Second Helpings

Mickey’s Top Sirloin

When I stopped by the new, improved Mickey's Top Sirloin for lunch last week (a few months ago, it had moved from its decrepit, decades-old home across the parking lot to a shiny, family-friendly, cookie-cutter space with bright-green corrugated siding), the strangest thing about it was the pictures of the cows on the wall. Not that there's anything wrong with cows -- this is a blue-collar joint, after all, with a sideline rodeo theme going -- but between the name and the cattle photos, you'd think that Mickey's would offer nothing but deconstructed cattle. But you'd be wrong, because the lunch menu lists all of one steak: the eponymous "Mickey's Top Sirloin," which rings the cash register at $7.95. The rest of the fare is solidly Italian and Mexican, with plenty of burritos, rice, beans, spaghetti and red sauce. I asked my very friendly server if there might possibly be more than a single steak for sale, and she said yes, that since the dinner menu was pretty much wall-to-wall cow, she could order me a chicken-fried steak, a mesquite-grilled something that I didn't catch the name of, a sirloin smothered in onions and mushrooms, or a New York strip. I decided on the strip, if for no other reason than it was the closest thing to the cut I'd ordered at my $300 dinner at Bob's Steak and Chop House (see review). At Mickey's, $10.95 brought me a good-sized chunk of choice-grade beef done to an ideal rare. The grill marks were even, the meat salty and bloody and tasting exactly how I remembered steak tasting when I was a kid. It came with a baked potato on the side mounded up with sour cream and a ball of butter, plus an iceberg salad, and all of that -- along with another steak dinner for a friend, a beer, a Coke and a tip -- came out costing fifteen bucks less than the $45 I'd paid for my Kansas City strip at Bob's. While the food here isn't the fanciest in the world, no one comes to Mickey's looking for fancy: They come to eat dinner, not to dine.