Kahootz Steak and Alehouse in Meridian is one of those places that grows on you fast. It has everything going for it—good food and a good bar with an excellent choice of local and craft beers. It’s a friendly place too, with excellent waitstaff. Walking in from the parking lot, a friendly man started talking to us, a nice conversation about where we were from and where we grew up, which turned out to be fairly close to him. I almost invited to join us, he was alone and seemed like he’d enjoy the company. When we went in, he headed for the kitchen and I realized he wasn’t just a single guest out for a night of dining and drinking alone. More about that later……
Kahootz has a nice indoor area with a sizable bar featuring a large selection of regular and craft beers on tap. Cocktails and wine are also available. One cocktail of note is the Belgian Mule, essentially as Moscow Mule but made with a nice Peach Lambic along with the ginger beer, yielding a very nice tasting drink. The beer selection is nothing short of amazing, featuring many good craft beers on tap, with some also rotated through. found the Half Hitch IPA from Crux in Bend, Oregon to be my favorite, full-bodied yet not overpowering, citrusy and with a nice kick. This was an excellent beer to go with the meat-centric menu at Kahootz.
Tables and booths inside provide plenty of seating. Meals are also served at the bar, which is especially good on on busy nights. There can be a wait on Friday and Saturday nights especially—-but who wants to go to a half-empty restaurant? Another option in good weather is a nice outdoor covered patio area which is especially good for big groups and families with children.
The appetizers at Kahootz are nice and perfect for sharing. They even have some daily special appetizers to change things up. The Stuffed Mushrooms one night were delicious, a good way to start the meal off. Their soups and salads are also a good start. On Friday nights, their Clam Chowder is a bowl of prize-winning flavor, thick but not too thick, chock full of good-sized clam pieces and with a nice zing to it. Their dinner salad is not just iceberg lettuce, but filled with micro green lettuces, red onions and grape tomatoes. There is a nice choice of dressings, but the one to try is the sweet onion, a burst of flavor that works perfectly on the salad.
Kahootz has a good menu of popular items plus several daily specials. One thing that Kahootz emphasizes is that the majority of their menu items are created in-house, from fresh, not frozen ingredients. Twice a week, fresh fish is flown in from a purveyor in the Pike’s Fish Market in Seattle. On one visit, the grilled mahi mahi was superb.with nice grill marks, the moist fish was served on top of a nice melange of chipotle rice, sauce with onions and peppers and a Cilantro Avocado Cream Sauce. Both the flavor and presentation were equal to or better then many of the coastal fish houses that rave about their fish.
Pork chops are another item which are easy to find, but not so easy to find good ones. In several visits I’ve already had Kahootz’ Apple Brandy Pork Chops twice. The flavorful bone-in chop is grilled perfectly, deliciously moist and nice and thick. The apple brandy sauce perfectly complements the pork chop. Accompanying it, the roasted rosemary potatoes and grilled asparagus were a nice choice to complete the dish. If you like pork, this is a must-try dish; and if you’ve never had a good pork chop, this dish will certainly convert you to a pork fan.
Of course, the name of the place is Kahootz Steak and Alehouse, so you should expect some good steaks. All their beef is naturally raised and hand-carved in their kitchen. Choices include Filet Mignon and Top Sirloin. An occasional special of Ribeye Steak gives an additional choice, as does their popular Friday/Saturday special of Prime Rib. A great choice of steak is their New York Strip, available in 7 and 14 ounce sizes. The New York is well marbled, tender and flavorful. It’s an excellent choice for a nice dinner. All their beef is grilled to order and the menu specifies what each level of doneness is like so it can be grilled exactly as you like it.
Items like Sauteed Mushrooms, Grilled Prawns and Gorgonzola and Bacon can also be ordered to accompany the beef, which comes with Rosemary Roasted Red Potatoes or Wild Rice, a baguette and vegetable du jour. For an additional charge, a baked potato can also be ordered.
I had asked the waitress about the gentleman I’d met outside and it turned out to be John Forsberg, co-owner of Kahootz. When he came by the table to say hello again, I asked him a few questions about Kahootz. John explained, “I started this fifteen years ago; it used to be a rental store. I had a girlfriend at the time who was a really good server and we had talked about opening a restaurant. We tried to buy the restaurant that she was working at and the guy didn’t want to sell it, so we decided to do our own thing. With very short on due diligence, like most restaurant owners, we got into the restaurant business”.
I asked about the beef, the star of the show at Kahootz. John told me, “We use all high-quality beef. We started out with Black Angus and it was hard to get what we wanted all the time. You always hear this thing that the flavor’s in the fat, but I never believed that. I always believed it was in the spices, so we went with either choice or prime beef always and worked at getting natural beef instead of something that’s off of a feedlot. We’re not getting any corn or grain-fed beef here. It’s not what we want to produce here, we don’t want to give people antibiotics and all of the other stuff that comes with beef off of a yard”.
There are also a nice variety of pasta, seafood and chicken dishes for those who want something else. Sandwiches are available too, a good choice at lunch along with some ‘lighter’ steak and pasta items and a few nice entree salads. The Pork Chutney Ciabatta and Sirloin Steak Sandwich are only a few of the sandwich items that are available at either lunch or dinner.
The portions at Kahootz are generous and you’ll be tempted to eat it all, but by all means save a little room for dessert. The crown jewel at Kahootz is the Caramel Apple Almond Bread Pudding, which you’ll see going by constantly as it seems every table orders either a whole or half portion. Brought to table on a hot cast-iron skillet, the delicious bread pudding is topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. At the table, the server pours warm caramel sauce over it. When the sauce hits the hot skillet it bubbles, making for a really impressive dessert. Looks aside, though, this is an excellent bread pudding and with the sauce, something you’ll want to completely finish right there.
Kahootz Steak and Alehouse in Meridian is an excellent choice for dinner and well worth a drive from anywhere in the Treasure Valley. With friendly staff and a great bar, it’s a perfect place to go for a nice meal and drinks any day of the week.
Kahootz Steak and Alehouse
1603 N. Main Street
Meridian, ID 83646
Photo gallery follows. all photos by Ed simon for The Boise Beat.