Jeffrey Merlot

Victor’s Is Great for Prime Rib?

“Victims,” it turns out, is a fine place to dine.

By - May 7th, 2015 04:32 pm
Victor's. Photo by Jeff Merlot.

Victor’s. Photo by Jeff Merlot.

Even those who have never been to Victor’s on Van Buren St., a/k/a “Victims,” are well aware of its amusing, long-standing reputation as a cougar hangout. But who among you thinks of it as a place to dine?

My date has been one of the younger regulars at Victor’s on Saturday nights for some time, so that’s where I took her for her birthday recently. The interior hasn’t change much; yes, the ‘70s are still calling because they want their décor of this place back. But all the mirrors, black acrylic, chrome and disco lights are what make all that urban line dancing fun for both the old and also a lot of young people (Says one reviewer on Yelp: the inside of the place “looks like a ‘70s roller rink on a cruise ship.”)

Victor’s has cultivated a reputation over the years for the many zany people who crowd its dance floor bumping and grinding – and fighting – late into the wee hours (one gentleman was strutting around late in the evening we were there wearing a velvet leopard-print suit – he told me he got it on line for $100!).

But Victor’s is also a restaurant, and with different nightly specials. Friday nights, they serve a traditional, all-you-can-eat fish fry, complete with the works, for between $12.25 and $16.50, depending on whether you order the cod, lake perch, baked tilapia, potato-crusted tilapia or the French-fried shrimp. Thursday nights, they offer a complimentary buffet, but you have to buy at least one drink to partake.

But this was Saturday night and we were there for that night’s prime-rib special. I had never had Victor’s food before, so I had no idea what to expect.

For $28.50, the prime rib dinner starts off with a nice sized loaf of warm, homemade bread and a choice of either a green salad or one of the soups of the day. They were serving a basic chicken-vegetable soup, but we both chose the bacon-cheese soup. It was cheesy rich, dressed with a dab of sour cream and decorative scallion slices, and loaded with crispy bits of fried bacon. I was amazed: it was one of the tastiest, most unique soups I have had dining out in Milwaukee.   And the warm, buttery-topped bread was the perfect thing to dip into it.

Next came the star of the show: We each got a huge slab of perfectly cooked, absolutely succulent prime rib accompanied by a richly-dressed vegetable medley and a baked potato which came with its own little bowl of assorted toppings – sour cream, some grated cheese, a bit of chopped scallion and, of course, more crispy-fried bacon bits.  Again, I was stunned at how good this food was. Who would ever have thought that Victor’s serves this quality of a dining experience!?

That’s when it dawned on me that Victor’s is actually an old-fashioned if unique supper club, complete with a classy men’s-room valet handing out sterilized grooming articles and towels for tips. This is something very special, and we’re lucky to have it in Milwaukee.

Victor's Prime Rib. Photo by Jeff Merlot.

Victor’s Prime Rib. Photo by Jeff Merlot.

My friend and I ate at the bar, but then we grabbed a table closer to the dance floor after we finished our meals, and I surprised her with a piece of cheesecake ($6) with a candle on top for her to blow out.  They loaded it down with lots of fresh, sliced strawberries and a huge heap of whipped cream. Very nice, indeed.

As for beverages – it’s Victor’s. Need I say more? Pretty much anything one wants to drink is available here, often for reasonable prices (a bottle of wine will run you around $20).

Victor’s is really quite the place — for good food, dancing and people watching. It’s truly a Milwaukee rite-of-passage experience (if you haven’t been, you must go at least once in your lifetime!). But one word of warning. Our waitress was pleasant enough, but it was readily apparent she was simply overwhelmed – at least on that night. So you may need to be patient with the service.

Victor’s Gallery

On the Menu

1230 N. Van Buren St., Milwaukee
Major Credit Cards Accepted

Recipe for Supper-Club-Style Steak Tips (serves two)

Steak Tips. By Jeff Merlot.

Steak Tips. By Jeff Merlot.

¾ pound flank steak
6 tablespoons soy sauce
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon ground, black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne

Prick the meat all over with a fork to tenderize it, making sure the fork goes all the way through the meat. Cut the meat into 2½” pieces – first cut it all the way down lengthwise into 2½”-wide strips, then cut the strips cross-wise into 2½” pieces.

Whisk together all the remaining ingredients to make a marinade sauce. Put the steak pieces in a large container with a lid (I put it in a large Ziploc bag) and pour in the marinade. Insure that every piece is submerged well in marinade sauce. Let it sit in the fridge at least 2 hours, or overnight.

When ready to cook, preheat your grill on high for 10 minutes.  Make sure to clean and oil the grill after it’s good and hot. Put the steak tips on the grill on high heat. Grill the tips 4 – 5 minutes each side with the grill lid closed. Or an alternative method: seer the tips in a very hot pan on the stove in just a tiny bit of vegetable oil. They should reach about 130° – 135° F., which will only be medium doneness for these cuts.

Take the tips off the grill or out of the pan and let them rest 5 minutes before eating.  Serve with baked potatoes, sautéed mushrooms and an old-fashioned wedge of iceberg lettuce drizzled with Thousand Island or blue-cheese dressing.

0 thoughts on “Dining: Victor’s Is Great for Prime Rib?”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for this article! My brother loves prime rib so I’ll be sure to take him there!

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