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Mastro's Report

Mastro's-- Christ-- What a disappointment.

There was just something so gross and artificial about the whole experience, like my worse memories of growing up in the transparent fakeness of South Orange County combined with the daft enthusiasm of a San Antonio queso slinger with a dash of country club cuisine thrown in. The servers seemed like refugees from bad chains with their "happy happy happy " and their "aren't we all having fun attitudes" combined with a total lack of knowledge about food. The hostess was blessed with breasts so large and a conception of grammar so slight that I believe she will go far in this town. Slimy men were everywhere. Bleck.

Caesar was okay with very mild garlic and very mild anchovy. The server had no idea what a coddled egg was let alone if it was in the dressing. After quite a lot of prodding he showed no interest in checking.

Crab-stuffed mushrooms were notable for their large size and watery consistency. Stuffing seemed to be entirely made up of bread.

Sides were swimming in grease. Much praised lobster mashed potatoes had large chunks of chewing, terribly overcooked lobester. Chew; wipe grease of face; chew.

Ordered a new york steak, medium rare. Waiter vague on concepts of aging. It was cooked correctly but arrived in a flotilla of grease with lots of nasty red paprika.

FOR GOD'S SAKE WHY IS THEIR PAPRIKA ON MY STEAK?

What moron came up with that idea? Oh, I know-- BECAUSE YOU CHARGED MY BOSS FORTY DOLLARS FOR A WET-AGED STEAK. Tender, almost squishy texture. Weird sort of livery rather than beefy taste. I associate both flaws with wet aging. Wet aging sucks. Bleck.

Desserts were oversized in that particularly repulsive steakhouse fashion-- it doesn't taste good but what value!

The piano player was quite talented.

I like a good piano player as much as the next person but really-- why on earth do people pay good money for a meal here?

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  1. Appreciate the write-up.

    I've noticed that -- purely as a reader who enjoys prose -- that a really venomous negative review is very often more enjoyable to read than a glowing account.

    1. Judy, which branch of Mastro's was this. It has been reported here that the B.H. branch should be avoided, but that the Orange County branch is much better.

      6 Replies
      1. re: ChinoWayne

        In its defense, we had a totally enjoyable dinner at the BH branch a year ago. Twelve diners, and not a bad dinner in the bunch. Were we just lucky?

        1. re: ChinoWayne

          Wayne- We were at the BH location. Didn't realize there was more than one.

          I forgot to post that it was the martini served in the begining to one of the guests that signaled the end. It came blowing smoke from dry ice. Disgusting. I can almost understand if it was fruity cocktail but a martini? Have they no shame? What an insult to my religous beliefs.

          1. re: JudiAU

            Besides B.H. they have one in Costa Mesa and in Scottsdale. Not sure which one is the original, B.H. or Scottsdale, Costa Mesa came after BH. Here is a thread about the Costa Mesa operation, which seems to get higher marks:
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/32391...

            A martini with dry ice smoke, huh, did the menu list someone responsible for Special Effects? My guess, based upon your and other 'hounds' reports, is that founding management has turned over the B.H. operation to hired hands, which probably consists of actors and screen writers between jobs.

            1. re: ChinoWayne

              Scottsdale was #1, followed by BH, Costa Mesa, and would you believe Thousand Oaks, which just opened a few weeks ago.
              http://www.dailynews.com/dining/ci_47...

              And they also have the seafood place in Newport Beach.

              1. re: carter

                They probably plan to draw in those high rollers from Hidden Hills, Westlake Village and over the hill in Malibu at the Thousand Oaks location. Seems management may be having difficulty maintaining the same quality as they likely turn over the legacy locations to others to run and they probably devote their efforts to each new location.

              2. re: ChinoWayne

                Mastro's just opened recently in Westlake Village...

          2. I have to agree with you. The first time I went to Mastro's in BH, I really did love it. The martini was perfectly made and the steak came out perfectly cooked. But, that was about 4 years ago. I went about a year ago and was sadly disappointed. I don't know if it was my taste that changed or whether it was the restaurant, but I certainly felt like I could have had a much better meal and experience for the over $250 we spent for 2 people.

            1. I just had dinner at Mastro's in Beverly Hills last Sunday and I have to say that I was disappointed. First, the rib-eye I ordered was too salty. I sent it back, but while my replacement was better seasoned, it was also a fattier cut of meat.

              I liked my wedge salad, but it's kind of hard to mess that up. The sides we all ordered and shared included:

              sauteed mushrooms - not much flavor

              sauteed spinach - not much flavor

              mac and cheese - the texture of the cheese was too stringy and the dish just tasted chewy

              lobster mashed potatoes - didn't have much lobster flavor.

              gnocchi and cheese - now that was a good side. If all I had was that with my steak, it would have been just fine.

              I did really enjoy my dessert though. The warm butter cake with ice cream was perfect.

              I also really disliked the ambiance. It was so loud. Between the piano and all the chatter (bad acoustics, perhaps?), I could barely hear myself think.

              I definitely would not return to Mastro's unless someone else was paying. I just think there's better steakhouses around like Dal Rae, for example. Now that restaurant, I wouldn't mind paying through the nose for. It's just that good.

              1. The only steak worth getting at Mastro's is the bone-in ribeye, i.e., chef's cut. I don't bother with the sides because they are almost always gimmicky and overpriced at steakhouses. As for all the "slimy men", well that's the Westside for you.

                1. And I thought our experience at the BH location was a one night thing, but I guess not. The steaks were not bad (NY), the sides were awful, and the "jernt" reminded me of some of "da" places I have been in Las Vegas and the lower east side of NY, years ago, when da mob ran things. If you saw the movie Goodfellows, you know what I mean. Lots of "lsdies of the night" and their fellas and lots of groping going on. We (2 long married couples in our 60's) thought it was hilarous--we were in a good mood, so it was kind of fun, but wouldn't do it again.

                  1. "The hostess was blessed with breasts so large and a conception of grammar so slight that I believe she will go far in this town." WOW! Judi, that is certainly the best phrase I've read in a long while - sorry for your bad meal but I am revelling in the review.

                    1. I finally checked this place out last night (BH location). I had the bone in filet and it was damn good. Asked for medium rare, and got a perfect medium rare on a plate so hot it should have glowed.

                      After reading all these posts, I can see some valid points that I'd agree with. I agree the staff is an odd lot, ranging from look at that creepy dude in the corner to how the hell can she walk upright, but aside from constantly getting bumped into by them as I tried to eat, they didn't bother me. The support staff did sort of give me the vibe of vultures or pigeons. A stray crumb would fall from your fork onto the table, and within seconds someone would be scraping it away into their hand. And I understand real estate is a premium here, but I've not seen a more sardine tin atmosphere.

                      Where I disagree is with the mention of grease. When I think steakhouse, I don't think a fat free salad and full vegan courses. I know meat has fat, and with fat, you'll have some greasiness, so don't wear white to a steakhouse, and be prepared to abuse the napkin.

                      I have to say, if you do go, the gnocchi and cheese is great. It's the type of dish you'd knife someone in the parking lot just to take their doggie bag. And if I go back, it'll probably be to only pickup an order of the gnocchi to go.

                      The Beafsteak and Mozzarella salad was great. I love good tomatoes, which LA seems to lack, so it was nice to have a beefy real tomato again.

                      Our other sides were pretty bland, and unappealing. We had peas and mushrooms, both really subpar, and I'm not sure how you mess up mushrooms but, well, whatever. We also had the apple pie, and the key lime pie. The apple pie had no apples. Maybe it's just me, being a transplant from the midwest, but when I hear apple pie, I think there'll be apples in it. Not a one, so we had it removed from our sight (so bad we didn't want them to fix it). The key lime pie was good, not best I've had, but it wasn't a dissapointment.

                      The only other thing that I can say positive about the place was with the drinks. I'm no stranger to alcohol, but their drinks were so strong it made me think I should slow down before I'd have to be carried to the car. Definitely nice to not have watered down drinks for the price they charge.

                      It's not a place I'd frequent as it's a little out of my cube worker price range, but I didn't regret going, and I'm serious that I could see myself going back just to pick up some gnocchi to-go.

                      1. The Mastros in Costa Mesa is fantastic. Never been to BH location. Take with a grain of salt though, as I am from transparent, fake So. OC.