"Where do you want to eat?"

"Where do you want to eat?" generally followed by a responding "I don't know" is an exchange that is a little too familiar for a lot of today's diners. With an abundance of restaurants to choose from, deciding on one common restaurant to satisfy the desire for a good meal can seem daunting. Now enter the motivation behind this blog. The city of Great Falls has a multitude of restaurants to choose from, offering a wide variety of options depending on the dining experience you seek. A good number of these restaurants are "chains", corporate giants offering the same menus in a variety of locations throughout the country. Nothing personal against these chain restaurants, but especially in today's economy, it is incredibly important to support local businesses. When the public invests in locally-owned buisnesses, the money is recycled back into the local community. Therefore, this blog will only feature the locally-owned restaurants of Great Falls. Each week, one local restaurant will be featured and reviewed, with the intent that the next time "where do you want to eat?" is proposed, a locally-owned business will be supported.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Prospector Saloon and Gaming Parlor

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007, may hold little significance for many, but for those associated with the Prospector Saloon and Gaming Parlor, this date will not soon be forgotten.
On this particular day, The Prospector Saloon on Smelter Avenue and 9th Street was engulfed in a fiery blaze, reduced to a pile of rubble by the time the flames were extinguished.
A little more than a year following this eventful day, The Prospector Saloon and Gaming Parlor was rebuilt from the ashes and sits once again at the busy intersection of Smelter Avenue and 9th Street North.
The newly constructed building is rustic in appearance, wood being the dominant aspect of the interior with a river rock gas fireplace centered in the dining room.
Sitting in the high backed wooden booths, you can’t help but notice the exposed beam structure of the ceiling, giving the restaurant an authentic, lodge-type appearance.
Each table has an individual amber light suspended from the ceiling, creating a soft glow over the table.
The diverse menu holds no restrictions for the diner, allowing breakfast to be ordered at any time of day.  Options on the menu vary from salads, sandwiches and burgers, to steak, ribs, seafood and pasta, and prices range from about $10 to $20.
If you happen to visit the Prospector between Thursday and Sunday, the Prime Rib is featured, and is a specialty of the Prospector.  Prices range from $16.95 for a 10 ounce cut to $29.95 for a 20 ounce. 
Selected to showcase for an appetizer was the Prospector Nachos.  Presented to the table in a tin pan, the Prospector Nachos consist of tortilla chips topped with ground beef, nacho cheese, onions, tomatoes, black olives and jalapenos, served with salsa and sour cream on the side.
The nacho toppings were proportionate to the amount of salty, crisp tortilla chips that lined the bottom of the pan, and the flavors of the entire pan blended well.
Unfortunately, on this particular night, the Prospector was short on supply, which consequently limited the dining options and portion size of the appetizer.
Based on the description, the Saloon Burger was chosen for an entrĂ©e.  Described as a “burger to die for”, the Saloon Burger is a 1/3 pound patty seasoned to perfection and stuffed with Roquefort cheese.
Served alongside a pile of golden, fluffy French fries, the juicy Saloon Burger was enough to satisfy any hunger.  The seasonings added a perfect touch to the burger, giving it a distinct, garlic and onion flavor.  The flavor of the cheese was infused throughout the stuffed burger, allowing for a smoky taste in each bite.
The only option for dessert this night at the Prospector was a slice of Blueberry Pie.  Brought to the table on a glass plate, the slice of pie, much to my disappointment, did not reflect the quality one would expect from the Prospector.  Lacking a fresh taste, the crust tasted stale and the blueberries lacked much of a taste at all.  Leaving much to be desired, this slice of blueberry pie tasted like it had spent too much time in the display case.
The Prospector Saloon and Gaming Parlor is a beautiful establishment and the atmosphere is enjoyable.  The friendly staff greets you upon entry, and they have the ability to work as a team for their patrons.  Regardless of who is waiting on you, any staff member is willing to help you if you have a need. 
Although this was not a night of exemplary food quality, compensations were made on behalf of the Prospector in an effort to make the night an enjoyable one. 

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