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what is the best steak place in San Diego?

babymaven Apr 18, 2009 01:36 PM

I did a search and couldn't find anything but please redirect me if I'm missing it. Looking for a great steak dinner. Please list the best steak you've had and what you liked about it. Thanks!

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  1. c
    cstr RE: babymaven Apr 18, 2009 02:35 PM

    I like Donovan's in LJ, great quality produce and of course beef, very good wine list, they make a killer round loaf of bread that is served warm, nice atmosphere, and excellent service. Also, unlike other chop houses, the entree's include a starch and veg. They go out of their way to please, you'll never get a bad meal at Donovan's.

    1. n
      nosh RE: babymaven Apr 18, 2009 03:14 PM

      I like Red Tracton's, near the Del Mar racetrack and fairgrounds, on Via de la Valle just to the coast side off the 5. Unlike Donovan's or almost all of the other steakhouses, it is local and unique, not part of a chain. Prime rib and steak are their specialties, and they also have daily specials and serve fish. Very oldschool, with servers that have been there forever, booths, and a bar in front that is really happening at happy hour, latenight, and particularly during racing season. Yes, it is pricey, but portions are generous and come with sides, and it is no more expensive than the upscale steak chains.

      22 Replies
      1. re: nosh
        cstr RE: nosh Apr 18, 2009 06:04 PM

        Donovan's has 3 locations in the SD area, hardly a chain.

        1. re: cstr
          nosh RE: cstr Apr 18, 2009 07:09 PM

          Donovan's is a national chain. We ate at the one in Branson, Mo.

          Ooops, my mistake. The steakhouse on The Landing in Branson was a Sullivan's, not a Donovan's. It is now a Texas Land & Cattle, which many think is one of the best steakhouses in Austin. I think I confused my big, retired ex-NFL linemen who opened up restaurants...

          1. re: cstr
            babymaven RE: cstr Apr 18, 2009 08:22 PM

            thanks for the thoughts so far. Anyone tried cowboy star? http://www.thecowboystar.com/ I like the idea of grass fed from argentina...?

            1. re: babymaven
              Fake Name RE: babymaven Apr 19, 2009 05:15 AM

              YES! That's where I'd go. The buffalo especially.

              1. re: babymaven
                dietndesire RE: babymaven Apr 19, 2009 07:27 AM

                They serve Argentine beef?

                1. re: dietndesire
                  cstr RE: dietndesire Apr 19, 2009 03:11 PM

                  Not that I've seen, they have excellent buffalo, and there beef comes from different ranches like, Nieman, meyers and they have 'Kobe' style from Austrailia.

              2. re: cstr
                stevewag23 RE: cstr Apr 20, 2009 10:14 AM

                They have a location in Phoenix.

                Anything with a Phoenix location qualifies as a chain.

                1. re: stevewag23
                  cstr RE: stevewag23 Apr 20, 2009 03:29 PM

                  Yah, I forgot that loc but, you're being harsh compared to Morton's, Palm, RC's which are huge corporate cookie cutter chains. If you've eaten there, you know what I mean, the quality and service are much better than most. I've dined at almost all of the bigs across the US, I think Donovan's does a good job.

                  1. re: stevewag23
                    royaljester RE: stevewag23 Apr 25, 2009 11:30 PM

                    That was literally their 2nd restaurant, opened a couple of years ago. Donavan's has been a one restaurant business a lot longer than it's had its 2nd restaurant.

                    By this logic, a restaurant that only exists in Phoenix is a chain.

                2. re: nosh
                  Harry Nile RE: nosh Apr 19, 2009 06:35 AM

                  Whether it's a chain or a bracelet, Donovan's is a fine restaurant that serves outstanding beef. Red Tracton's is a local-color roadhouse that can be entertaining at times, but the food is notches below Donovan's and the well-regarded national chains -- Morton's and nearby Ruth's Chris, for example -- in quality. Even the latter pale to insignificance next to a real steakhouse like Bern's in Tampa, but Red merely cooks the large muscles of dumber mammals compared to Donovan's, Morton's, and Ruth's Chris. However, if a day at Del Mar leaves you so famished you can't go more than 100 yards for dinner and you're not in the mood for the overpriced, underperforming expense-account fare at Pamplemousse or the very nice fishies at Fish Market, then you should like maybe try Red Tracton's, maybe!

                  1. re: Harry Nile
                    SDGourmand RE: Harry Nile Apr 19, 2009 07:10 AM

                    I think West Steak and Seafood in Carlsbad has one of the best steaks. I haven't been there in a while but I remember them always being great. I used to eat there once a week and it was always excellent.

                    1. re: SDGourmand
                      Fake Name RE: SDGourmand Apr 20, 2009 12:08 PM

                      Agreed- West is VERY good. The bistro, not as much.

                      1. re: Fake Name
                        SDGourmand RE: Fake Name Apr 20, 2009 02:12 PM

                        Bistro has one good thing and that's the chicken pot pie.

                    2. re: Harry Nile
                      stevuchan RE: Harry Nile Apr 19, 2009 07:13 AM

                      Cowboystar by far is better that the other alternatives. Two most recent trips to Donovan's have been disapointing, low quality feed lot beef and surly service. I like Red Tracton, but for the Shrimp on Ice, Lobster Bisque and the Gothic Sandwich.

                      1. re: stevuchan
                        PGB RE: stevuchan Apr 19, 2009 06:28 PM

                        I go to Tracton's often for the rib roast, not the steaks. They're ordinary and can't compare to Ruth Chris', a few miles away. Cowboy Star is very good, BTW Niman Ranch is no longer what it once was, that verified in a recent article by Bill Niman, the founder. He sold to a large conglomerate and they immediately discarded his principles.

                        1. re: stevuchan
                          Mel Gee RE: stevuchan Apr 24, 2009 04:29 PM

                          How did you determine that Donovan's serves "low quality feed lot beef"? They claim "Cornfed Prime Beef," and Cowboy Star admits their producers still slip corn in with the trendy grass clippings. (Both facts from the Web sites.) I go by taste, not marketing concepts, and have always found Donovan's meats and service to be excellent.

                          1. re: Mel Gee
                            cstr RE: Mel Gee Apr 25, 2009 08:06 AM

                            stevuchan is commenting on emotion here with no substancial facts. Also, there are comments floating around about grass fed vs non grasss fed beef. OK let's have discussion about the merits etc of that topic but, the fact is that Donovan's serves USDA Prime beef, not low quality beef.

                            1. re: cstr
                              stevuchan RE: cstr Apr 25, 2009 04:03 PM

                              I was commenting on the taste, rib eye tasted like they picked it up at the grocery store, end of story, no emotion.

                              1. re: stevuchan
                                daantaat RE: stevuchan Apr 25, 2009 09:18 PM

                                I have to disagree w/ you. Grocery store rib eye does not taste as good as Donovan's.

                                1. re: stevuchan
                                  cstr RE: stevuchan Apr 26, 2009 12:26 PM

                                  And the Ch√Ęteauneuf-du-Pape they serve tastes like Welches Grape Juice from the grocery store. If I was dropping a half-a-yard on a steak and it was like you described, I'd make sure the MOD knew how I felt before I left.

                                  1. re: stevuchan
                                    Mel Gee RE: stevuchan Apr 26, 2009 02:29 PM

                                    And there's no accounting for taste, so I can't say more about that. But it would be very helpful in the future, stevuchan, if you could let us know when you're stating an opinion. You tossed out "low quality feed lot beef" as though it were certified fact. Thanks.

                                    1. re: Mel Gee
                                      stevuchan RE: Mel Gee Apr 26, 2009 06:11 PM

                                      Strictly opinion, and we did make clear our displeasure to the MOD only to have him defend the waitstaff. Poor experience all around. Move on fellows, you like it, I do not.

                        2. d
                          daantaat RE: babymaven Apr 19, 2009 06:52 PM

                          Donovan's is our first pick--gone there many, many times over the years and never a bad meal or service. Their mushrooms are to die for!
                          Next is Fleming's or Ruths Chris'

                          Chain or not, these are very good steakhouses.

                          For some reason, Morton's has never "done it" for me.

                          1. a
                            araknd RE: babymaven Apr 20, 2009 10:26 AM

                            We've always been partial to Donovan's, been to the downtown location and the original UTC establishment. Their steaks are on par with any, but it's the service and other menu items that set them apart for us.

                            Rainwater's on Kettner used to be good also, but we haven't had occasion to go there lately.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: araknd
                              stevewag23 RE: araknd Apr 20, 2009 02:38 PM

                              I have always wanted to love Rainwater's on Kettner but the place has never done it for me.

                              Poor, grumpy service.
                              Hyper expensive wine list.

                              1. re: stevewag23
                                araknd RE: stevewag23 Apr 20, 2009 03:41 PM

                                My wife and I have been there only three times. The food was really good, but I do agree with you about the wine list. The first two times we went, it was not on our dime so it didn't make a difference to us, but when we went back a year later, it really sunk in how much they were charging for the bottles.

                                1. re: araknd
                                  stevewag23 RE: araknd Apr 20, 2009 08:20 PM

                                  Hell, also there per glass prices.

                                  I think the cheapest one is like $14 and rachets up from there fast.

                                2. re: stevewag23
                                  cstr RE: stevewag23 Apr 21, 2009 07:27 AM

                                  Their attitude is a bit arrogant as well, I've dined there about three times and you're correct, it doesn't work for me.

                                  1. re: cstr
                                    rubyfinn RE: cstr Apr 22, 2009 01:26 PM

                                    Maybe give it another try. They have a new chef and have changed menu items (and attitude).

                                    1. re: rubyfinn
                                      stevewag23 RE: rubyfinn Apr 22, 2009 01:29 PM

                                      How recent?

                                      1. re: stevewag23
                                        rubyfinn RE: stevewag23 Apr 22, 2009 01:45 PM

                                        Couple of months or so.

                              2. m
                                Maxmdwinter RE: babymaven Apr 20, 2009 06:24 PM

                                Saska's! Talk about old school ...

                                But seriously, I've enjoyed a few good steaks at Greystone and Lou & Mickey's. I know they we're in the Gaslamp, but still, they did a good job.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Maxmdwinter
                                  Sampaguita RE: Maxmdwinter Apr 20, 2009 08:13 PM

                                  Gonna have to agree with you there Maxm....Lou & Mickey's brings it home for me with stellar service and a tender, juicy rib eye steak, their grilled jumbo artichoke and a vodka martini w/3 blue-cheese stuffed olives...UP!

                                  1. re: Sampaguita
                                    Steve Green RE: Sampaguita Apr 23, 2009 07:16 AM

                                    Stellar service at Lou & Mickey's? When was this? We tried that place three times over a two-month period a few years back (we really wanted to like it) and although the food was decent-to-good, they completely screwed up our orders on ALL THREE visits.

                                    We concluded that they're like KC BBQ across from the Hyatt Manchester (well, better food than KC), in the sense that with a steady stream of tourists, they don't have to be good. We'll never go back.

                                2. d
                                  DougOLis RE: babymaven Apr 21, 2009 12:50 PM

                                  Cowboy Star for sure

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: DougOLis
                                    babymaven RE: DougOLis Apr 21, 2009 09:01 PM

                                    thanks for all the feedback!

                                    1. re: DougOLis
                                      ibstatguy RE: DougOLis Apr 25, 2009 10:11 AM

                                      a 2nd vote for C Star.

                                    2. foodiechick RE: babymaven Apr 21, 2009 10:20 PM

                                      Donovan's just one best fine dining steak at SD Chapter of CA Rest. Assoc. Awards about an hour ago, Bully's East one best casual steak place.

                                      10 Replies
                                      1. re: foodiechick
                                        RB Hound RE: foodiechick Apr 21, 2009 11:04 PM

                                        Did they name Deborah Scott best local chef?

                                        1. re: RB Hound
                                          foodiechick RE: RB Hound Apr 21, 2009 11:47 PM

                                          Ha! Pretty close. Best Ethnic: Indigo Grill. Best Pacific Rim: Kemo Sabe. And although she is not the chef, another nod to Cohn Group - Best New American: Prado. Go Figure.

                                          1. re: foodiechick
                                            Fake Name RE: foodiechick Apr 22, 2009 05:20 AM

                                            As I've made clear before, the Cohns are great businesspeople.

                                            But clearly the Ca Rest. Association has something on their minds other than good food. I'll accept they're judgement if they were to qualify their choices by say something like:

                                            "Best Ethnic Food-Related Business Showing Consistent Profit and is a Long-Time Contributing Member of Our Organization Award"

                                            1. re: Fake Name
                                              cstr RE: Fake Name Apr 22, 2009 07:42 AM

                                              I have to agree, maybe best run and profitable restaurant group but, best food?? who really votes anyway on this stuff anyway, tourists?

                                              1. re: cstr
                                                Fake Name RE: cstr Apr 22, 2009 08:48 AM

                                                I suspect it's the Ca Rest Association, so their membership can use "Award Winning" in front of the name of their restaurant and chef. Quick, get the tinfoil hats, it's the San Diego Hype Machine!

                                                1. re: Fake Name
                                                  stevewag23 RE: Fake Name Apr 22, 2009 10:02 AM

                                                  These days its more like Fedoras.

                                                  But yes it is The San Diego Hype Machine.

                                                  1. re: Fake Name
                                                    cstr RE: Fake Name Apr 22, 2009 11:05 AM

                                                    Smoke and mirrors but, sadly not much to offer on the plate.

                                                  2. re: cstr
                                                    royaljester RE: cstr Apr 25, 2009 11:34 PM

                                                    It's kind of like the MVP award in baseball, popularity counts and votes are not democratic.

                                                2. re: honkman
                                                  babymaven RE: honkman Apr 27, 2009 10:39 AM

                                                  just wanted to report back on cowboy star meal. loved it. great steak, though not from argentina :( good service but they were on a sunday night out of many steaks which was a bummer. decor is very cool too.

                                                  1. re: babymaven
                                                    cstr RE: babymaven Apr 27, 2009 05:33 PM

                                                    Sorry to hear that, Sunday night, or any night, should not be an excuse for being out of 'many' steaks. Can't eat the decor.

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