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Scotch and sirloin served at Summit Station

by Brian Clarey

The bar steak at Summit station, a seasoned, grilled and sliced sirloin, complements nicely a glass of scotch and a loaded baked potato. (photo by Brian Clarey)

It’s been a long day. Real long. Don’t bother yourself with the details and just take my word for it. And the way I see it, I have two choices: Go home and curl up under a blanket in a dark room, or do something nice for myself to counter the oppressive weight the world has lowered on my shoulders. Yes, I’ll reward myself, even if it’s just for the somewhat dubious accomplishment of surviving through the day.

In the old days, at times like this I’d often shoot over to see my friends at Solaris, on the downtown corner of Davie and Lindsay streets. But alas, Solaris is no more — the place that has taken over the space is called Summit Station, and it’s something different.

So what the hell. I’m in the neighborhood, and I like making new friends. And there’s a parking spot right by the door.

A seat at the bar. A glass of scotch. A self-styled surf-and-turf. Yeah.

That, my friends, is what the doctor ordered.

The place looks very much the same in its new incarnation as it did when Christian and Courtney Reynolds ran the place, minus the copious local art on the walls. A degree of formality has been installed in the dining room, and the staff wears uniforms reminiscent of gas-station attendants replete with name patches, in recognition of the venue’s past life as a service station. But that great wooden bar still dominates the center of the house, the patio still beckons and the view down Davie Street is as picturesque as ever.

The menu has changed from a small-plates format to more standard dining fare: a slew of appetizers, a short list of sandwiches and burgers, healthy salads and a few more or less serious entrees. Since I’m here for medical reasons, I go all out: crab cake appetizer, a house salad and the bar steak, with a loaded baked potato on the side.

The crab cakes come out quickly, and at first glance I ascertain two things: they are made with crustless panko breadcrumbs, making them lighter and crispier than they would be otherwise; and the creator of the recipe knows the secret to great crab cakes — namely, use lots of crabmeat. Paired with a spicy racha aioli, they go down fast.

The salad course follows within reasonable time, a nice big bowl of greens and baby spinach — no iceberg lettuce, thank you — that comes with a choice of homemade dressing. I opt for the fiery Asian peanut, though the bartender tells me that the lemon-thyme vinaigrette is the most popular, which is interesting to me because I always assume ranch dressing is the default for about 65 percent of the Triad restaurant-going population. I even know a joke about it, which I shall not repeat here.

As far as steaks and chops go, Summit Station offers a pork chop, a NY strip, a filet and a bar steak, which is the one I want. It’s a fine piece of sirloin, cooked to what can properly be called “medium-rare,” deftly seasoned and sliced for masticatory ease.

And the loaded baked potato? Butter, sour cream, bacon and two kinds of cheese, of course. When I was a kid, a repast like this would have been considered a healthy meal. These days it’s a vice.

Speaking of which, the bar at Summit Station has all the booze, wine and beer I’d come to expect in this location, though it has yet to reclaim the bar crowd that kept Solaris interesting after dinner hours had passed. However, the new concept has already instilled itself as a viable downtown lunch destination. And with patio season just around the corner, I anticipate this place will be making more noise soon.

wanna go?

Summit Station Eatery 125 Summit Ave. Greensboro 336.373.1123 ‘www.thesummitstation.com

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