Rating: 3.5 cows
Nestled in the heart of south Culver City right next to a Del Taco is the famous yet seemingly unknown George Petrelli Steakhouse. Owned by the Petrelli family since 1931, this landmark has a loyal following of satisfied patrons. Unlike some of the other historic places we've been, it's clear that Petrelli's has been updated over the years. The interior is reminiscent of a hotel restaurant. High-backed booths fill out the dining area, the walls are off-white and the carpet is dark. The bar is adequately stocked and the tender will make you what you want but this is not a place to indulge in cocktail exploration. Stick to the basics and you'll do fine.
Petrelli's prides itself on offering high quality steaks at "family prices". Indeed your wallet will thank you after a visit here, steaks range from about $30-40 and all include a salad, soup, bread, potato, and veggies. Suffice it to say you won't leave here hungry. Among the 4 of us we ordered the NY Strip, the extra big Porterhouse, and the Cowboy bone-in Rib Eye. We all started with the Ceasar salad, which while certainly not in the upper echelon of salads, was more than adequate and would prove to be an early indication of what was to come.
The steaks were generously portioned and came with sauteed vegetables and potato (we all ordered the baked potato). Normally at a mid-range establishment, our experience has found the steaks to be overcooked, if slightly. Not the case at Petrelli's. We all ordered medium-rare, and every one arrived closer to rare than medium. This was a pleasant surprise, since there's just no excuse for an overcooked piece of meat. It would have been nice if the steaks were a bit hotter; while they were cooked just as we liked, they were without the nice char that you get from a really nice searing. So they don't grill their steaks in an 1800 broiler like Peter Luger's, but they were very good, surprisingly so. The baked potato was served piping hot (hotter than the steak) and our server personally topped each potato with our chosen mix of fat and cholestorol. The vegetables were flavored but overcooked and unremarkable.
Another nice surprise at Petrelli's was the hot fudge sundae on the dessert menu. Perhaps the most classic dessert, this gem is not often on the steakhouse menu. We jumped all over this one, and soon after regretted our choice to do so. The fudge was sitting in a pool around the base of the ice cream instead of being poured on top, the ice cream had freezer burn, and they charged $0.50 extra for a tablespoon of peanuts sprinkled on top. Not exactly the experience we hoped for.
But thankfully for Petrelli's, the sundae was but a sidenote. The steaks were good and priced well. Of all the historic Steakhouses we've been so far, George Petrelli's is one of the best if not the best. We were a little disappointed that the decor wasn't original but we can't really blame them for updating their look over the years. And in terms of a budget steakhouse, you'd really be hard-pressed to do much better than Petrelli's. We would certainly eat there again.