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A Night at The Mint

Wednesday Aug. 4th, 2010

Tanda Cook

Don’t be fooled by its dark tinted windows, this wonderfully bright lit restaurant is located at 27 East Main Street in downtown Belgrade. The Mint opened in 1904, and has been locally owned and operated for over a hundred years. It has been labeled one of the best steak houses in the West and serves “source verified” locally raised Angus steaks that melt in your mouth.

Upon entering you have a choice of sitting at the beautiful wooden fully stocked bar, or in the more intimate seating for those romantic evenings. The staff is attentive and takes care of your every need. Opening the wine list you will find an array of wines from across the globe and some of my favorites from the Willamette Valley. Lists of reds, whites, sparkling and spirits all by the glass or, for those planning on staying a while, by the bottle.

While sipping on a Pinot Noir from Oregon and musing over the menu several things catch my eye. Come to The Mint hungry, the appetizers alone could keep me here all night. What to start with? Crab cakes with spicy mayo or Smoked trout garnished with onions, pepper, and crostini, or stick with my all time favorites like fried calamari or fresh hand-cut fries. After ordering fried calamari my eyes feast on the entrees. Steaks, burgers, and chops all hand-cut and are of only the finest certified choice, naturally raised Angus, free of antibiotics, hormones or growth stimulants, and you can taste it in every bite.

There is an array of cuts and meats like Buffalo tenderloin, monster T-bone for two, rib eye and the classic New York strip thick and juicy at its best. And for the eaters who prefer the white meat, or no meat at all there are the double cut pork chops, fresh fish and pasta specials. And if it hadn’t been for all the delicious looking steaks and burgers I would have gone for the half chicken, marinated and roasted in a cast-iron to golden perfection.

For those not so hungry or looking for something a little different to dance on their palette there is a selection of sandwiches and side orders like baked French onion soup, fresh seasonal veggies and your classic Mac and Cheese, The Mints own special blend and served bubbling hot.

I finally settle on the M-C burger; a half pound of Black Angus ground beef served with your choice of soup, salad, or hand-cut fries and a variety of toppings: cheeses, mushrooms, onions, bacon or a fried egg. I went for the works (minus the fried egg).

It was hard not to fill up on the fried calamari, as it was cooked to perfection, crispy and crunchy served with a duo of tequila aioli and tomato olive sauce that I could have drank from the cup. Filling my wine glass with another Pinot Noir I awaited the main course…and what a treat it was! This is by far one of the finest juiciest burgers I have had in some time. I was planning on saving half for lunch but I couldn’t resist. The flavor of the meat and in combination with the toppings served on an English muffin made this an unforgettable food experience. One that I will for sure do again.

As I was enjoying every bite of my burger I looked around to soak up the atmosphere. It’s warm and light. There was a family of four with two younger kids diving into some Mac and Cheese and simultaneously coloring, looking completely content. There was a bustle from the kitchen and the sounds of laughter from other tables. What a wonderful way to spend an evening in Montana.
Thursday night is music night, a great night to be at The Mint. Featuring music by Claudia Williams, Jane and the Pistol Whips, Jawbone Railroad, Dos Mayos and the Incomparable Kostus. You can call 406.388.1100 to find out who’s playing this week. Music starts at 7 and goes to 9 pm.

The Mint does take reservations and I would suggests calling ahead, this place fills up fast, and for a good reason, its great atmosphere, fantastic food, flowing wine, and rich conversation.