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Mortons is a rip off.

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I went to Mortons recently for my 27th birthday celebration. I feel that a number of other steakhouses would have provided better value and better food. I have been there twice before, but I was much younger. I have also been to Ruths Chris as well as Harbour 60. I feel that for the money, Ruths or Harbour 60 would have been a much better choice and the Keg could have provided a meal of equal or better quality for way less.

The Meal: Most of us got their fixed price menu @ 125.00 for two

The meal included a salad (caesar or mortons), a single cut filet (up-gradeable for an extra charge), choice of seafood side (3 bacon wrapped scallops, or 1 crab cake), choice of side, and choice of dessert.

The caesar salad was very weak and on its own cost like 12 or 14 dollars, I cant remember exactly, but for an appetizer salad it was expensive and underwhelming to say the least. It had no bacon, parmesan that tasted like kraft, and a fairly bland dressing. It tasted like a store bought grocery store salad. Not what I expect for that money or a place that claims the caliber of food that Mortons does.

The steak i ordered was the double cut filet ( I upgraded) and my GF ordered the single cut. Both were very thick, perfectly cooked and tasted excellent. It was the highlight of both our meals. The scallops that accompanied my GF's meal were very over cooked and needed to be sent back. The ones that replaced them were properly cooked and tasty but still not as good as the scallops at the keg. My crab cake was ok at best and was hardly a cake because it looked as though it had been damaged during plating and was in pieces. It was also pretty dry. I have had better at local pubs.

The side dishes were nothing special either. My GF got the Asparagus and I got the French Fries. The asparagus was ok but the french fries were very similar to McCain's. They actually serve frozen fries at this place and they cost 10 dollars on their own. I think that this is absolutely ridiculous. For that money they should be Fresh Cut and delicious. Again, I have had better at the local pub or even Swiss Chalet.

For dessert I had the Hot Lava Cake and my GF had the Key lime pie. The lava cake was good, but I do have a bit of a soft spot for this dessert. The Key lime pie was ok but not worth the cost; like the rest of the meal.

I much preferred Harbour 60, The Keg and Ruths Chris. It is unethical that a restaurant thinks its okay to charge so much money for mediocre food. Mortons is trying to charge based on a reputation rather than quality.

For the amount of Money they charge at Mortons, one could eat at any of the high end steakhouses in Toronto, and I recommend any of them over Mortons. The Keg is just as good IMHO and way cheaper.

If I could do it again, I would try Jacob's instead or go back to Harbour 60.

I hope this helps anyone who is thinking of going there.

Anyone else have a similar experience? Anyone have steakhouse recommendations?

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  1. Defintely should have tried Jacobs & Co. The table side Ceasar salad is great...

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    Jacobs & Co
    12 Brant Street, Toronto, ON M5V 2M1, CA

    6 Replies
    1. re: stephen

      Definitely agree. Jacobs & Co is tops for steak in the city. It's certainly pricey, but you don't feel as ripped off as you do going to Morton's, Ruth's, or even Harbour 60.

      1. re: vidkid

        If you insist on going to a steak house for a steak, with all the trimmings, then there is naught to be done for you. The steak will probably be quite good, if expensive - as you discovered at Morton's - but most everything else will likely not be worth the hilarious price being extracted. In short, you'll get killed on the extras. But at your tender age - 27, you say? - it may take a while for this home truth to sink in. As someone of more advanced years, and considerable past steak house experience, it wasn't till I hit 40 or so that I decided I wasn't going to another boring steak house unless someone else was paying the tab. And if I yearned for a steak on my own tab, I'd either barbecue it myself at home with a hunk of meat from Cumbrae or some other fancy butcher or, if I wanted to be catered to, I'd go to any good restaurant, all of which will have a steak or two on the menu and will unquestionably do it up right. With no sneak attacks on the extras. Though I agree with stephen and vidkid that if you must-must-must foolishly do a steak house, Jacobs & Co. is pretty good - someone else was treating me the night I was there, naturally. Harbour 60 is also good if you're on an outlandishly generous expense account, which most guests there appear to be. But you gotta be a masochist to wander in there on your own tab. The wine list is especially dangerous. It has been a while since I entered a Keg, but I recall it as being decent for its comparatively modest price, and understandably devoid of expense-account types. Therefore, fun places. It has also been a few years since i stumbled into Barbarian's, when I was feeling nostalgic for old-time steak house decor and the time past when I was young and foolish and simply had to have a steak done steak house-style. It was a good steak, not terribly expensive, but I felt kinda foolish afterwards, though no longer young.

        1. re: juno

          My sentiments exactly. Except I'm only 31. And I did recently spend a silly amount of money at Jacobs & Co. I'm afraid I don't know anybody willing to treat me in that price range. Otherwise spot on. I need to get some wealthier, more generouser friends.

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          Jacobs & Co
          12 Brant Street, Toronto, ON M5V 2M1, CA

          1. re: haggisdragon

            Me too! I haven't tried Jacob yet. Holding out for a benefactor. *g*

          2. re: juno

            OK - I think that slam is a bit condescending. While I agree that we can probably execute a better steak house spread chez nous, sometimes you just want to go to one of those old boy, brandy snifter, cigar lounge steak houses... an ambience that I cannot replicate at home since my house isn't like the set of Masterpiece Theatre.

            The OP knew what he was in for and he only complained about the price insofar as it wasn't comparable value-for-money vs. the other steak house choices in Toronto. I think the review sounds balanced and fair (even thought it was a crap experience).

            If we're talking steak houses I like the Fifth, not so much for the food (which is fine), but for the atmosphere, which cannot be beat at this time of year given their gorgeous patio.

            1. re: Rabbit

              I have to agree. I loved going to steakhouses in my 20s and I still love going to steakhouses now in my 40s, either on my own dime or someone else's. I've been to pretty much all of them. Sure the food wasn't stellar at each and every one of them but there was something enjoyable at each place, whether it be the meat, the ambiance, the service or the whole package. I agree with the OP that Morton's lack the value for the price so if the criteria is value, then Jacob & Co would be the place to go. They're my current favourite right now. If you want an awesome rib steak with service that's rough around the edge in a room straight out of the 70s, then Black Angus is the place to be. I miss the sliders from the Keg's bar menu. Sometimes its just a matter of knowing what to order from wherever you end up.

      2. I completely agree with your review. I've been to Harbour 60 several times, as well as Jacobs and Ruth's Chris, all of which I enjoyed more than Morton's. The price point for all of my meals was well into the $400+ range (for two, incl. tax and tip), but the quality at Morton's was lacklustre at best. I distinctly remember looking forward to the Oysters Rockefeller appetizer, and it greatly disappointed with its tiny oysters and gooey topping.

        (On a side note, I went to The Fifth recently and was also disappointed by the underseasoned, overcooked filet (although to be fair, the crab cake app and truffled mac 'n cheese side were delicious).

        I'm going to stick with my steakhouse staples from now on.

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        Ruth's Chris
        77 City Centre Dr., Mississauga, ON L5B 1M5, CA

        1. A discussion of bacon in caesar salads has been split and moved to the General Chowhounding Topics board. You can follow the discussion here:

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/728183

          1. Is Barberians any good? It's been around forever.

            6 Replies
            1. re: somewhere4

              Barberians is along the lines of what Rabbit posted above. It's not the best steak I've ever had, but the food was very good. More importantly it's like stepping into a time machine going back to a steakhouse in the 70s, so it's a bit more about the experience than the food.

              Fully agree wtih Rabbit's post regarding the steakhouse experience in general. These aren't places you go for solid value but rather an experience. I've been to Morton's, Ruth's Cris and Barberians. Ruth's Cris is where I've had eye-rollback amazing meat in a couple of occasions and very good on others and the service is top notch. I don't have a problem paying for $10 sides that are big enough to split two or three ways. We enjoy the food and the experience so feel it's worth the price on occasion. Morton's has always been very good but have only had meals there when it was on an expense account.

              If I'm looking for a steak dinner at a value with less fuss then head to The Keg.

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              Barberian's
              7 Elm St, Toronto, ON M5G1H1, CA

              1. re: abigllama

                Barberians does have the 70's flashback vibe, and may be the last of its kind in downtown since the shuttering of Carmans and Bigliardis. The steaks and service are fine, but the wine list is its real calling card (lots of triple- if not quadruple-figure California Cabs).

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                Barberian's
                7 Elm St, Toronto, ON M5G1H1, CA

                1. re: caviartothegeneral

                  The food except for the steak at Barberians is just plain bad. The place is ideal for oafish stockbrokers who measure their sophistication by the the expensive of the wine.

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                  Barberian's
                  7 Elm St, Toronto, ON M5G1H1, CA

                  1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                    I honestly can't remember my sides there as being bad. But I had an amazingly awesome French Onion Soup there. Super cheesy, classic and hit the spot on a cold Toronto night. Honestly the meat was good and the sides were decent but the soup was killer.

                    1. re: abigllama

                      Morton's does a great steak (as the OP even acknowledged). Some of the sides are really good, like the potatoes Lyonnaise and either of the mushroom sides. I find a truly great Caesar salad to be really hard to find - so I don't order it unless I hear good things from others.

                      I guess my point is Morton's is not a rip-off - you'll get a great steak and if you're careful, you'll enjoy decent side dishes and a pretty good dessert. To me a rip-off is somewhere like the old Le Biftec where you got a lousy steak for $30+ and cold sides. Or the Outback where you'd be chewing on your steak for several days. Morton's is an expense account vacuum to be sure but I've never walked out of there thinking I got ripped off.

                      1. re: victor page

                        The mushroom sides are just plain old button mushrooms, like at almost every other steakhouse, right? For that price you think they could throw in something like shiitakes or chanterelles.