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#43 Monty's Prime - Woodland Hills

Rating: 4.00 cows


Monty’s Prime Steakhouse sits just south of the bustling 101 freeway in Woodland Hills. It’s been there for over 70 years, offering steaks to hungry Angelenos.

We’ve been to a number of classic steakhouses, and the recipe is usually the same: dark wood, naugahyde, geriatric wait staff, moderate prices, and relatively mediocre food. Monty’s broke the mold and set a new precedent for how an old restaurant can age gracefully without falling prey to the crippling nostalgia that we’ve seen too often.

Walking into Monty’s, you can tell this place has been here awhile. It’s dark, yes, but there are plasma TVs all over the bar area, which is not terribly separated from the dining areas. The bar acts as sort of a centerpiece, and it’s here we get our first sense that this might not be your typical old-world steakhouse.

The drinks were hit and miss. Hit the generously-poured manhattans but miss the orange-muddled and watery old fashioneds. Beer and wine are on offer as well for those less adventurously-minded. There’s no cocktail menu, and while it’s clear that the bartender knew what he was doing and had been there awhile, you’re not going to get an expertly-crafted libation at this joint.

The dining room was cozy and our waitress was attentive and kind. We even got a visit from the owner, who took interest in our humble endeavor and spent some time chatting with us. It was a wonderful gesture and he seemed like a genuinely nice person.

Given our experiences with older steakhouses, we weren’t quite sure what to expect from the food. There were a number of bone-in options including a filet and rib-eye as well as a porterhouse (natch). Prices at Monty’s are higher than most, but not outrageous. We ordered our steaks “rare-plus” across the board, among them the NY Strip, petit filet, bone-in filet, porterhouse, and bone-in ribeye.

In short: these steaks were fantastic. Rare-plus is probably a tougher cook than medium-rare, and these guys nailed it. All of our steaks were cooked right and exhibited lush flavors. The blue cheese butter was a bit much on the bone-in filet but it wasn’t hard to brush it aside. The steaks came with a great crust, mildly seasoned to really bring out the flavor of the meat. Each one was delicious.

To start we had the caesar salad, pear & goat cheese salad, and the classic wedge. The caesar was quite good; among the better ones we’ve tried, but not in the highest echelon like Nick & Stef’s. The others were fine, but not particularly standouts. With our steaks we ordered the creamed corn, broccoli, spinach, au gratin potatoes, and french fries. The creamed corn was the standout here, while the garlic spinach was also very tasty. The others were perfectly fine, except for the $8 french fries which once again were a disappointment. The serving size for the fries was bigger than we’re used to, but they just weren’t that good. I wish I could say we were surprised.

For dessert we ordered the classic sundae, a chocolate fudge cake, caramel brownies, and a berry plate with ice cream. All of these were very good as well, with the brownies being the standout here. Nothing too fancy, just good flavors all around.

We arrived at Monty’s with some questions, and the answers we got were very satisfying. There’s no question the steaks they’re serving now are of much better quality than the ones available 70 years ago when they first opened their doors. And hats off to them for evolving with the times instead of maintaining the status quo of what they’d done in the past. Many old steakhouses suffer because of that. If you find yourself in the Woodland Hills area and you got a hankerin’ for a steak, you should do your tastebuds a favor and drop in for a meal. 

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