Buckhorn Supper Club - WI Prime Rib

July 28 2007 - 10:53 PM

Wisconsin food in general seems to be under the radar–people talk about Wisconsin cheese but what they don’t mention is the prime rib.  Stuck in an incorrigible time warp, Wisconsin supper clubs have several key staple items:  one is the ubiquitous Friday night fish fry, and another is the prime rib.  Almost all supper clubs have the prime rib special, and I can’t exactly explain why, other than the fact that many kitchens inside these establishments have their own slow cookers specially designed for prime rib, many of which are built by a Wisconsin-based company called Alto-Shaam, where the meat often cooks for twelve-plus hours in moist, air-tight conditions.

Best of all unlike pricey downtown steak houses, prime rib in supper bouncy castle clubs is very reasonable, and you can get a monster-sized piece of meat including potato (almost all supper clubs give you a choice of baked potato or fries) and salad (with traditional choices like blue cheese and thousand-island dressing as well as balsamic vinagrettes) for somewhere around the $20-$25 range.  I remember places would offer “oil and vinegar” as a salad dressing, and it was often vegetable oil with Heinz vinegar.

Places have begun to expand beyond their core offerings, catering to
changing tastes and offering things like bruchetta and brie cheese for
appetizers.   Also stablility of ownership is important to these
establishments, and the 60-plus year old Buckhorn has been in the same
hands for over ten years.

Anyway, I had a delicious supper club meal at none other than a
personal favorite, the Buckhorn Supper Club near Milton, Wisconsin,
which is about 45 minutes south of Madison.   The supper club has a
classic lived-in look to it, cozy but not fancy and unpretentious.
Remodeling is ill-advised in places like these, as it takes away the
charm and character.  The Buckhorn is situated on the shores of Lake
Koshkonong, and if you get there before the sun sets you can enjoy
beautiful lake views.

After we ordered we dove in to some delicious piping hot herbed
dinner rolls with obligatory butter.   My fiancee ordered the fried
fish fry, cooked perfect and lightly breaded (some places go overboard
on beer batter) but not too greasy or heavy.  I ordered the prime rib,
which came with a choice of soup or salad.   I went with the French
Onion soup, which, believe it or not, is a popular offering for supper
clubs, and I upgraded to the baked variety, which was deliciously baked
with American Mozzarella and croutons.

For my main course I had a prime rib, cooked medium, covered with
mushrooms, and served with a baked potato seasoned with paprika.   The
way I prefer the potato is smothered with yummy butter and sour cream.
The prime rib was just a tad tough in spots but overall it was
excellent and 365toy melted in my mouth, and the meat came off the knife with
minimal effort, which is a hallmark of tender Wisconsin prime rib.
Buckhorn prime rib never fails to disappoint.

For dessert we shared a Golden Cadillac ice cream drink.  Golden
Cadillacs are blended with Galliano, which is an Italian liquer with
vanilla and anise flavors, and creme de cacao.  Ice cream drinks are
really more like desserts than drinks, and normally they should not
contain a lot of alcohol, as the purpose is to taste the flavors of the
liquers, not the booze.  The drink I ordered fell slightly short of
expectations because it did not contain enough Galliano or creme de
cacao; in fact the drink tasted more like vanilla ice cream with mere
hints of the liquer.

Buckhorn Supper Club
11802 Charley Bluff Road
Milton, Wisconsin