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taking customers to a steak restaurant - Mastros? Ruth Chris? Houstons?

I have customers coming in from overseas and I wanted to take them to a steak house, probably in the West L.A. area since I am going to be taking them in that area. I love Mastros, but I'm thinking its sorta pricey for 3 people. (me and 2 customers)

I was thinking Ruth Chris, Houston's were other options. I don't want to spend $100 a person, but I figured I should spend at least $60-70 per person, is Ruth Chris or Houston's an acceptable alternative? I figured Ruth Chris was better than Houson's (I've never been to Ruth Chris)

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  1. The palm is a nice choice, check their prices.

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    Palm Restaurant
    9001 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90069

    1. I noticed a lot of foreigners (particularly Asians) at Lawrys. Another way to go would be Josie in Santa Monica--not a steak house but she makes good steaks and sometimes game.
      Ruth's Chris btw does have some good happy hour food specials you might check out.
      Or if you want to go old school, there's the Galley Steak House in Santa Monica on Main Street.

      2 Replies
      1. re: mc michael

        Agree totally, Lawrys is the place to go, esp. for folks from Japan.

        1. re: Scotty

          Err, Lawry's opened up a steakhouse in Tokyo about two years ago as well. Preferably pick a place not known in Japan.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          Jar sounds cool from what I've read. I'm trying to decide what works in terms of atmosphere. Since we'll be out checking out stores for market research, I'm not sure how they'll be dressed, I know not shorts and t-shirts (coming from Japan)

          So, I want to give them the American steakhouse experience. I loved Mastros and wondering how Jar compares. Since I'm paying (I own my business, so I'm not getting to expense this from a boss' account) I need to watch costs, but I don't want to go down in quality just to save $30 on the final bill. If Mastros is going to be $200 for the 3 of us, but blows away the other choices, then I'll go with it.

          1. re: gachimai

            You should know that a Ruth Chris steakhouse opened in Tokyo about two years ago. Still, your Japanese guests are certain to appreciate a good U.S. steak. Jar sounds like a good idea.

            1. re: Tripeler

              thanks for all the replies. definitely didn't want to do Lawry's because I knew they opened up in Japan. Kinda like when my aunt took me to Denny's when I visited there, I think she thought I'd be happy eating Denny's in Japan.

              1. re: gachimai

                what about some place that is very l.a.? not sure if the quality of the steak is up to par with mastro's but interesting places would be musso's and franks or dakota in roosevelt hotel across the street from kodak theatre.....or boa on sunset blvd?

                1. re: rickym13

                  respectfully disagree with the recommendation of musso and frank's: the food at musso and frank's never impressed me.

          1. re: pinpei

            is wolfgang more expensive than mastro's? or equal?

            1. re: rickym13

              For me, the secret of Wolfgang's is to order the "steak for X" (their porterhouse) for one less than the number in your party. So, for three people, order the steak for two, plus sides and starters and dessert if you aren't completely stuffed. I think this comes in at about $200 not including drinks or tip. For two people you're looking at about $100/pp but for three people your looking at about $70/pp.

              1. re: pinpei

                I would definitely choose Wolfgangs. Also, the portions are very large, so you can easily share sides.

                1. re: pinpei

                  I don't recommend that at all. Some friends of mine and I ate at Wolfgang's and did that on the waiter's recommendation. We left hungry which is the one thing you don't expect when you eat at a steakhouse. We ended up stopping at a taco truck for burritos on the way home.

                  1. re: bg90027

                    DId you just have creamed spinach for dinner? Otherwise, I can not imagine why you would leave hungry and have to eat at a taco truck after dining at Wolfgang.

            2. Both Ruth's Chris and Houston's serve Prime steaks. At both places a Filet will run you about $35, but at Houston's it will include a side dish. Ruth's Chris, everything is ala carte. I love Ruth's Chris because I have a soft spot for all that butter, but Houston's is probably more affordable. Fewer choices, you wont find 10 different cuts of steaks, just prime rib, ribeye, filet mignon, and maybe a NY strip. But, Houston's has a lot more to offer the non-steak eaters.

              If price is a main concern, I'd choose Houston's. If you really want a steakhouse experience, Ruth's Chris.

              14 Replies
              1. re: Azizeh

                Actually, Ruth's Chris has an entree, veggie, salad, dessert deal for $39 and a better one for $49. But I think Morton's is better. And I think Flemings is better than that. But I think Mastro's is better than that.. And I think Cut is better than Mastro's. Just one steak eater's opinion.

                1. re: mc michael

                  You're right. It's a relatively new thing, and I never ordered it because the things we like weren't included. But, if the options appeal to you, it's a very good deal.

                  1. re: mc michael

                    when i take my customers out for dinner, i would never suggest to them that they have to order the special package deal so that i can make budget.
                    imho, the protocol for a business meal precludes that.

                    1. re: mc michael

                      That $39 deal was a "summer special" and is over.
                      http://www.ruthschris.com/Menu/Summer...
                      I had the $49 filet mignon special and was disappointed the filet had no taste to it at all.

                      I think Morton's is better than Ruth's Chris too, but I know that for my business partner and I the bill consistently comes to around $150 for just the two of us and that's with only a couple drinks (including tax and tip).

                      1. re: monku

                        As your link indicates there's currently a Ruth's Classics $39 special. But Morton's is better, but more expensive.

                        1. re: mc michael

                          You're right. Sounds like the same $39 Summer Special.
                          Except for the special I think the prices at Morton's are about the same. And prefer Morton's.

                          I'd rec. Shula's 374, but it appears they may have closed at the Sheraton Gateway since the location is no longer mentioned on their website. Steaks were decent and 2 vegetables came with all entrees. Great cowboy ribeye too.

                    2. re: Azizeh

                      Houston's serves prime? Their menu doesn't say prime and that's usually pointed out. IMO there is a big difference in meat quality between the steakhouses: Mastros, Ruths Chris, Mortons, Cut, The Palm, etc. and restaurants like Houstons or Lawrys.

                        1. re: cls

                          Isn't Lawry's full name Lawry's the Prime Rib? I am doubtful about Houstons though.

                          1. re: mc michael

                            Most of the time the word "prime" in Prime Rib is not indicative of the meat grade.

                            1. re: Servorg

                              That seems correct in this case. Nowhere on their site does Lawry's specify the grade used.

                              1. re: Servorg

                                Right -- we've had this discussion before. "Prime" ribs are those that come first in the forequarter (and are the smallest). The meat can be any grade.

                                BTW, I'm glad cls made the point that Ruth's Chris, Morton's, et al. serve substantially better meat than Houston's and Lawry's. The latter are much-less expensive, of course, and can be quite pleasant on certain occasions.

                            2. re: cls

                              Yep. I worked there for long enough. If one of the specials is the NY strip, you gotta get it. Delicious.

                              Only thing is that a few of the locations use a broiler, so I'd always check and ask to have it grilled over the wood.

                            3. re: Azizeh

                              houston's is also more affordable because corkage is free.
                              bringing your own alcohol saves a ton of money.
                              that presumes, of course, that you know what your customers like to drink.

                            4. If they are good customers( IE make you a lot of money) then you should not think twice about the cost of dinner and show them a great time.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: WSB

                                that's the thing, they are customers, but I've done two small deals with them, made maybe made $2,000 total in 2 years? Just haven't been able to get the right items to put together a deal.

                                1. re: gachimai

                                  $2k in two years? take them to sizzlers :) j/k

                                  1. re: gachimai

                                    to me a steak dinner at any of the most expensive restaurants that have been mentioned is more appropriate as a 'THANK YOU' for a substantial new piece of business.
                                    imho, houstons would be more than adequate for your purpose here.
                                    even better if you could bring a couple bottles of wine to take advantage of the no-corkage-fee policy.

                                    1. re: westsidegal

                                      I wonder if the guests specifically requested a steak house. When I think of Houston's I think of martinis and ribs.

                                  1. ruth's chris has great service, but their beef fell short of what was expected, even with that butter fry thing they do at the table just before serving it

                                    10 Replies
                                    1. re: fgrade

                                      fgrade, at every Ruth's Chris I've visited over the years, the meat arrives from the kitchen already swimming in butter and sizzling on a very hot plate. Where did you have a steak finished at the table "just before serving"?

                                      Incidentally, I love butter but not all over prime beef, whose natural fat tastes very different. That's why I always ask for mine with margarine. Just kidding -- I order Ruth's Chris steaks plain, with no butter, no sauces, no corporate chatter, nothing but the beef, and I guess we disagree on the quality of their meat. It's not my top steakhouse, but it's very good, especially when you have spinach au gratin on the side and carmelized banana cream pie for dessert.

                                      1. re: Harry Nile

                                        i am in complete agreement with you harry about not wantng to taste butter when i bite into a steak.

                                        1. re: Harry Nile

                                          Probably why my RC filet was tasteless because I told them don't bring it on a plate swimming in butter.

                                          1. re: monku

                                            Better inappropriate taste than no taste, huh? Which Ruth's Chris did you go to, monku? Except for abandoning the original Broad St. location in New Orleans, tastelessness has never been one of their problems for me, so I want to know which place to avoid.

                                          2. re: Harry Nile

                                            I actually love the sizzling butter. The last time I went to Ruth's Chris, I skipped my usual filet and got the ribeye. Between the butter and the fat from the meat, I was sick for days. I'm not sure I can ever order another ribeye again. The butter only works on lean cuts, in my opinion.

                                            1. re: Harry Nile

                                              Hear, hear. I absolutely hate the butter thing. It just disguises a mediocre steak and while I won't shy away from something because it's calorically dense, I don't need 400 calories of unnecessary butter either.

                                              1. re: Harry Nile

                                                we where at the pasadena restaurant, when the waiter arrived at our table with the food he placed the steak on the melted butter, then he did the side dish thing while the sizzling went on, then he served the steak....

                                                everything was good, but we had high expectations for the steak and it was just ok, definitely not worth the price we paid, delicious butter and all.

                                                1. re: fgrade

                                                  I don't think I've ever seen the table preparation you describe, fgrade, although I don't have the butter, so perhaps I've missed a change. Also, your's is the second negative report on the Pasadena restaurant. Ruth's Chris is certainly not at the level of the country's greatest local steakhouses (Bern's in Tampa, e.g.), but I've never been served what I would call "just ok" meat at other locations. It is prime grade, after all -- maybe you got "prime select." ;-)

                                                  There must be something going on in Pasadena, which is a shame, because I was recently at Yuca's on Hillhurst and overheard one of their waiters speaking very cordially to the lady who takes orders. He had learned she was stopping by the Pasadena RC for dinner with her family, and he couldn't have been more helpful and eager to make their evening special or more enthusiastic about Ruth's Chris.

                                                  1. re: Harry Nile

                                                    I'm with you here, Harry. With multiple Ruth's Chris visits (mostly Beverly Hills but also San Francisco and Woodland Hills) over the years I can say that they have never done anything with butter added to the steaks at the table. All that was done in the kitchen and then the steak is delivered on that "sizzling" plate that makes the steak too hot to eat for a while. So I'm not sure what the Pasadena location is doing, or why?

                                            2. Look at the menu at Joes on Beverly they get their meat from the best butcher in LA.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. Behind the times as I am, I just learned last night that Mastro's makes really good lobster mashed potatoes. Or so I was told.

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: mc michael

                                                  It's a stunning amount of food, though. I mean, you'd have to be in a party of 8 to finish it.

                                                  1. re: mc michael

                                                    They are great but i think they were like $50, which was a bit of a surprise given it was a "special" and they weren't really forthcoming about the price. They did say they used a whole lobster.

                                                    1. re: peppermonkey

                                                      Their crab black truffle gnocchi, which is our favourite, is perpetually their "special" (unlisted) side, Like the lobster mp they don't tell you the price ($25) which is more than the other $8-10 sides on the menu.

                                                      1. re: OCAnn

                                                        Damn, nobody told me about this!

                                                  2. Mastros is excellent, but yes, more expensive. The Houston's in Santa Monica can yield a great meal. I forgot the name but they have a "hawaiian style" Rib Eye that I love and my wife likes a Thai Steak noodle salad - raved about it.

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                                                    Mastros Restaurant
                                                    2087 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, CA 91362