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

gachimai Dec 8, 2009 04:26 PM

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)

  1. b
    Burger Boy Dec 8, 2009 05:14 PM

    The palm is a nice choice, check their prices.

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

    1. m
      mc michael Dec 8, 2009 06:13 PM

      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
        Scotty Dec 8, 2009 09:41 PM

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

        1. re: Scotty
          Tripeler Dec 8, 2009 09:44 PM

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

      2. ipsedixit Dec 8, 2009 08:19 PM

        How about Jar?

        5 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit
          gachimai Dec 8, 2009 09:05 PM

          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
            Tripeler Dec 8, 2009 09:41 PM

            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
              gachimai Dec 8, 2009 10:03 PM

              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
                rickym13 Dec 8, 2009 10:13 PM

                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
                  westsidegal Dec 9, 2009 09:10 PM

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

        2. p
          pinpei Dec 8, 2009 10:18 PM


          5 Replies
          1. re: pinpei
            rickym13 Dec 8, 2009 11:28 PM

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

            1. re: rickym13
              pinpei Dec 9, 2009 01:26 PM

              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
                maudies5 Dec 9, 2009 01:53 PM

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

                1. re: pinpei
                  bg90027 Dec 9, 2009 03:11 PM

                  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
                    maudies5 Dec 9, 2009 08:23 PM

                    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. Azizeh Dec 8, 2009 11:41 PM

              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
                mc michael Dec 9, 2009 05:24 AM

                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
                  Azizeh Dec 9, 2009 12:53 PM

                  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
                    westsidegal Dec 9, 2009 09:18 PM

                    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
                      monku Dec 10, 2009 06:57 AM

                      That $39 deal was a "summer special" and is over.
                      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
                        mc michael Dec 10, 2009 08:12 AM

                        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
                          monku Dec 10, 2009 08:32 AM

                          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
                      cls Dec 9, 2009 01:41 PM

                      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
                        carln Dec 9, 2009 01:45 PM

                        I second Wolfgangs.

                        1. re: cls
                          mc michael Dec 9, 2009 02:57 PM

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

                          1. re: mc michael
                            Servorg Dec 9, 2009 03:14 PM

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

                            1. re: Servorg
                              mc michael Dec 9, 2009 03:20 PM

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

                              1. re: Servorg
                                Harry Nile Dec 9, 2009 04:18 PM

                                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
                              Azizeh Dec 10, 2009 12:04 AM

                              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
                              westsidegal Dec 9, 2009 09:13 PM

                              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. w
                              WSB Dec 9, 2009 03:20 PM

                              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
                                gachimai Dec 9, 2009 03:45 PM

                                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
                                  rickym13 Dec 9, 2009 04:31 PM

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

                                  1. re: gachimai
                                    westsidegal Dec 9, 2009 09:28 PM

                                    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
                                      maudies5 Dec 9, 2009 09:39 PM

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

                                2. Das Ubergeek Dec 10, 2009 09:22 AM


                                  1. fgrade Dec 11, 2009 07:54 AM

                                    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
                                      Harry Nile Dec 11, 2009 10:22 AM

                                      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
                                        westsidegal Dec 11, 2009 02:06 PM

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

                                        1. re: Harry Nile
                                          monku Dec 11, 2009 04:44 PM

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

                                          1. re: monku
                                            Harry Nile Dec 11, 2009 05:22 PM

                                            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.

                                            1. re: Harry Nile
                                              monku Dec 11, 2009 09:31 PM

                                              Pasadena location.

                                          2. re: Harry Nile
                                            Azizeh Dec 12, 2009 12:01 AM

                                            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
                                              Das Ubergeek Dec 14, 2009 05:53 AM

                                              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
                                                fgrade Dec 16, 2009 10:29 AM

                                                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
                                                  Harry Nile Dec 16, 2009 10:58 AM

                                                  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
                                                    Servorg Dec 16, 2009 11:12 AM

                                                    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. f
                                              Faim Dec 12, 2009 07:05 AM

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

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Faim
                                                Das Ubergeek Dec 14, 2009 05:53 AM

                                                Which is...?

                                              2. m
                                                mc michael Dec 12, 2009 07:34 AM

                                                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
                                                  Das Ubergeek Dec 14, 2009 05:54 AM

                                                  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
                                                    peppermonkey Dec 14, 2009 02:48 PM

                                                    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
                                                      OCAnn Dec 14, 2009 07:28 PM

                                                      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
                                                        mc michael Dec 14, 2009 07:46 PM

                                                        Damn, nobody told me about this!

                                                  2. e
                                                    engorgedbuddha Jun 19, 2010 01:44 PM

                                                    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.

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

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