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#33 The Derby - Arcadia

Rating: 4 cows


On our delicious journey of steak, we’ve come to realize that just about every steakhouse falls into one of two categories: steaks priced at roughly $40+ each and served à la carte, or steaks priced at around $25-40 which include a vegetable and potato side, and often a salad as well. The former are considerably better, but commensurately more expensive. The latter are fine if you’re on a budget, but we have a hard time recommending anything in that class. We’ve visited over 30 steakhouses and have yet to find a true mid-range steakhouse that we would recommend.

Until now.

Situated in Arcadia near the famous Santa Anita Racetrack, The Derby has been around since 1922 and is closely associated with the legendary George Woolf. Most of us didn't know who he was either, but if you're a big fan of thoroughbred horse racing (or if you've seen the movie Seabiscuit) you probably know Woolf as the famous jockey who rode Seabiscuit to victory against the heavily favored triple crown champion War Admiral.  Which is great if you're into that sort of thing, but we're much more interested in cows than in horses.

The interior is very old-school, and we like it. This is a restaurant that has been open for over 90 years and still does good business. Some of the highlights are exposed brick walls, vaulted ceilings with wood beams, and red tufted leather booths. On top of that is a (very) healthy dollop of horse-racing-themed decor, as well as a large trophy case near the main entrance. There is a nice feeling of classiness without being overly formal, pretentious, or trendy.

A bar sits adjacent to the main dining area with its own dining section. Unfortunately the one thing that seem to hold this older places back is the bar staff. The Derby is no exception here, with their version of an Old Fashioned (Seabiscuit) and Manhattan (Secretariat) being drinkable, but not very good. Fortunately the food here is much better, and we were all very impressed with our meals.

As stated before, the prices are smack-dab in the middle of the board. Steaks run about $35-50 but include sides and delicious garlic cheese bread. All of our steaks were cooked to perfection. The French Cut rib eye was a standout here, with outstanding flavor and a beautiful warm red center. The filet, NY strip, and standard rib eye were all winners as well. The Derby is not a place to expect a life-changing steak; the quality is noticeably lesser than what you’ll get at the à la carte places, but this is a steak we can heartily recommend that won’t break your bank. We had a great time and would gladly come back. You should too.

The Derby Photos

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