a little wooded lot on Walnut Street, Mister B’s occupies an early-20th century, gray rock house that was previously a ladies’ dress shop. P.J. said they painted the walls red and stripped layers of paint off the original woodwork to create a traditional “steakhouse” feeling. Antique light fixtures and a fireplace near the entrance add to the ambiance. Tables covered with classic black cloth are positioned throughout the dining space to create intimate corners, perfect for enjoying a good meal and a glass of wine, or a cocktail from their full-service bar.
Guests are attended by professional, knowledgeable staff led by P.J., who moves from table to table throughout the dinner service to chat with customers, recommend specials and desserts and ensure a pleasant dining experience. A meal at Mister B’s is one to be savored and lingered over, not rushed through on the way to a movie.
So, let’s talk about the food — that is what we were there for, after all.
Mister B’s is a traditional steakhouse, serving 100-percent, FDA-certified Black Angus beef. The menu also includes a chicken dish, a few seafood options, traditional side dishes and desserts. Chef Bruce runs a quiet, organized kitchen, in full view of customers through a long, horizontal open window. My dining partner and I chose to sit at a table near the window to watch the action.
We started our meal with two appetizers. Our shrimp and crab cakes arrived quickly, and did not disappoint. They were flavorful and moist inside, with a golden, crispy crust. Lemon wedges and house-made remoulade sauce accompanied the cakes. The mushroom caps were stuffed with finely ground Italian sausage made with shallots, roasted red peppers, panko breading, and topped with mozzarella and breadcrumbs.
A wedge salad has never been my first choice, but at a steakhouse I think it’s required. The chilled quarter-head of iceberg lettuce was topped with a delicious Romano cheese dressing and sprinkled with bleu cheese crumbles, chopped tomato, green onion and bacon. It perfectly refreshed our palates between the appetizers and main course.
My friend ordered one of the house favorites, a 12-ounce bone-in ribeye. For meat lovers, it definitely makes a big impact — it was as large as the plate it was served on, juicy and perfectly cooked. P.J. recommended the twice-baked potato as a side dish. It was topped with caramelized shiitake mushrooms, truffle oil and sea salt with brown butter. Both the steak and potato delivered a punch of “umami” with every bite.
My 8-ounce salmon filet was a creamy delight, completed with garlic butter. In fact, if you enjoy the flavor of salmon, you should know it was a little muted by the butter. But, if you like a well-cooked piece of fish and the taste of garlic butter – as I do – you’ll love this dish. The glass of sweet Riesling I ordered with dinner was a perfect complement to the rich entrée.
Sautéed mushrooms are about as customary in a steakhouse as the wedge salad, and the dish of mushrooms, composed of shiitake, crimini and maitake, I ordered with my meal was delicious. They are sautéed in the same au jus used to flavor the steaks, but the earthy flavor mushroom-lovers desire was still distinct.
We knew we had no room for it, but it wouldn’t make sense to have a meal at Mister B’s without ordering dessert. Their dessert options are as familiar as the décor at Mister B’s: pecan pie with caramel sauce; chocolate cake; and a vanilla crème brûlée. We had to have all three, of course.
P.J. insisted that we order the pie à la mode, and she was right – the warm buttery filling with its crunchy topping was superb with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The chocolate cake is really more like a gooey brownie on steroids – rich, chewy and obviously homemade. The chocolate shavings on top of the whipped cream served with the cake added a nice crunch. The crème brûlée was delicious, as expected. It was a creamy composition — almost a pudding — and not too sweet.
Reservations are not required, but they are recommended at Mister B’s. Definitely ask about their specials, but know that they don’t venture far out of their comfort zone. They don’t have to; they know what they’re doing, and they do it very well.
Mister B’s Steakhouse
1043 W. Walnut St.
Rogers, AR 72756
Tues. through Sat., 5 to 10 p.m.
Closed Sun. & Mon.