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Sep 26, 2008 09:36 AM

STK West Hollywood: Review with Pics

STK: Steaks and Scenery
STK...not your daddy's steakhouse.
755 North La Cienega Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Phone: (310) 659-3535

The buzz on the internet about STK is very mixed. Some people herald STK for its steaks, cocktails and atmosphere. Some pundits complain about the scene and diners who are there solely to watch over their dinner companion's shoulders. I can make no bones about what STK is trying to do. They clearly want and have cultivated an environment appealing to Los Angelenos who visit the La Cienega corridor to people watch, name drop and show off designer bags and high end cars. The interior is above and beyond theatrical. The bar, above, is a stunning display of booze, smokey mirrors and candles creating a halo effect on anything and everyone.

The dining room, here as seen from the bar, is literally a stage. One must walk up a small flight of stairs to a mezzanine level dining room. The barrier between the dining area to the bar is low and just well lit enough that you can see the silhouette of everyone's face...the effect is quite dramatic and really beautiful. In another town, I think STK would be less criticized for creating this environment for these kinds of people. But Los Angelenos on the outskirts of the business of either entertainment or social climbing are in a hurry to identify any place that panders to that clientele. I am not a huge fan of that scene, but it is fun to indulge in now and again, and I found STK stimulating and glamourous.

To start, we are served housemade bread in a smallish cast iron pan. The little puffs of hot bread are delicious, slightly glazed with butter, and have threads of an herbed garlic something running through the middle. To the left side of the bread is a basil infused oil for dipping.
To the right of the bread, is housemade butter. Very sweet and creamy, just soft enough.

Our party of four shared two salads. One was a simple arugula, lightly dressed with heirloom tomatoes, cucumber slices and housemade croutons. Very nice.

For a side, we shared a mac n' cheese. This was a very basic mac n' cheese with a crunchy browned crust. I love that they used old school macaroni instead of some new fancy pasta shape. No, really old school. Like 1970's at Aunt Minnie's house, the square non-elbow kind called formally ditalini.

I have read STK being criticized slightly for their less than innovative side dishes. It's a steakhouse, not a foodie celebrity chef restaurant, and I found the side dishes delicious. No, not innovative. Delicious. The above is a shot of their sweet corn pudding, again served in a cast iron dish. This was light and fluffy when hot, almost souffle-esque. My tongue could feel out the cornmeal floating in the pudding, accompanied by corn kernels. This developed a thicker sludgy consistency upon cooling that did not diminish its appeal in any way.

Every single person at our four-top ordered the bone-in filet mignon and everyone was entranced with their steaks. The sauces were also well received. I ordered a creamy horseradish sauce, which was more fluid than most creamy horseradish sauces. It actually made for the prefect dipping sauce, as only a little clung to the meat as opposed to a giant squidgy mayonnaisey blob, which can sometimes overpower the meat. I rarely finish a steak. Typically I bring big chunks home to share out with the hounds. But I ate every damn bite. Every bite.

As a final assessment, I add that the food is nothing ground breaking. It tasted good, there are lots of choices in terms of size of protein, exotic and mundane accompaniments, side dishes, sauces and appetizers. The service was actually perfect. Neither too intrusive nor too absent. I would gladly eat here again, although it will not purposefully be on my list of must-do agains.

review with pics:

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  1. Great review, been meaning to check out STK. I was walking past recently and looked like quite a scene. Thanks.

    1. Did you dress up? Coat and tie for your companion or fashionably casual? Did you hit $100 per person for your bone-in filet, shared salads, shared sides ($75-80 before tax and tip) even before drinks and wine? Was the valet over $10? I know there are differences and strengths and weaknesses, but for a steak splurge do you prefer Cut, Wolfgang's, STK, or another option?

      1 Reply
      1. re: nosh

        we did dress just a little. Jackets for guys. We hit the 100 a person, but also had 2 bottles of unmemorable wine. For a steak splurge I hugely prefer Cut or Mastro's, but my companions were in the mood for something new. All time favorite steak is SW at the Wynn in Vegas.

      2. Bone in. I said it. U are eating well these days and I'm appreciating it.

        1. Great review. We loved STK when we went! I agree that the reviews I read were spotty at best and we almost didn't go as a result but I'm really glad we did. Obviously the steaks melted like butter in your mouth but I didn't like the sauces. The tuna tartar appetizer was excellent as the crackling soup was also very good (sorry, can't remember the name of it). Wine list was great, cocktails were great and our server was awesome...very personable and knew the menu inside and out. One of the big complaints I heard was rude and disinterested staff which was clearly not what we encountered. I would encourage anyone interested to check it out. It's worth it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: TwoGuys90068

            Bravo!! I agree, good food, good service. I really think the flash puts some people off.

          2. I went about a week ago and thought it was good not great. I wasn't expecting much since I figured it is a place more about the scene than the food. Our dinner companions were running 45 mins late, so we felt bad taking up the table and decided to order oysters. I don't remember what they were, but I think they were from BC. They were the worst! They smelled a little fishy and tasted too creamy like they were spawning. It was easy to return them, but left a bad taste in our mouths. I don't think it should have even left the kitchen. We then ordered tuna sashimi. I know, not the best choice at a steak place, but we wanted something light so we would leave room for the steaks. The tuna seemed to be the lowest grade and it was about $15 for 5 small slices.

            The steaks were really good! I had the bone-in ribeye which had a very meaty flavor. Some people may not like it because it had a little overwhelming dry-aged flavor to it. The shrimp rice krispies appetizer sits in a shrimp bisque. They pour the bisque tableside so the shrimp does the snap, crackle & pop. I didn't have the shrimp, but I dipped the bread in the bisque and it was delicious! We ordered more bread to just get at the sauce.

            The service was good all the way around. They were very accommodating even though the restaurant was packed and our guests were running extremely late.

            Right now my favorite places to get steak are at Dan Tana's for the Dabney Coleman NY Steak and most any steak at Wolfgang's. I don't think I'll be going to STK again soon. The only reason we ended up going is because our companions like the trendy/sceney restaurants.