“When we started, we said, ‘let’s just make a menu full of things people like to eat,’” Crookston said. “Let’s incorporate everything. People like steak, we’ll have steak. People like cheesy fries, we’ll have cheesy fries.”
So diners at the downtown Canton eatery can order a $60 Kobe steak or an $8 mountain of steak fries smothered in cheese and sprinkled with bacon.
“The Kobe (steak) is not our staple, of course, but it’s a nice thing to offer to people. In New York City, that would run you $100 or more,” Crookston said. “At the same time, it’s impossible to ignore that we’re in downtown Canton and some people in this area are struggling financially.”
Although the specialty of the house is steaks, the buzz is about the side dishes. Don’t miss the corn soufflé, which, despite its name, is a dense, slightly sweet cross between spoon bread and corn pone. Homey and satisfying. Another notable side is the angel hair pasta with zingy marinara sauce.
“Mike (Zeigler), the owner, has a very Italian mom, and this was the sauce she made since he was a kid. It has a little kick to it from red pepper,” Crookston said.
Brownstone Rice is studded with balsamic-soaked mushrooms and garnished with peas. This robustly flavored side also is served as an entree topped with grilled shrimp.
In a time when many restaurants have gone a la carte with everything, it was a pleasant surprise to find that Brownstone entrees (most $18 to $26) include both side dish and salad. The house salad of mixed greens is topped with tomatoes, croutons and pungent Parmesan shavings. Try the house-made white zinfandel dressing, a mild yet lovely drizzle.
The Brownstone, owned by Michael and Traci Zeigler, opened in April. When chef Dustin Davis took over the kitchen in June, he introduced a crab cake that has been a hit with diners, both as appetizer and entree. For lunch, the kitchen serves ridiculously oversized burgers with steak fries or chips and a beverage for a reasonable $8. Opt for the homemade chips — nicely browned, thickly sliced chips with a pleasing snap.
Burger variations include the eponymous Brownstone, topped with barbecue sauce, cheddar, bacon, lettuce, tomato and crisp onion strips, and the Bleu Cheese Burger, with honey-glazed bacon, lettuce and tomato. Ask them to hold the pickles, which dominate the pungent blue cheese and add an unwelcome Big Mac-ness.
If you can manage it, save room for dessert — all are made in-house fresh daily. Specialties include tiramisu and chocolate mousse.
The eatery offers a welcome change from the dimly lit, windowless rooms that are common in downtown upscale restaurants.
Six-foot-tall windows flood the dining area with light, inviting the eye to roam from tabletop-size, vibrantly hued paintings on brick walls to sparkling chandeliers dangling from a decorative tin ceiling.
Tables are nicely spaced, and the servers are well-trained. The restaurant is in the space that formerly housed Little Chicago, across from the Palace Theatre. Crookston said it stays open late, in part to serve the after-theater crowd.
“So far it’s worked out very well,” Crookston said. “The dinner crowd stops around 9, then we have a nice bar crowd right up till we close the doors.”
THE BROWNSTONE STEAKHOUSE
585 Market Ave. N, Canton(330) 580-4444
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to midnight Friday; 4 p.m. to midnight Saturday.
Specialty of the house: Steaks, housemade desserts, corn soufflé