Saturday, August 2, 2008

Commercial Pursuits - Sunni's Grille

My pursuit of the beef commercial sandwich started in Howard Lake, MN.

Sunni's Grille in Howard Lake
728 6th St
Howard Lake, MN

Howard Lake is located perhaps an hour or so west of the Twin Cities on US Highway 12. It is a charming small town situated on (appropriately enough) beautiful Howard Lake.

Right on the main drag you will find Sunni's Grille in Howard Lake, a bright, warm, family-style restaurant that serves American classics with a bit of a modern flair.

In my research, Howard Lake is probably one of the easternmost locations where I have discovered anyone referring refer to this sandwich as the beef commercial (of course, there are some outliers, but this appears to be the eastern edge of beef commercial country!). As discussed in my earlier post, most areas outside of south central and southwestern Minnesota call this a "hot beef sandwich."

The menu looked excellent, and all the plates of food I saw at other tables looked quite tasty. However, my purpose was a solitary one. I must have their hot beef commercial!

This probably in not the greatest example to start my pursuits with. Most beef commercials are known for their simplicity; plain white bread, roast beef, mashed potatoes, and gravy. The beef commercial at Sunni's Grille was almost gourmet. However, it was a thing of beauty.

The sandwich was served with a hunk of slow roasted beef on top of toasted sourdough bread. Mashed potatoes (clearly homemade, with the skins included) were served on the side as opposed to on top, and beef gravy covered the entire dish. A sprinkle of fresh parsley added a touch of color.

The "Hot Beef Commercial" at Sunni's Grille in Howard Lake

The steak knife you see in the background was completely unnecessary. The meat was so tender it simply pulled apart with a fork. I also liked the sourdough bread as a part of this dish, as it added that characteristic sour note, making for an interesting addition. Loved the rustic mashed potatoes. Gravy. Mmmmm! What a delicious sandwich.

Even though this is an atypical sandwich, you have to appreciate Sunni's Grille for elevating the status of the beef commercial to haute cuisine. Beautiful ingredients were given star treatment here, and I savored every bite.

We are off to a great start. On to the next!

Yours in gravy,


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