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Steaking a Claim

Barry Fey tries the Keg on for size.

House of Blues Concerts is bringing the group to town, and Fey needs to take its members to dinner. Over the years, his meals with musicians have become legendary -- over two decades later, everyone remembers the Rolling Stones' stop at Little Shanghai, for example -- but Fey needs help. The collective Widespread Panic's favorite food used to be sushi, but lately the musicians have been eating beef.

"Take them to Domo," says Hickenlooper, touting the town's country-style Japanese restaurant that is also a cultural center.

"I don't want to pray, I just want to eat," Fey responds.

Sports fans can party hearty at the Keg.
Mark A. Manger
Sports fans can party hearty at the Keg.

The salads arrive just in time. The Caesar and house salads have been ordered to split, but each arrives on one big plate, with two forks, making for a communal dining experience worthy of Domo -- but worrisome, since steaks are not a sharing experience. Fey also catches an unnerving glimpse of a neighboring table's accessorized entree plates arriving. "This isn't a steakhouse, it's a restaurant," he repeats, warily eyeing those plates.

But then his own perfectly cooked steak appears, along with "a regular-sized potato," which he ignores. (The rest of us give high points to the three-cheese butter that accompanies the spuds.) Before Hickenlooper's wife gets her replacement steak (the New York striploin had arrived well beyond the ordered medium), Fey's polished off his rib steak -- as well as a heated discussion of the inheritance tax. Fey's interest is heightened by his current bankruptcy action, Hickenlooper's by the fact that the birth of his first child is imminent. "Steaks and inheritance are important," they ultimately agree.

Fey gives the steak, if not the steakhouse, a rave review, adding bonus points for the seasoning.

"The only thing wrong with the steak is the expectation of what you'd get in a steakhouse," he says. "It would be a pleasant surprise if you just walked into a regular restaurant and got a steak that good." Then again, Fey doesn't eat at a regular restaurant very often.

And he won't be taking Widespread Panic to one, either.

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