BEN’S BITES: Thunderbird provides prime experience | Coronavirus

Editor’s note: This is a commentary feature by Ben Destefan, Courier Express editor, titled “Ben’s Bites” that is intended to support local restaurants while giving the new resident and his wife recommendations of places to eat. Readers can submit suggestions to: [email protected]

Prime rib is my favorite food.

So, my wife was sincere when she asked what I thought after my first bite at the Thunderbird Restaurant this week.

My subtle grin said it all.

I had yet to order prime rib since relocating to DuBois. That was partially because I hold the dish in such high regard, but I was also waiting to go somewhere that “specialized” in this beautiful cut of beef.

I have received quite a few suggestions for the Thunderbird along Route 322 near Reynoldsville, most recommending my favorite food. As we looked things over, Wednesday jumped out as the obvious night to take advantage of a sensational special.

Looking back, I’m so glad we did.

The special is promoted as “2 for $25, Don’s Famous Prime Rib and Chicken Cordon Bleu.” There is also a mention of “Mo’s crafted cocktails.” We’ll get back to Mo later.

At first glance, that seemed ridiculously cheap. I’ve spent much more than $25 for one cut of prime rib on numerous occasions. So, the concept of $25 for two meals was hard to believe.

Needless to say, it proved to be an incredible value.

Lindsey opted for the chicken, which was served smothered in creamy sauce on a bed of rice. I had my obligatory sample, with the combination of tender chicken and folded ham providing a wholesome moment.

On this night, though, the glorious slab of meat in front of me stole the show.

The beef basically fell apart, offering little resistance to a knife. It was bathed in juices that lined the bottom of the plate, delivering a consistent level of moisture. The cut was also perfectly cooked, having enough fat to infuse distinct flavor while developing a superb outer cap.

The portion size was impressive as well, especially for the price tag.

Simply put, it was fantastic.

As we were finishing our meals, Mo stopped by the table asking if I would like another beer. Instead, I requested one of her “crafted cocktails.” The problem was, her specialties of the night were either pink or peach — neither of which are up my alley. We joked, with Mo saying, “yeah, (a photo of me) might end up in the paper.” Little did she know, she was talking to the guy from the paper. Seconds later, I introduced myself.

Mo returned with a stout mixture involving rum and ginger ale, which was more my style. On a non-work night, I would have ordered another.

The cocktail — and meeting Mo — was a fitting end to a great experience.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the unique cheese ball appetizer that adds a nice touch while waiting for your main course.

We will absolutely be back.

———

For your favorite restaurant, which may have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, to be considered for “Ben’s Bites,” please email recommendations to: [email protected] Local, family-owned restaurants that receive the most reader recommendations will be given priority. Please include the name of the restaurant and a favorite menu option. “Ben’s Bites” will run weekly or every two weeks.

Janelle B. Smith

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