Essay by Walter Kim

One of the two functioning businesses in Logan, Montana—a half-deserted railroad town located 25 miles west of Bozeman between Interstate 90 and the Gallatin River—is the Land of Magic Steakhouse, an establishment I discovered 20 years ago while taking a solitary winter drive. I'd just moved to Montana from New York City and was still licking my wounds after a breakup. The modest log building with elk horns over its entrance, rusty wagon wheels leaning against a fence, and a parking lot filled with dusty, hardworking pickups struck me as a good spot to grab a bite, wash it down with a cocktail (maybe two), and ease my loneliness for an hour or so. Despite the restaurant's charming, immodest name, I didn't expect much by way of food or atmosphere. All I wanted was company, a little warmth.

I got the last two. I also got a steak—a rib-eye cut on a band saw in the basement and rubbed with a secret blend of spices—that I keep going back for, even now, usually in the company of friends who don't believe my over-the-top enthusiasm when we first sit down in the dining room, whose walls are covered with brands from local ranches and an assortment of lodgelike wildlife paintings. Retro? No. At least not consciously. With its lacquered wooden tables and arugula-free midcentury supper-club menu, the Land of Magic is ageless and relaxed, a perfect place for low-profile self-indulgence.