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#29 Billingsley's - West LA

Rating: 2.5 cows


Established in 1946, Billingsley’s is a West Los Angeles steak house with a décor and atmosphere exactly as you’d expect from a restaurant of that era. If you’re thinking Musso & Frank’s or The Buggy Whip, you’re in the right frame of reference. At the entrance hangs a signed picture of Barbara Billingsley of “Leave it to Beaver” fame as her sons were the ones who started in the restaurant business in nearby Van Nuys before opening this location.

The setting is old but comfortable and the service friendly and prompt. The clientele: mostly older, mostly regulars. We thought a place with as rich history as Billingsley's would be busier, but the place was rather empty. There’s a bar area where you can grab a very inexpensive drink and watch the game. The drinks won’t be the most amazing but for the price, they're certainly decent.

A glance at the food menu shows that there’s plenty of cuts to choose from, all modestly priced. Most everything is about $30 and that includes a soup or salad, side dish, and garlic cheese toast. As usual we ordered a number of different steaks including the New York, Filet Mignon, and the Porterhouse. All cuts were cooked exactly to order (medium rare) but severely lacked any distinguishable flavor. For an additional $1.95 you can add a bleu cheese crumble or other sauce, but none of us took this option. If this is the only way to get a decent flavor on a steak, perhaps the server should have let us know. We tend to not recommend returning to locations where steak sauce is necessary.

The side dishes were not spectacular, about average or maybe below that depending on what you order. For the same price, North Woods gives you a colossal sized baked potato and unlimited (and much tastier) garlic cheese toast. One of the more disappointing aspects of the meal aside from the flavorless steak, was the Caesar salad. The dressing is clearly bottled and wasn’t even tossed into the salad. The croutons were easily the best part of the salad, which is saying something. Those who chose the split pea soup fared a little better.

When all is said and done and you need a steak to fill your empty stomach, Billingsley’s can do it for not too much money, but the question of flavor comes to mind and there are quite a handful of places that can provide that for the same price. Billingsley’s seems like a place that is resisting change in order to satisfy their older loyal customers, but what it’s clearly not doing is winning over the younger “foodie” generation. With so many choices out there, Billingsley’s needs to try a little harder… especially with their steak. And that Caesar salad.

Billingsley's Photos

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