Next Steakout



#6 Tony's - West Hollywood (closed)

Rating: 3.75 cows


Tony's was our first foray into the steak-rich area of Los Angeles knowns as West Hollywood. And no, that's not a clever euphemism to the other thing that West Hollywood is known for.

We arrived on a Sunday evening and told the waiter we were waiting for a few others in our party so we'd just order drinks at the table to start. This wasn't a problem since we were the only ones in the restaurant. The ambiance is quite nice. It's classy without being stuffy or formal. The dining room is dark woods, lit by a combination of candles and some interesting old-timey lights with big filaments suspended from the ceiling; very reminiscent of The Edison in Little Tokyo. Music was provided by a DJ, and the volume was appropriate that we could hear each other talk. We were seated in a large, round, comfy booth in the corner where we could take in the whole restaurant.

The steaks themselves were good, but not great. The waiter seemed to have a difficult time getting the orders exactly right, which is somewhat understandable when you have 7 people at a table, but then not so much when you consider it's the only table you're serving all night.The cuts were very good, and the steaks were cooked well, though not quite to perfection. Two steaks arrived cold, and the mashed potatoes had to be sent back to be warmed up. Again, with 7 steaks it's difficult to heat them all perfectly, but again there were no other steaks to cook in the restaurant.

Overall the place seems to be struggling, but their steaks are good and their prices reasonable. It would be interesting to go back at a time when the place had more people to see how the experience might change, but if this economy and the number of patrons on a Sunday night is any indication, making that trip in the very near future could be your only chance.

We regret to mention, though we can't say we're too surprised that since our meal at Tony's, the restaurant has since closed its doors.

 Tonys Photos


#5 Black Angus - Burbank

Rating: 1 cow


Black Angus is not known as a truly great steakhouse, and we all found out exactly why. Well, to be honest we knew this going in, but we were hoping to be as surprised by this budget restaurant as we were by Outback. Unfortunately for us, our mediocre expectations went hopelessly unfulfilled.

The evening began innocently enough with a few drinks at the bar, while the local sports teams battled it out and we sipped our Happy Hour-priced libations. The restaurant was particularly quiet on this Wednesday evening; our hostess snaked around the high-backed booths and settled on one large enough to accommodate all 6 of us comfortably.

We sat there for about 15 minutes with no waitress, no water, and without the bread she promised would "be right out". It's not as if the place was busy, in fact we couldn't see any other patrons from our booth. We ordered and when the steaks arrived we were disappointed yet again. All of our steaks were overcooked and tough. The cuts were thin and just did not look fresh, nor did they taste fresh. Lucky for us the waitress came back a few minutes later and offered us steak sauce, which we eagerly accepted, thus cementing the steaks at Black Angus at the very bottom of the experience (thus far).

The value is questionable because although the prices are low and the side dishes are included with your steak, the steaks are just not good and the sides are mediocre at best. Given the rather uninspired atmosphere and slow service, it's hard to find anything redeeming about this restaurant.

After our meal we mentioned to one of the employees about our endeavor and she asked us how it ranked among the other steakhouses. "Top 5!" we replied. We just neglected to tell her it was only the 5th place we'd been to at the time. Here's to hoping that our experiences only go up from here.

Black Angus Photos


#4 Fleming's - LA Live

Rating: 3.5 cows


Flemings is a fairly well-known steakhouse chain with locations across the country. Firmly ensconced in the "cheaper-than-Morton's-yet-more-pricey-than-Outback" category, the restaurant has the potential to hit the sweet spot of value and flavor. For the most part, Flemings delivered on this promise, but it wasn't a perfect experience.

We arrived at our reservation time and were seated promptly, even though the restaurant was quite crowded. This newest Flemings location is situated in the much-ballyhooed new LA Live entertainment complex right next door to the Staples Center. The decor was nice, but nothing really stood out. It didn't have the same vibe as a super high end place but it didn't feel kitschy either. The waiter was attentive, but perhaps showed a little too much interest in the hostess as compared with our table. His spirits were visibly dashed when he learned that many of us would be taking advantage of the "filet trio" special. It was clear he'd rather we order everything a la carte, and it showed.

When he realized that we weren't going to back down, he redoubled his efforts and things were better from then on out. The filet trio included a tasting of 3 wines to go with 3 petite filets, each with a different preparation. Each of the filets was cooked to perfection, although the problem with multiple steaks is that they cool much quicker so the overall experience is lacking a bit. The other steaks were cooked well, and while we all found the steaks to be very tasty, they didn't leave an exceptional impression with us.

It was a largely enjoyable experience, and definitely a very "good" place that will serve you a very good steak at a good price. You probably won't have the steak of your life here, but you're also not going to pay for it like it's your last meal.

Flemings Photos


#3 Outback - Burbank

Rating: 3.75 cows


Everyone has heard the commercials. "No rules, just right!" Yes, they're annoying and give us flashbacks of Paul Hogan brandishing a Bowie knife. But there's some truth in that statement. Outback isn't trying to outclass the competition ("no rules"); they're just trying to make a great steak ("just right"). But while much maligned among serious steak connoisseurs, we found that Outback is very deserving of their place on the list of great restaurants.

We know what you're thinking, and trust us when we tell you this was one of the best experiences we've had. We arrived on a Sunday to find it was all-day happy hour, not a bad way to start things off. Outback is casual. Really casual. The notion of a dress code probably extends only as far as the "no shirt, no shoes, no service" rule will take you, and even then we're not sure it would be enforced too strictly.

Of course we loaded up with beer and appetizers to get things going, and when a giant deep-fried and sliced onion is staring you in the face, you know you're in for tasty treat. The service was brisk and friendly, pretty much what you'd expect at a joint like this. Also as you'd expect from a casual steakhouse, the steaks all come with sides, and the prices are very reasonable. None of the steaks on the menu was over $30.

The steaks themselves were prepared quite well, with a nice dry rub to enhance the natural flavor of the meat. The cuts were well-sized and were of good, if not excellent quality. Everyone enjoyed his steak, the taste was better than any of us really expected. One thing that was lacking was the cooking however. If there's one element to steak that seems to vary the most, it's the cooking. Outback's steaks were all more or less medium, they didn't seem to differentiate between the nuances of the medium-rare. And I'd hate to take a chance on what a 'rare' steak might come out looking like.

That said, the experience was overwhelmingly positive for everyone. Perhaps it was our low expectations, perhaps it was the Happy Hour beers, but we all left satisfied and for much less than at either of our previous stakeouts. It was truly a pleasant surprise, and without question the best value we could have hoped for. If you're in the market for a budget steakhouse, Outback is currently our choice. We haven't been to Black Angus yet, but for us Outback really was just right.

Outback Photos


#2 Morton's - Beverly Hills

Rating: 4 cows


Perhaps one of the most widely-known of the upper-class steakhouses, it seems that many people say that the best steak they've ever had was at a Morton's. Not taking this endeavor lightly, Morton's was our second stakeout. There is certainly a lot of expectations at a place like this, but for the most part Morton's was a really excellent experience.

The decor of the place is very much that of a place where lots of people in business suits go to talk about how much money they're making. The wait staff even treats you like that even if you're clearly not. There's certainly no bones made about how much you're likely to spend here, but they do have prices on their menus which is nice.

The waiter presented us with the visual menu, displaying saran-wrapped choice cuts of steak and seafood, including a live lobster. It was a nice gimmick, but we weren't there for the lobster. The wine list is expansive and expensive, we opted for a single magnum against our waiter's wishes who would rather have had us ordered two. This was definitely the right choice for us, if not for our palates than for our wallets.

The steaks were all expertly cooked and seasoned. They were absolutely delicious and it was obvious that these cows did not die in vain. Perhaps the only knock against the steaks themselves was with the double porterhouse ($104). Split between two people, this monster cut is sliced at the table, which is really a nice little gimmick. While the steak was still cooked to perfection, it was divided vertically through the cut instead of horizontally within the cut. Thus the two porterhouses were not quite the same.

While the steak was unquestionably outstanding, the price tag was equally so. This is certainly not a place to go for any sort of value, but if money is truly no option then you will not be disappointed, and it just might be the best steak you ever eat. However, most of us do have to consider price when we dine out, and it was difficult for us to justify the price over a place like Ruth's Chris which is very good in its own right and will leave your wallet a little heavier. But there are many more places to try.

Morton's Photos