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Wednesday
Jul262017

#48 The Royce - Pasadena

 


Rating: 4.00 cows

 

Pasadena’s Langham Hotel is a swanky joint which deserves its own swanky restaurant. The hotel’s signature eatery is The Royce, once specializing in New American fare, the space now features an excellent selection of steaks, sides, appetizers and desserts. The latest incarnation led by chef Dominique Shelton opened in 2013.

We started at The Tap Room, the bar across the way from The Royce inside the Langham. They make a pretty good, if expensive ($16) old fashioned and offer a nice assortment of complimentary bar snacks featuring wasabi peas, spiced candied nuts, and mini toasts.

The dining room at The Royce is bright and light with deep blue accents throughout. It’s not a large dining area, and the atmosphere is calm and quiet but not uncomfortably so.

The steak selection at The Royce is lengthy. With over 10 different options from different farms including Australian and authentic Japanese Wagyu, it was an uncommonly tough decision of what to order. We decided to start things off with an appetizer of steak. The Japanese Wagyu clocks in at $30/oz, and us not wearing gold-lined pants decided a small sample would suffice. We split a 4oz tenderloin which was, as you’d expect, brimming with flavor, succulent and juicy, and just incredible. If only we’d been able to order more. 

We also tried the caesar salad and lobster bisque, which were both adequate but not great. The caesar dressing tasted a bit too much like mayonnaise, which is not a flavor profile best accentuated in that context. The anchovies helped round out the flavor, but they appeared to be offered solely as a garnish and not worked into the dressing itself. The lobster bisque was good, but failed to stand out.

For our main courses we split our orders among 6 different cuts. Two rib eyes (one bone-in, one boneless), two strips (one Australian Wagyu, one domestic), and two filets (from different farms). The stars of the night were the filets, both were spectacular and the wood-fired flavor was very noticeable but not overpowering.  The filets were thick and cooked exactly as they should be (rare plus is the new medium rare). The New York strips were also quite tasty, though the thinner cut zapped the flavor ever so slightly. The rib eyes were also very well prepared, both cooked to perfection. The robust smoky aroma seemed a little less prevalent on these but they were both very good steaks. After trying a cross-section of 7 different steaks we feel confident that there are subtle differences between them, but probably not quite enough to justify the higher-end cuts unless you spring for the Japanese Wagyu. All of the steaks here are good, so get the cut you like best and you will be satisfied.

And not just satisfied with cow meat, we also created a DIY surf-and-turf by ordering a crab cake. It was perfectly acceptable, but in our opinion not up to the level of quality of the meat. 

To accompany our meat, we ordered a slew of side dishes. The standout was the brussels sprouts, which were absolutely fantastic, probably the best vegetable side we’ve had yet at any of the steakhouses we’ve been to. Truly extraordinary. Every steakhouse needs to have truffles on the menu somewhere, and The Royce is no exception with its truffled spinach. Surprisingly tasty and not overly powerful, this was another favorite. The creamed corn and mac & cheese got mixed reviews, the corn because of the unusual spices and the mac and cheese because the noodles tasted boiled rather than baked. Last but not least: the french fries. Against our expectations, these hand-cut beauties are actually quite good. While it still feels wrong to pay $8 for them, we have to admit they were one of the better steakhouse french fries we’ve tried so far.

To round out the night, we finished with an order of beignets. These were excellent: a large fluffy inside surrounded by a crisp outer shell, doused in cinnamon and sugar. The chocolate dipping sauce was a perfect accompaniment to this delicious dessert.

The Royce is a great place to get yourself a delicious steak. The service was good, and the selections here are very extensive across a range of price points from about $46-74, which is certainly on the higher end of things, but not outrageously so. We would definitely recommend giving this place a visit. Overall we really enjoyed our food, the atmosphere, and you probably will too. 

The Royce Photos

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