Last June, at the end of the school year I took my kid on a trip through northern Arizona, with the first stop a two night camping trip in the Grand Canyon. Even though I love camping, I don’t love cooking while camping. So, one night we headed into town to find the best fare the town had to offer.
Located a short distance before you get to the main gate of the Grand Canyon national park, Big E Steakhouse might be the best dining option around and unfortunately the food wasn’t that great. The atmosphere is cool with its faux western theme reminiscent of something you would see in an amusement park. They’ve got a covered patio, bar and lounge area and a massive dining room with facades of western building and other decor fitting their theme.
On one side of the dining room is a large stage and video wall that loops documentary-style footage of the Colorado river.
Service was very friendly and fairly quick. The bussers were always on top of things, quickly picking up finished dishes and refilling drinks.
Their menu is typical American fare — lots of grilled steaks, some seafood, apps, salads, and a couple pastas. There is a kids menu so for those traveling with little ones, they’ve got you covered.
The popularity and size of the place doesn’t lend itself to quality food. It has the feel of mass produced food the lacks finesse and passion from the kitchen. Thin, watery broth in the French onion soup ($6.95) and ribs (half rack $21.95) devoid of smokiness confirm that claim. Along with steamed vegetables treated like an afterthought and kid’s chicken fingers ($6.95) that were no better than what you’d buy in the frozen aisle of a grocery store. Even the filet ($30.95, 6oz) was lackluster. It was covered in sauce, probably to mask the quality of the beef.
The atmosphere and location are the two best things Big E Steakhouse has going for it. That’s never a good thing for a restaurant, where food should always come first.
395 Hwy 64
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023