Mastro's in Thousand Oaks (+pics)
I'll admit that I have a bit of history with the old restaurant occupying the space, a place simply named 2087. And like all good food does, those memories got triggered, giving me a surprise dinner companion in the form of My Former Self.
No matter. The peppercorn steak was prepared pretty well, certainly one of the better ones I've had, but for me star of the show was the side dish I ordered: the sweet potato fries. The interior was perfectly cooked through to wonderful softness, but the breading had great seasoning and texture. I even closed out with a passable blood orange sorbet that probably would triggered a better reaction from me had I not been a frequent visitor of Milk on Beverly.
And I know that Thousand Oaks is obviously going to be different staff than that in LA or OC, but the steak just didn't taste quite right in my mind, and I can't imagine that a change of venue will affect the recipe and experience *that* much. It's things like the seasoning level of the meat, the doneness (I refuse to adjust my request to medium just because they always give me a medium rare slice that's more on the rare side), and also how the meat is trimmed in terms of fat (some) and silver (none) that should be left on. Hey, if people can be sticklers about their pizzas and their delicatessens, I reserve the right to do the same for my high-end steakhouses!
Full blog post:
Nice review and photos. I guess pictures can lie because the one of your steak looks absolutely drool worthy - food porn at its finest. I too really enjoy pepper steak, but shy away from it at times as the restaurants seem to assign inferior grades of meat to its preparation. I assume that they do this figuring the "sauce" will reign "supreme" (forgive me) and that the grade of beef will be overlooked. Where else do you recommend for a great version of pepper steak?
re: tony michaels
You know, now that I've had an evening to marinade on it, I have to say that it really was a pretty good steak, but I use a tad more butter when pan-searing mine (thus aligning me more closely with Ruth Chris). I would have liked it to be cooked through a tad more, but that probably has more to do with its size and density also. Note to self, 16oz steak - medium, 12 oz steak - medium rare.
My favorite steakhouse at the moment is Nero's in Caesar's Palace Las Vegas, but in my CUT-less experiences, I'd probably have to pick Ruth Chris for an LA steakhouse.
We have always enjoyed RC for steak, but the last visit in the Hills of Beverly outpost was unsatisfying, mostly because my Cowboy Ribeye
(described on their online menu as: "A huge bone-in version of this USDA Prime cut") was neither huge nor worthy of the prime grade they claimed, especially when compared to what it always been like previously. We've switched over to Arnie Morton's on La Cienega when we want to dance in the juicy Carne-val of Meaty-de-Janeiro.