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best steak in SD???????

is there a better steak out there than the Cajun Ribeye at Mortons, OR the Filet at Ruth's? if so, please tell me...

I wondered if there is some secret place i dont know about?

i am looking to try a new place out for an upcoming bday party.

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  1. Donnavan's is the best IMO. Bone in Ribeye. I also had a great steak at JoRDaN at Tower 23 in PB.

    1. I've had good steak at a number of places in town. Manhattan in La Jolla, Fat City near downtown, Modus in Banker's Hill, the Linkery in North Park, Cafe Chloe downtown, Tajima in Kearny Mesa. I have yet to try Donovan's, though it's on the list of places I need to go.

      When the meat is good, it's hard to screw up a steak.

      Each of the places I listed has something about the steak preparation I really like. At Manhattan, they are thick New York steaks with a wide choice of excellent sauces - my favorite is the Fiorentina, which is lemon, garlic, and olive oil.

      Fat City grills their steaks over mesquite, which more than makes up for the average side dishes, IMO. They often offer USDA Prime bone-in ribeyes. Their banana cream pie is also very good.

      Modus dresses their steak with garlic and butter, and uses a nice thick sirloin cut. The fries it comes with are top notch. Ditto for Cafe Chloe (essentially the same steak preparation at both places, though I think Chloe's fries edge out Modus' a bit).

      Linkery uses a cut I've not seen elsewhere called a culotte steak, and it's very flavorful beef they get from a small provider (forgot the name).

      Tajima's steak I like because it's flame grilled and served with a delicious ponzu sauce. Not 100% sure of the cut, though I'm pretty sure it's sirloin.

      1. wow, thanks josh. that was a great response.

        would you say any of those compete with my personal faves the cajun ribeye or the filet (with the butter and the sizzle!)???

        3 Replies
        1. re: long_ballers

          Well, I actually haven't had either of those. At Morton's I've had the prime rib (which I liked a lot), and at Ruth's Chris I've had porterhouse and rib-eye (which I also liked). I will seldom order filet, just because I prefer a cut with a little more fat.

          I might not be the best person to ask, because I'm only thinking about the steak itself and not any of the other considerations like ambience, side dishes, service, etc. (Things which I know might make a difference for a birthday party)

          Personally, I find both Morton's and Ruth's Chris (and LG's too) to be kind of overpriced for what you get. Of course, Manhattan is not cheap, steaks are around $25 apiece, but there are sides that come with the steak, and I feel it's a little better value for the money.

          Manhattan is dimly lit, tuxedoed waiters, some of whom will sing to any ladies in your party, and Italian style. They also have nice pasta and seafood options in addition to steaks. Some of their steak options include Steak Syracuse, which has a topping made from cherry peppers, the Fiorentina I mentioned, and another (whose name I forget) with a great brandy peppercorn sauce.

          That will probably be a better option for a party, I'm guessing.

          Fat City is a bit more casual, and the non-steak items are just OK. I really only go there when I want a nice mesquite rib-eye. It's a little more of a stripped down kind of experience.

          1. re: Josh

            Filet Oscar at Manhattan's is nice.

            1. re: stevuchan

              Good to know. I've had the Veal Oscar there and that was also good.

        2. The Cajun Rib Eye is fantastic. My mouth is watering as I write this.

          Rainwaters has a great selection of steaks that can't be beat. They also have a good selection for non meat eaters.

          Rainwaters also has some great rooms that can be used. They have a wine room that is great for a group of 6-8 people for a party.

          We also like Bully's in Mission Valley. They serve Prime and the they have a very casual atmosphere with great prices.

          When I want to do it at home, I will buy my own Prime at Iowa Meat Farms.

          1. Donovan's is the best steakhouse in the city. Rib-eye is excellent, as well as their filet. Salmon and chicken are also good. Service is always top notch and their side dishes are really good as well. I think they easily beat Rainwaters, Morton's and Ruth Chris'. Donovan's has several private rooms, so if you have a large # in your party, you could reserve one of them.

            Fleming's is pretty good as well, although they tend to "dress up" a lot of the dishes. ie: instead of a simple, well grilled steak, it's a steak w/ fancy sauces and side dishes.

            1. the cajun ribeye is just ridiculous.. in fact, i think i might jsut go there. why fight it?

              1. i like donovans but its a bit on the formal side for me. i cant really unwind in that place? there are so many waiters watching me to pick up a crumb or clean my fork that i have a tough time relaxing. maybe that is just me???

                id rather hit up ruths in del mar or head DT to mortons.

                3 Replies
                1. re: long_ballers

                  "i like donovans but its a bit on the formal side for me."

                  you might like Fleming's better. they have good steaks and the atmosphere is loud and lively. wait staff is less attentive than Donovan's. they have a private room as well.

                  1. re: long_ballers

                    You know, as long as you're in Del Mar, you should try Red Tracton's. No one will hover, but the service is friendly and the food is great - LARGE portions. Small charge to split, which we do often. Definitely old school. Their lobster bisque is great.

                    1. re: happensatonce

                      I had forgotten about Red Tracton's. They do make a nice piece of meat, for sure. The twice-baked potato is obscene. I also like this salad they do, it's got beefsteak tomato, red onion, capers, bleu cheese, and anchovies in vinaigrette. Not much for the breath, but damn tasty.

                  2. I've been to almost everyplace mentioned above. Most of them have a good standard steak. The only place I've been really disappointed was Greystone on Fifth in the Gaslamp - standard cuts and preparation at stratospheric prices. Lately I've been favoring LG's on Sixth and F downtown. They have dry-aged beef and I think most of the other places use a wet aging process. The dry-aged is so much more flavorful. The "Jewel in the Crown" is a porterhouse that is absolutely - and consistently - outstanding.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: willinsd

                      I must second will's view. Ate there a couple Fridays ago and the rib eye was fantastic as were the sides. the salads and the service.

                    2. I am almost always disappointed when I compare a NY strip or porterhouse in SD (including Donovan's) to the Temple of all steakhouses in the country--Peter Luger--but if there is one cut of steak that is consistently performed well in this city, it is the flatiron steak. With that it mind, I am just returning from the Jrdn restaurant at Tower 23 in PB where I had yet another exceptional 8 oz. flatiron steak with my choice of 2 sides (yukon mashed potatoes and onion rings) for a very reasonable price of $21. The steak was cooked to perfection (I passed on the 'rub' sauces that they offer--no need) and is far superior to similar versions offered at other places IMHO, such as Cafe Chloe, Dobsons, and Modus.

                      1. me and my girlfriend have dined at Po Pazzo somewhat frequently since it opened. we recently had the experience of eating at donovan's. to our surprise, we now recommend the steaks at po pazzo over Donovan's to all our friends. donovan's just didnt impress us like we expected. considering po pazzo is slightly cheaper, its the winner in my eyes. the downside obviously, it is not the same type of pure steakhouse as the other typical establishments like donovan's, rainwaters,etc, but the steaks in our opinion, especially "sinatra style", are delicious.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ahmeyers

                          I agree that Donovan's is unimpressive and stuffy as hell. My steak was cooked well but pretty flavorless. I did like the lamb chops appetizer (actually, they were amazing) and I like their happy hour deal with the tasty, free ribeye sandwiches, but for the prices they charge, they need to be serving flawless steak. My vote goes to the Porterhouse at Morton's, one of the best dishes of any kind I've had in San Diego.

                        2. I've eaten at Po Pazzo and the have some great steaks as one of your replys states. If you ever get a chance and you find a steakhouse that sells a bone in fillet jump on the opportunity! It has the tenderness of a fillet with so much added flavor that the average tenderlion typically lacks.

                          1. For filet with sauce, try Aqua al 2 on 5th Ave. The Filetto all'Aceto Balsamico is one of the best steaks I've ever had. The sauce is thick and rich, and the meat is incredibly tender. My friend ordered a second steak for dessert.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: pamalamb

                              Not sure if you're serious or not with the dessert comment, but that was precisely what I DIDN'T like about the steak I had there. The meat was very tender, true, but the sweet sauce was overwhelming and overabundant, IMO. If I go back, I'll ask for the sauce on the side. For me, it's kind of a waste of good meat to drown it in sweet sauce like that.

                              1. re: Josh

                                I'm being absolutely serious about the second steak. I didn't find the sauce sweet so much as rich. There are undertones of chocolate, but there is none in the recipe (we asked).

                            2. The Argyle restaurant, in the golf course clubhouse at the Four Seasons Aviara, has just switched to a steakhouse menu. We ate there a few nights ago, and it was one of the best meals we've ever had in our 7 years of vacationing in the North County. The service was attentive, the sides were a good mix of steakhouse staples (ok creamed spinach, excellent mushrooms) and newer surprises (addictive "cassoulet" of white beans, squash risotto), and the steaks were outstanding. They had a variety of styles of beef, ranging from Wagyu to Nebraska cord-fed, as well as some decent seafood dishes. My hanger steak was beefy and flavourful; cooked exactly medium rare as ordered. My wife ordered the Wagyu filet, and it came rare as ordered as well, but with a nice crust.
                              I'd go back again in a heart beat. Or should that be heart attack?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: mister1970

                                I agree about the Argyle, I am a big fan, though I only went once. I had the Wagyu too, man, I can't eat another kind of steak now, I am spoiled forever. Now I am saving up for my next trip!


                                ps my full review of Argle is here:

                                1. re: stangoldsmith

                                  It is damn unfortunate that the Argyle does not have a dbl broiler ala Ruths, Fleming's, pretty much every good steakhouse but LGs. The charbroiler just does not put a nice even crust on the steak.

                                  My fave has to be the cowboy ribeye at Ruths. gotta love the butta. The only way to make it better is if Ruths used dry aged as opposed to wet.