A Dubious Legacy

Written by Mary Ann Fitzmorris August 10, 2021 11:06 in Dining Diary

In the last half year I have been on the Westbank more than in all the rest of my life. I am usually there around lunch and have sampled a bit of the dining options. 

Legacy Kitchen Steak & Chop sits on the Westbank Expressway in Gretna, looking handsomely rustic. The Legacy “group”  has always been confusing to me. All have the name Legacy but offer different menus. The flagship Legacy Kitchen is no longer there on Veterans at Martin Behrman in the old long-abandoned Shoney’s. That one and all subsequent Legacy this-or-thats have a distinct style that I would call All-American chain. When the Steak & Chop version arrived I was curious to see how far upscale they were going. I never made it before the partners split, and neither is involved anymore. 

All of the other locations in the Legacy “collection” as they call themselves, tend to be bright, but this one is going for the masculine dark steakhouse feel. There is a massive bar as you enter, with a patio to the left. This patio is enclosed and a partition of colored glass sheets separate it from the dining room. This unappealing design choice puzzles me.

The bar is nice and the clubby booths give it more of a Texas roadhouse feel than a real steakhouse.This ain’t the sadly defunct O’Brien’s, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s a viable steakhouse on the Westbank.

All of the Legacy concepts in the “collection” have a very American look with the food to match. Most of this menu is a generic assortment of sandwiches, appetizers, a robust selection of steaks, and steakhouse sides as well as an entree section of local specialties. The dessert menu is fun, with an ice box pie and a mile high cake, and an iron skillet apple pie, as well as Bananas Foster bread pudding.

Foolishly, we chose some of the least interesting things on this large menu, opting for a club sandwich, hamburger, and a chicken sandwich at lunch.  Each came with a side, so we chose shoestring potatoes, fresh cut potato chips, and coleslaw.    

The club sandwich had a cutting-corners look to it, with an outsized price. $14 for American cheese (huh?) and ham that looked sub-par. The turkey had an appearance at first glance to be roasted in house, until we tasted it. Deli. None of this would be annoying if the sandwich didn’t cost well more than any other such menu item. The club pinnacle, in my opinion, is Porter and Luke’s, followed closely by 5 Girls in Madisonville, then Martin Wine Cellar’s Executive Club. All of these are 2-3 dollars cheaper, with clearly better ingredients.

The chicken sandwich was the most peculiar of the three. Instead of a fat flat breast of chicken, here were three chicken strips lined side by side, buried in a small pile of slaw.

Opening the bun on the burger was the biggest disappointment. It had that highly-suspicious, perfectly rounded shape. The cheese had melted through, and it looked pretty boring.

Happily, none of this was as bad as it looked. Nothing was brilliant, but it was certainly tasty enough. Competently-fried chicken strips are never bad. With coleslaw on a decent bun, this will always be at least satisfactory, and it was. The shoestring fries were not house cut, and that was fine too.

The club sandwich was also better than it looked because a club sandwich is a great idea, so even an ordinary one done completely, inferior ingredients or not, will come together well enough to please. The house-cut Kettle thick chips were also pretty good. 

Maybe because our expectations were immediately lowered on sight of the burger, this was much better than we thought it would be. The accompanying coleslaw was as I remembered it from the flagship Legacy Kitchen. Basically fine. Nothing special.

Which is a good way to sum up all the food here. The menu is large enough to find anything in the American food universe, and it comes pleasingly presented and is acceptably tasty.

Nothing more.

What they seem especially good at here is marketing. The chalkboard specials are indeed enticing. Monday through Thursday chargrilled oysters are $1.50 apiece during Happy Hour. Wine bottles are half price Fridays and Saturdays at dinner, and martinis are $5 on Thursdays. The $28 Sunday supper from 4-8pm includes a 6 oz filet, mashed potatoes and broccoli with a soup or salad first course. And Wednesdays from 5pm an 8 oz Club Filet-Cut Steak with a salad and mashed potatoes is just $18.

Taking advantage of these incentives is a great idea, but it is not the only reason to go to Legacy Kitchen Steak & Chop.

Another is convenience. The restaurant is part of just a small group of places on the Westbank good enough to grab a meal without crossing the river.