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Saddlepeak Lodge or Morton's?

This would be for my boyfriend's birthday. We've never gone to either restaurant but he enjoys a good steak and since his special day is coming up, these two restaurants came to mind. Does Saddlepeak also have exceptional steak? I know the atmosphere there is supposed to pretty nice. Just wondering what others thought?

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  1. Two very different spots. Saddle Peak Lodge is a beautiful restaurant, both inside and out on the terrace. Think of a luxurious, old world hunting lodge, replete with roaring fireplaces and stuffed animals on the walls. It shouldn't be considered a typical steakhouse (a la Cut, Mastros, etc.), but they do have excellent meat (not only steak but game as well). Regarding Mortons, I'm not sure if you are referring to Arnie Mortons of Chicago or Mortons on Melrose. Arnie Mortons is a very good steakhouse, with a more typical steakhouse menu and ambiance (not nearly as interesting as Saddle Peak Lodge). Mortons on Melrose is a total Hollywood scene, better for celebrity watching than a romantic meal (although the food is great as well). If getting a great steak is of primary importance, I would also recommend Capo on Ocean Ave. in Santa Monica (not a steakhouse but some of the best beef (and food)around, although quite expensive) and Cut (Wolfgang Pucks latest in Beverly Hills)

    2 Replies
    1. re: sweiner

      Thank-you. I was referring to Arnie Morton's.

        1. If you choose Saddle Peak Lodge, reserve early and request a table close to a fireplace. It really adds to the experience. There are some spots in SPL with no fireplaces within sight.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Dogbite Williams

            i would take him to saddle peak even if he likes steak....have him try the elk steak.
            you can always get prime grade steak anywhere

            1. re: rickym13

              Another vote for Saddlepeak; if it's warm, you can sit outside on the patio. My favorite room is the one at the very top of the restaurant. Excellent food & service; I love elk especially. It's a great intro to game meats.

            2. re: Dogbite Williams

              Trying to avoid negative posts these days, especially some conventional favorites like Saddle Peak Lodge (posters tend to get irate). But I can't resist the fireplace comment. It's the size of my living room fireplace (rest assured, I have a rather conventional house). I had expected a roaring huge hearth. You won't even see it from more than two tables away. You also have to get used to a lot of dead animal heads hanging above you, along with other dead animal artifacts. The hype has rendered this a no win place - it can't possibly live up to the build up. It's a long drive (a plus or a minus depending on your mood, but don't plan to drive back after splitting a bottle of wine, much less a drink). Tables are nicely spaced and seating is comfortable but the upper floor is very loud.
              Having said all that, if you're into exotic meats, you probably can't do better. The saddle of elk is a revelation (though no bargain) and the steaks are nicely done.
              If you go without expectations you will have a great time. If you go with expectations from this board you will be disappointed.

            3. Saddle Peak Lodge.

              Get a table outside, it's wonderful this time of the year.

              Saddle Peak Lodge will not have the different cuts of beef that a steakhouse like Arnie Morton's will have, e.g. ribeye, filet, etc. That said, what it lacks in variety of cuts of beef it more than makes up with variety in types of meat and the sophistication in execution and preparation of each dish from appetizer to dessert.

              Go to Saddle Peak Lodge. You and your boyfriend will not be disappointed. Arnie Morton's you can do anytime. Saddle Peak Lodge is one of those special occasion places.

              Enjoy wherever you end up.

              1. Everyone's feedback is much appreciated!
                Would you consider Saddlepeak to be a somewhat dressy/formal kind of place? I mean, is it suit and tie for the dinner crowd? It sounds like a wonderful, special occasion restaurant but at the same time I'm hoping it's also a relaxed, non-stuffy sort of atmosphere. Thanks again.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Augusta

                  Not stuffy, more like charmingly cozy.

                  Suit and tie??? Hardly.

                  1. re: Augusta

                    I dressed up b/c it was a special occassion, not for dress code. doesn't hurt to have him in slacks and a light shirt. but they're right, go sit outside and enjoy the warm evening. i've seen diners in jeans. I say, just don't do sweats. it's MAY-be a little more formal inside, but not by much. must be all the animal heads on the wall that do it....go for the game, stay for the atmosphere.

                    1. re: Augusta

                      Saddle Peak Lodge used to require coat and tie, but no longer does. Nevertheless, it is "dressy-casual" kind of place; he would not want to wear shorts or jeans, or a t-shirt. It is indeed a wonderful, special-occasion restaurant, but not at all stuffy; service is completely correct in the formal sense, but very friendly, and the waiters are extremely knowledgeable about everything served. When you make your reservation (which is done through Open Table), be sure to note that it's your BF's birthday; if you tell them his name, the dessert plate will almost certainly have "happy birthday Joe" (or whatever) spelled out in chocolate sauce. And please, PLEASE order the elk tenderloin, as many have suggested; it is neither "weird" nor gamy, but better than the best filet mignon I've ever had.

                      Have fun!

                    2. Saddlepeak is nice to look at but for the BEST steaks and exceptional service, I'd go to Morton's. All the meat is prime graded and you definately get your moneys worth. The one in downtown LA is the best one in my opinion. You could also try the Arroyo Chop House in Pasadena which also does prime graded steaks etc. and has wonderful food and service.

                      1. I had more fun at Saddlepeak, and the ood was way better. the elk was wonderful (I stole some of my hubby's) and the non meat dishes are divine! Also buffalo and more! I loved the mac n cheese!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Diana

                          Plus, the Saddle Peak Lodge is a much more romantic venue, being way out there in the woody mountains (or that's how it feels, anyway) and having all the posh hunting-lodge decor. And it's nice and dark outside, so after dinner you can take a little stroll and give the BF his birthday smooch!

                        2. OP - check out this post and my follow-up review (towards the end).


                          Saddlepeak was one of those places I was glad I experienced - but can't really say it was worth the trek. For the money, I'd much rather head to Spago.

                          I haven't been there yet - but for special occassion steak - Mastro's comes to mind (do a search, there are a ton of posts)

                          1. Thanks again to all the chowhounders who replied. I think I will give Saddlepeak a go--sounds like something to experience, at least once! It'll be for an early dinner on a Wed night so hopefully we'll get a nice table out in the patio. I'm looking forward to it!

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Augusta

                              since you are going on a wednesday - make sure you get the chili app!

                              and post back, please!

                              1. re: The Oracle

                                When Chef Rojas took over the kitchen, I thought he did away with the previous Chili sampler?

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  When did he take over? My visit was in early May - and it wasn't a sampler - but a serving of the chili in a crock. What a shame, if they are no longer serving it -- that was one of my favorite things of the night!

                            2. The nice feel about saddlepeak is that you're going out of town. If you want to make it very special - and for not too much cash, consider getting a little hotel or motel room near Las Virgenes and PCH - you can eat and drink late - wait till sober and then worry about the drivehome.
                              Just leave an early wake up call so you can have an early morning stroll on the beach before rushing off to work.

                              decent breakfast places around there.