Next Steakout



#11 Taylor's - Koreatown

Rating: 3.75 cows


Every restaurant has its own personality, but there are definitely archetypes out there which bring familiarity and comfort. There's the family restaurant with kitschy crap all over the walls. There's the Chinese restaurant with pink tablecloths and semicircular brass-colored sconces. Steakhouses have one too: red naugahyde booths, dark wood paneling, low lighting, and the conspicuous absence of windows of any kind. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Taylor's.

Taylor's has been a Los Angeles institution since 1953, and the decor hasn't changed a bit since it opened. The seating area is cozy, and the 6 of us sat nicely around a circular table. It was dark, which can certainly be a good thing but this was teetering on the edge of what we thought was tolerable. We started with appetizers—the onion rings were edible but clearly frozen and tasted rather bland. The Ranch dressing was practically necessary here. The split-pea soup (of the day) and crab cakes were decent but certainly nothing to write home about.

The steaks were definitely very decent. They were cooked well; the chef clearly knew the difference between medium and medium-rare. The steaks were seasoned appropriately, enough to enhance the flavor but not overpowering. The steaks were sized adequately, but the flavor was lacking more than we'd like. It wasn't that they were bad, it was just that they weren't remarkable. The price was certainly good; the side dishes came with the steak so we certainly didn't break the bank. The wait staff was a little hard to understand, though they had clearly worked there for many years. Overall it was a good meal, but it's not a place that inspired us to really want to return. If you happen to live in the area though, this might be a great neighborhood place to stop by now and again.

Taylor's Photos


#10 Cut - Beverly Hills

Rating: 5 cows


Once in a great while there occurs an experience that changes you. For better or worse, it permanently alters your view of the world and leaves an indelible mark of that place and time. It has been over a year since we began our journey of steak, and while that journey is far from over, it is hard to imagine any experience eclipsing the one we had at Wolfgang Puck's landmark Cut in Beverly Hills.

Cut is located in the Beverly Wilshire hotel, right at the crossroads of decadence and indulgence. Cocktails at the adjacent Sidebar were accompanied by an array of snacks including olives, candied almonds, and homemade potato chips. Their selection is ample but not exhaustive, and their bartenders are knowledgeable and more than competent with a shaker.

Across the entryway from the bar is the main dining room for Cut. The split-level seating area is light-colored with wood floors, overblown photographs of celebrities with indifferent glances adorn the walls and the menus. The wait staff is professional and polite; all five of our steaks were plated simultaneously by five different people. Our waiter greeted us with the sort of friendly tone you might expect from the Olive Garden, asking us if we'd been there before. That's not to say that he wasn't up to the task, however. The thing about Cut is that it really lacks any sort of pretense. The atmosphere is the epitome of casual elegance, and about the only hint you may be sitting next to one of the people immortalized on the walls are the prices on the menu. The place is rather loud, much more than you'll find at Morton's or Ruth's Chris, but it's for a good reason: everyone is thoroughly enjoying themselves and certainly their food, and it's just a very comfortable place to be. Steaks begin in the $40 range and go up from there.

Cut is not a place to go if you are even the slightest bit nervous of whether you will get every penny's worth out of your meal, or if the steak is really worth twice what you paid at Ruth's Chris. And the thing is, if you go in with the right attitude you're likely to appreciate it all the more.

Our waiter brought by a sampling of the steaks they had on offer, pointing out the intense marbleization on the Australian Wagyu NY steak. Our eyes widened as we pondered the price per ounce and came to the conclusion we should order a sixth steak to share, partially in honor of our comrade Brock who was unable to join us for what could easily be described as one of the most satisfying dining experiences any of us has had.

Among us five we ordered five different steaks: the 16oz bone-in filet, NY sirloin, 16oz boneless ribeye, 20oz bone-in ribeye, and the 8oz filet. Rounding out the list was the Wagyu, of which we each enjoyed a tantalizing 1.2 oz. What do you say about steaks that are nearly perfect? All were ordered medium-rare, and all arrived cooked to absolute perfection, save the 16oz ribeye which was a little more medium than rare. The tops of the steaks were blackened and seasoned just enough to flavor but not overpower the taste of the cut. The cuts themselves were expertly sized in both shape and thickness. They offered an array of mustards to accompany the steaks, but unless you came for the mustard (note: you did not come for the mustard), there's just no point. To say the steaks tasted fantastic was an understatement. They were all spectacular, especially the Wagyu.

If you've never had Wagyu before, you may be wondering if it's really that much better than an "ordinary" steak. There's no question the Wagyu is a taste apart from the other cuts, and if you like steak you should probably make a point of at least trying some if you get the chance. You don't have to worry about not being able to taste the difference. The question is whether you're in a position to indulge yourself so decadently. If I were you and found myself in such a position, I would not pass it up.

We ordered 3 side dishes for the table, and both the sauteed spinach and mac & cheese were terrific. Truth be told the french fries were good, but easily the weakest part of the meal. We declined the dessert menu, but were brought a selection (six, oddly enough) of house made confectionery including custard, toffee & almonds, and of course chocolate.

About the only blemish on the evening came at the very end while one of us waited for his car to be returned from the valet. It took them about 40 minutes to find the car, and they did do the right thing by forgiving the $12 valet fee. But after what we paid inside, we expected much more after stepping outside.

When we started this journey more than a year ago, I don't think we thought there could be an experience so amazing that it would warrant a 5-cow rating across the board. That all changed after dining at Cut. When giving our ratings, barely a second thought was needed. Even with considerations for the price, we have nothing but the highest of praise for this fine establishment. Well done Mr. Puck, it was truly our pleasure.

Cut Photos


#9 Jar - Mid-City West

Rating: 4 cows


Jar bills itself as a modern chophouse with cozy feel of a neighborhood supper club.  The description fits.  

As you walk into Jar, you're struck with a certain warmth.  The wood walls, low lights, and throwback decor are inviting and lack even a hint of pretense.  We assembled the Steak Club on a Tuesday night and the restaurant was full; that's usually a good sign. We started with drinks at the bar as the party trickled in. One commenter slurred that the whiskey selection was decent. That's high praise from a man drinking from a brown paper bag.

The steaks at Jar received generally high marks. We ordered the 10 oz. filet of beef, 14 oz. prime rib-eye, and 16 oz. dry-aged prime Kansas City steak. The steaks were generally ordered medium-rare and came both cooked to order and served at temperature. Many steakhouses can't get this right, so we were happy off the bat.  

The filet was excellent and well seasoned. The rib-eye had a good amount of marbelization, but was a bit fatty along the edges. The center had a some choice meat but the amount of fat caused one reviewer to wonder if he ordered lard. Finally, the Kansas City steak was a good piece of meat, but the reviewer would have preferred more seasoning.  

As with other steak houses we've visited, Jar offers a number of premium steak sauces to pair with the meat.  They range from the usual (green peppercorn, Bearnaise, lobster Bearnaise, and horseradish) to the unexpected (spicy mustard, tamarind, and lemon caperberry relish). The lobster Bearnaise sauce was subtle and tasty, while green peppercorn sauce was overpowering and too much. At least one diner commented that the steak's seasoning should have been altered to accommodate a side sauce.

Like the sauces, the side dishes were a mix of classic and different. The mashed potatoes and french fries were good, if a bit pedestrian. The purple yams and beet greens received rave reviews.

Our experience at Jar was a pleasant one and many of us would return for another visit. The service was generally very good, especially for a party of ten. 

Jar Photos


#8 Damon's - Glendale

Rating: 3.25 cows


If you love both steak and chi-chis, you might want to check out Damon's in Glendale. Here you will find the unusual combination of a tiki theme and a steak restaurant. Your steaks and umbrella drinks will be served in a dining room decorated with bamboo, faux huts with thatched roofs, and polynesian trinkets. The result? in a word, "fun."

At the bar, we sampled the featured drinks - the mai-tai and the chi-chi. Both were average, fruity tropical drinks that didn't knock our socks off. We also ordered some tasty coconut shrimp as we waited for the entire group to arrive. As we sipped our drinks and observed the clientele, we noticed a definite trend toward older patrons. This was certainly not a trendy restaurant, but it appeared to be popular enough with the 40+ customers who have likely been dining there for years.

The dinner menu had a selection of 5 basic cuts, all between $20 and $25. Our group sampled the new york steak, the ribeye, the filet, and the "thick juicy tenderloin"; the untested cut was the top sirloin. In addition, some of the filet eaters ordered specials that included either scallops or coconut shrimp. All of the steaks were cooked properly, but weren't among the most flavorful steaks that we've tried. This was probably due to a combination of average meat quality and too-little seasoning. Everyone enjoyed their steak, but nobody was overly impressed. We also had some mixups with the salads, which could perhaps be forgiven considering that we were a party of 11.

Overall, our impression was that Damon's is a fun, kitschy, and reasonably-priced place to eat. It hasn't dislodged Outback as our value steakhouse of choice, but if you're in the mood for a tropical theme or just don't relish dining at a national chain, Damon's is a place you might enjoy.

Damon's Photos


#7 STK - West Hollywood

Rating: 2.75 cows


STK takes a different approach to a steakhouse in that the focus here is all about the sauces that go with your steak, rather then the steak itself. With each steak you order there you can pick one of their 8 sauces for your steak and also purchase an additional sauce for $2. Each of these sauces comes in a little saucer instead of actually being prepared with or for your steak. Everyone in our party had their steaks cooked perfectly to order. However, as the focus is on the sauce, the steaks are not prepared or seasoned in any way. Because of this, the steaks had very little flavor themselves. On top of that the sauces were not that impressive and most of the party ended up eating their steaks without using the sauces that came along with them. It felt that there was an opportunity missed for the steak to be seasoned to reflect the sauce the customer chose for the steak instead of no seasoning what-so-ever.

Of further importance, the steaks are also quite pricey, as this experience is definitely up there in the top 3 most expensive steakhouses that we have reviewed. On the plus side, the entire STK restaurant was packed, so reservations are definitely required. This may be partially due to that STK also has its own nightclub on the premises, which got more crowded as people continued to file in as we dined into the evening. On the negative side, our service continued to get worse as we continued to dine, topped off at the end by the waiter incorrectly charging one of the credit cards in our party by $100. When this was brought up to the waiter, he seemed to be offended when we pointed out his mistake. 

To conclude, STK is great for those that like sauces with their steaks. Most of the restaurant is set up for large party dining (5-10 people), which is great if you want to share sauces with the rest of the members of your party as we did. However, for about $10-20 more we could have dined at Morton's (our top reviewed steakhouse) in which we would've had a better seasoned steak along with much better service.

STK Photos