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Wednesday
Dec222010

#14 North Woods Inn - Rosemead

Rating: 3 cows

 

If you live in the greater Los Angeles area, you've probably seen one of the three Clearman's North Woods Inn restaurants. They're the ones built to look like a log cabin, with snow on the roof year-round—certainly something that stands out in southern California. The interior follows the same design theme, featuring a very informal setting with unpainted wooden tables and floors, animal heads on the wall, and signs encouraging you to throw your peanut shells on the floor. You could see a patron here wearing fringed leather and a coonskin hat and it wouldn't seem at all out of place.

Our evening started off on the wrong foot, as we were seated almost 20 minutes later than our reservation. Admittedly we were a party of 12, but the reservation was made weeks in advance and the restaurant was far from full. This was compounded by the fact that it took an additional 8 minutes after being seated before any wait staff came out to talk to us.

Fortunately, things improved from that point. Our waitress was very competent, and the drink and food orders all came out in a timely manner. The menu featured several steaks, including "steak chunks on skewer" and a "lumberjack steak," but our group ordered more traditional cuts: filet mignon, ribeye, new york strip, and porterhouse. The menu also deserves a special Steakout nod for stating "we do not recommend cooking steaks past medium as they tend to lose their flavor." We couldn't agree more!

This review would be remiss if it did not mention the cheese bread, which is included as an appetizer with every dinner. Not only is it cheesy, warm, and delicious, but you can eat as much as you want. They will even bring you out a whole basket to take home with your leftovers. You're likely to have other leftovers, because in addition to the cheese bread every dinner also includes two different salads, a rice pilaf, and a baked potato, all of which come in generous portions.

The steaks themselves were merely average. The weakest point may have been the the cuts—most of the meat had a lot of fat on the edges. Including one of the filets, which is highly unusual for that cut. The quality of the meat was average; not particularly juicy, tender, or flavorful but also not dry or tough. The steaks were cooked on a grill without very much seasoning.

North Woods Inn is a restaurant that lives on its rustic theme and provides a great deal of quantity at the expense of quality. This is not to say that the food is bad—it is merely unremarkable, with the exception of the delicious cheese bread. The prices, ranging from $24 - $36 for steaks, are reasonable for the amount of food that you receive. It is certainly worth at least one visit to enjoy the frontier lodge theme, but come hungry - and be sure to take home some cheese bread.

North Woods Inn Photos

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