Atmosphere: A tuxedoed waiter and customers in anything from jeans to floor length gowns.
Price range: An 18 to 20-ounce Porterhouse steak for $12.95, to ground sirloin of beef with mushroom sauce for $4.75.
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 6 to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 5 to 10 p.m. Closed Monday.
Special facilities: Highchairs, booster seats and reduced prices for children. Accessible to the handicapped. Adequate parking.
Credit cards: American Express, Visa, Master Charge. Gift certificates available.
We used to say we weren't real meat lovers. Not vegetarians by any means, but when we went out to dinner we always headed for a good French restaurant or some place else where the food was at least a trifle complicated. Somehow, a piece of beef, bread and a salad never seemed like a meal out.
Then, a few months ago my husband and I had dinner at J.R.'s Steak House on Rte. 29 just off Fairfax Circle, where we ate the best beef, bread and salad we could remember. Recently we went back, this time with our children, and we weren't disappointed.
J.R.'s is inconspicuously located on the groung floor of a high-rise office building and apartment complex with a split rail fence around the parking lot.
We arrived about 6 p.m. on a busy Sunday. Although we had no reservations, we waited only a few minutes for a table.
There were plenty of good things to keep us occupied until our meal came. On the table was a generous crock of cheddar cheese spread with sesame and rye crackers, which our 2-year-old son enjoyed.
The salad bar at J.R.'s is a real treat. The menu says there are 28 selections and while we didn't count them, it looked impressive and tasted delicious. There were lots of chopped raw vegetables, crumbled egg, bacon and cheese, a tasty carrot salad and even some crisp chow mein noodles. Our daughter, who is 4, went back for seconds on her bowl of bean sprouts and cheese. There were a number of dressings available. My husband and I both took the house dressing, a creamy ranch style with chopped green onion.
Our only complaint was the slow kitchen. We waited 45 minutes for out meal.
A couple sitting nearby said they had waited only a short time. Since we had had no problem on our first visit, we believed our experience wasn't typical. Unfortunately, it happened with two young, hungry children.
All was forgiven, though, after the food arrived. We ordered one dinner from the children's menu for our youngsters to share, a chopped sirloin pattie with steak fries and salad bar for $2.75. The meat was delicious - charcoal grilled on the outsided and charcoal grilled on the outside and pink on the inside. The fries were actually strips of a potato cut vertically with the skin left on -- unusual and good. There was plenty for both children. It came with a little pitcher of mushroom sauce but we all thought it was better plain.
I ordered the filet mignon, $8.95), which was cooked perfectly and served nice and hot. My husband ordered the standard cut prime ribs for $7.25 and found that a real treat, too. He also ordered a baked potato for an extra 50 cents.
The menu said his meat weighed between 10 and 12 ounces, and it may have because we took part of it home in a doggie bag. A "heavy cut" weighing 14 to 16 ounces is also available for $8.75.
Besides the potatoes, corn, onion rings and sauteed mushrooms are available as side orders. We had one order of corn for 60 cents and were surprised at how unusual it was. It came cooked with cubes of ham in a cream sauce, which we all liked.
The most expensive item on the menu is an 18 to 20-ounce porter house steak for $12.95, although it's hard to believe it is intended for one person. There is only one item besides beef - twin lobster tails for $10.95. A prime rib dinner (3.75) and a single lobster tail ($5.25) are also available for children under 12. A few appetizers and desserts are also offered.
Our bill came to $21.37, a fair value we thought.