The words of Stephanie Milton, Director of Special Events for the Branson Tourism Center, came to mind recently while celebrating an anniversary at the Level 2 Steakhouse (Level 2), located on the second level of the Branson Convention Center Hilton Hotel. She said, â€œBranson is a great place to celebrate special events. Its variety of shows, attractions, activities, facilities and dining provides an unparalleled opportunity to create a special, enjoyable and memorable experience for just about any special celebration.â€
An awful lot of special celebrations involve dining. As this writer sat in the Level 2 Steakhouse celebrating an anniversary with two close friends recently, he could not help but think, â€œIt doesnâ€™t get much more â€˜special, enjoyable or memorableâ€™ than this.â€
Our special evening started by driving up to the main entrance of the beautiful Branson Convention Center Hilton and receiving complimentary concierge parking as part of our Level 2 dining experience. After a short walk across the lobby and up one level we were sitting at our table enjoying the intimate and comfortable atmosphere of the Level 2 within less than five minutes.
As is the case with many of the great experiences of life, it is the attitude of the people involved that make the experience. In this case, our server, Tamas Papp, provided the perfect blend of service and efficiency with a friendly and professional personality. Throughout the evening we had the feeling that he was there to do whatever he could to give us the best dining experience possible and the combination of his service, the excellence of the food and overall atmosphere of the Level 2 did just that.
The Level 2 has a full wine list and full bar service and an ala carte menu that has oneâ€™s mouth watering just reading it. We started out with two appetizers which were shared. One was the Calamari which was lightly battered and served with a Key Lime Miso Mayo. The other was the Pan Seared Hawaiian Ahi Tuna which was perfectly seared rare and served on a Himalayan Pink Salt Slab with a Lemon Grass Soy Reduction, Pickled Ginger, Wasabi, Sweet Chili mayo and charred pineapple salsa. Both were excellent and a wonderful indication of what was to follow.
Two of us had the Iceberg Wedge with Maytag Blue Cheese, cherry tomatoes, bacon, black olives, sunflower seeds, cucumbers and a creamy Blue Cheese dressing. The other two had the Summer Salad with Boucher Farms Bibb Lettuce, fresh strawberries, pineapple, Missouri Goat Cheese, toasted coconut, candied walnuts and vanilla vinaigrette.
As would be expected, the signature item for the restaurant is their 28 day aged Kansas City beef prepared in a 1600 degree radiant oven to seal in the juices. The eight ounce Filet Mignon, cooked to a perfect pink medium and topped with caramelized onions with a BÃ©arnaise sauce on the side was one of the best steaks this writer has ever eaten.
Others in our party enjoyed the Ahi Tuna appetizer served as an entrÃ©e, the Apple Wood Smoked Newman Farms Pork with Egg Noodles and Asparagus and the Grilled Wild King Salmon Filet. To compliment the entrees we shared three of Level 2â€™s sides the Fresh Cut Onion Rings, Steamed Asparagus, and Steamed Broccolini. Everything was perfectly prepared and served.
Just about the time you think that things canâ€™t get any better the two desserts we ordered to share showed up and WOW! Talk about saving the best for last.
The size of the â€œSeven Layer Chocolate Cakeâ€ was huge. The menu describes it as a â€œDecadent Chocolate Cake with Layers of White, Dark and Milk Chocolate Mousse, Raspberry and Strawberry and CrÃ¨me Anglaise Sauce.â€ Our description was simply, â€œDelicious.â€ The second dessert was Level 2â€™s signature dessert, its Missouri Butter Cake. Itâ€™s a gooey moist butter cake with bourbon caramel sauce, fresh berries, vanilla ice cream and fresh whipped cream. Up until that dessert touched this writerâ€™s mouth his all time favorite dessert had been the â€œBread Pudding SoufflÃ©â€ served at Commanders Palace in New Orleans. He now has a new favorite and all he has to do is drive a few blocks to the Level 2 to enjoy it.
This writer is certainly not a food critic, but in his 69 years he has eaten all over the country and Hawaii. The Level 2 Steakhouse dining experience was right up there with his two all time favorites, â€œCommanders Palaceâ€ in New Orleans and â€œJohn Dominisâ€ in Honolulu. The Level 2 Steakhouse is an excellent choice for those who are looking for a special, enjoyable and memorable dining experience whether itâ€™s to celebrate a special occasion or for the pure epicurean pleasure of enjoying one of the best meals they will ever eat.