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Arts & Culture

Flavor Moments: Buffalo Block At The Rex

A steak strips next to a glass of red wine
Rick and Nicki Larson opened Buffalo Block at the Rex after more than a year of remodeling October 1st.

In this Flavor Moments we find the answer to Where’s the Beef? Cuts can be found On Montana Avenue at the new Buffalo Block at The Rex. The restaurant opened in 1909 by H. Alfred Heimer and his friend Buffalo Bill Cody is going through another chapter. Rick and Nicki Larson purchased the Rex last spring. After more than a year of remodeling, Buffalo Block at the Rex is due to open October 1.

In the building with the structural bones of yesteryear it now has a new bar, more fine dining, a refrigerator for aging prime meats and an Argentinean wood burning grill. General Manager Mitch Fox shares what guests should be expecting.

“What we’re trying to do is trying to offer an elevated experience to guests that are looking for a place that they can come and still be comfortable and be welcomed in a very warm way without feeling that stuffy pretense that you may experience in a larger city where you may find a restaurant that has the same level as service and same level of cuisine but maybe is not as approachable,” Fox says.

With room for about 100 people for fine and casual dining and 150 more on the patio, Executive Chef Austin Stewart shares what Buffalo Block will be.

“We’re a prime steak house. We do prime steaks. Most places that dry age like we do in house, we use a choice or upper choice cut and dry age. We are 100% prime, which is the top percentage of beef produced in the United States and not a lot of people take care to dry age and cultivate a product like that. It’s great on its own but when you really take it some time, it turns into an outstanding product. So all of our steaks are aged a minimum of 30 days and our dry aged steaks are aged another 30 to 45 days on top of that,” Stewart says.

The process of dry aging concentrates flavor and helps to tenderize meat. Also on the menu is a selection of seafood but the choice of oysters is a step back, honoring the times when Heimer was heading up the Rex.

“That was one of the items that when I got hired and I learned about the history of the building I kind fell in love with it. To continue the tradition of the Rex here in Billings, it's an honor,” Stewart says.

To accompany the steaks there is choice of sauces from a creamy horseradish, gorgonzola cream and Bernaise. For side dishes there’s baked potato, fries and vegatables.

"Our featured side dish is lobster mac and cheese, knuckle and claw lobster and then it’s a smoked gouda, smoked cheddar and Havarti blend that we use with a little bit of parmesan and it's absolutely out of this world. It mirrors the smoky flavor that we get out of our wood grill steaks and it's an awesome pairing,” Stewart says.

The next time you might be craving a fine cut of beef accompanied with fine and approachable service, wander on down to Buffalo Block at the Rex, due to open on October 1.