Silver Fox

After a sort of crazy cat-sitting assignment for a colleague (crazy in that my husband agreed to make a 10-mile roundtrip twice daily so a couple of very pampered cats could have a fresh litter box every 12 hours), we scored a really generous gift card—to a steakhouse. As the set of season football tickets in my name would indicate, I am unwilling to pass up on an opportunity to get out—even if it involves sports or steakhouses. In fact, I kind of like steakhouses. Everyone thinks you're an unbelievably good sport just to go. And I’ve found that steakhouses pay a lot of attention to their salads and side dishes. And in general, the waiters are pleasant if slightly befuddled when set to the task of devising a vegetarian plate. They seem to take it as some sort of kooky challenge, and most rise to the occasion very capably, because, as it turns out, they have a lot to draw from. This was certainly true at Silver Fox on University Drive, which has the wood-paneled décor and dim lighting that people seem to like in a steakhouse. I started with a green salad with sliced apples, roasted pecans, and blue cheese (known as their Three Forks Salad). And for the main course, I just ordered what the steaks there come with, and added a side of broccoli gratin in place of the meat. It was more than I could eat: Fresh, crisp-tender creamed corn, sugar snap peas, red peppers, and mashed potatoes. My only setback came when the manager made a joke about how I should just pick the bacon out of the broccoli gratin, which I laughed at but immediately began worrying about. Not sure whether to take the comment seriously (it was overloaded with cheese so really hard to tell by looking), I had my husband, who serves as my personal meat-detector at restaurants and parties, taste it. He said it was safe, and so it was. There’s also a decent wine list, and servers make the rounds with huge platters of green onions and fresh sliced tomatoes, which are so good this time of year.