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Dec 2, 2005 02:32 PM

Mastro's Steakhouse

  • f

Mastro's is a very tough reservation. After several unsuccessful attempts, we were finally "blessed" with a reservation last night.

Conclusion: Huge disappointment. We'd never think of going there again.


The food: Worse than mediocre. We had the highly-touted "signature" steak. It was tasteless---really tasteless. We also had crabcakes, but they too were tastless. The mac and cheese was underwhelming.

The dessert (cheesecake) was ok, but not great.

The only thing that was good was the bread and butter.

Take the thoroughly ordinary food and combine it with a very noisy, cramped restaurant and you reach but one conclusion: Never again.

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  1. Finally someone with the courage to say that the emperor is wearing no clothes! I have been amazed to read the praise heaped on Mastro's on this board--frequently it is touted as the best steak in town. After several visits at which I genuinely tried to like the place, I have to completely concur with Food Scrounger's take--crowded, stuffy, mediocre food--and wildly overpriced. Thanks, FS, for saying what needed to be said.

    12 Replies
    1. re: Foodseeker

      Who do you consider the Best. I have been to Ruth Chris and Mortons and find them less liked by me and everyone in our party, same party all 3 times. I Love The Palm and that is where it ends. Of course Taylors is good for what it is a good steak at a good price. So tell us your bests, I want to try some new places.

      1. re: Burger Boy
        Food Scrounger

        I have had great steaks at, believe it or not, Banderas.

        I don't like the Palm for steaks, but it has good crab cakes. Also overrated, in my opinion, are: Ruth Chris, Pacific Dining Car, Taylors, The Grill. I've eaten steaks at these places on more than one occasion, and I think they are mediocre at all and exhorbitantly overpriced at The Palm and Pacific Dining Car (a joke of a restaurant). Mastro's was the worst of the lot.

        I've had great steaks at SW and Prime in Las Vegas; at Peter Luger's in Brooklyn; at Cafe Des Architectes, the restaurant at Hotel Sofitel in Chicago; and at Banderas.

        1. re: Food Scrounger

          How does the price point at Bandera compare with say Houstons?

          1. re: Food Scrounger

            I notice that you didn't mention Morton's. Based upon your list of grievances, it sounds like Mortons may be much more to your liking. But not just any Morton's. Specifically, the "Arnie Morton's of Chicago" on La Cienega Boulevard in Beverly Hills is the only one that can recommend in good conscience. I say this because based upon my experiences (and those of others), the consistency of area Morton's can vary wildly. This location, however, has demonstrated a high enough rate of satisfaction -- and done it consistently -- that it passes my test for an excellent restaurant. Great steaks, great sides (and bread), comfortable surroundings and a courteous, professional staff always make dining at Arnie Morton's of Chicago a predictable, enjoyable experience.

            As far as your experience at Mastro's, ouch. It sounds like you may have fallen victim to a combination of factors, from what may well have been an "off" night in the kitchen to perhaps allowing your expectations to inflate to unreasonable proportions and losing your objectivity as a result -- the kiss of death for any first-time experience.

            I like Mastro's, but it is not for everyone. Compared to Morton's, it has a much sharper edge, and the decisions are not as clear. The lighting is more dramatic, and the staff is not as engaging. The first time I came out of Mastro's, I had mixed feelings. But, because I loved my salad, steak, side dish, bread and iced tea a whole lot, I determined that I would go back. Mastro's is not user-friendly. For one to fully appreciate it requires patience, and time. And yes, dollars. Lots of them.

            But your food should have been good, even excellent. For that there can be no reasonable excuse. Sorry to hear of your experience.

            Arnie Morton's of Chicago
            435 S. La Cienega Boulevard
            Los Angeles, CA 90048
            (310) 246-1501

            1. re: David Ford

              could not written it better myself - morton's in bh is the best steak I have ever had in la by a long shot - great romantic room and solid service. wine list sucks. great bread/butter. peter luger only does poterhouse and it mostly hype imo - been many time. Best steak I have had in the us is trotter in chicago, they buy their steak the same place as morton's in bh, allen bros.

              1. re: David Ford
                Food Scrounger

                I did forget Morton's. I guess I forgot it because I found the experiences there, forgettable as well.

                My experience is that Morton's has decent food, but nothing extraordinary. Both of my Morton's experiences have been at the restaurant on La Cienega.

                What I really don't like about Morton's is the overdone production in offering the selections. I guess I just like a steakhouse, old fashioned, no glitz, no "show." And, most importantly, great meat and side dishes. In my experience, they are few and far between, and I suspect that the steak houses that advertise "prime" may be fudging a bit.

                1. re: Food Scrounger

                  Acknowledged. In the end, it's all about the food. No argument there. Too bad about your "decent" and "unextraordinary" food at Morton's. Yikes.

                  As far as the "verbal menu" goes, I feel the same way. If you are like me, you already know what you want to order before being seated. On that note, are you aware that you have the option of skipping the verbal menu and ordering right away? My experience is that the waiter will ask you "Is this your first time at Morton's?" before he or she wheel out the cart. At this point, the diner may reply "No, we are ready to order." and get right to the grub.

                  But again, you were unimpressed with the food at Morton's. And since food is king, we need to look elsewhere.

                  Well then, you may want to try Taylor's. Although I have never eaten there, it is described as a no-nonsense "real man's" steakhouse from the old school. The steaks are said to be very good as are the salads, if I recall. And, as a bonus, the prices are said to be reasonable, as well. The place is definitely on my list to try, if I can ever make it. When I do finally do go, I want to order the culotte steak, based solely on the following Jonathan Gold quote from a review he did a few years back:

                  "But the glory of Taylor’s is the culotte steak, a softball-shaped prime thing cut from the top of the sirloin. If you order it rare, the interior is scarlet, dripping juice, marbled with fat, full of the tremendous mineral sourness of great meat. It’s the steak that time forgot."

                  To read the full review, click on the link below.

                  Taylor's Steak House
                  3361 W. Eighth Street
                  Los Angeles, CA 90005
                  (213) 382-8449


                  1. re: David Ford

                    The Taylor's culotte has been singled out here by several posters as particularly bad, Gold's review notwithstanding.

                    1. re: Ted

                      Eeek. Singled out by several posters as particularly bad -- and Gold liked it? Now that's got me curious!

                      Will visit Taylor's, consume the vaunted culotte and report back with results. :-)

                      1. re: David Ford
                        Food Scrounger

                        Re Taylor's:

                        Don't go out of your way. If you're in the neighborhood and hungry, give it a try. But it's better than even money that you'll find it ordinary.

                        And, while the restaurant has that old steakhouse feel, it also has a cootie-like feel as well. Sort of a worn out feel, the kind of place where you want to make sure your silverware has been washed.

                        Try the salad.

                    2. re: David Ford
                      Food Scrounger

                      I've eaten many times at Taylor's. In terms of decor, it is an old fashioned, very old fashioned, looking steakhouse, with even "older" servers.

                      While the salads have always been very good, I've never found the steaks to be anything to speak of. Just ordinary, but at much cheaper prices than Mastro's.

                      If I had to choose between Mastro's and Taylor's, it would be Taylor's everytime. But I wouldn't choose Taylor's anyway.

              2. re: Burger Boy

                I love the steaks at Jar, and for a little scene with a great steak, Boa. They also have the great 50% off wine list on Sundays.

            2. I agree with the pans. Mastro's = tasteless and overpriced. Why it's always packed is a mystery.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Kasser

                Re 'it's a mystery why it's always packed' about inertia!
                Mastro's was good to very good when it first started and apparently maintained that state long enough to attract an 'audience' following the leaders, and now that the 'leaders' have abandoned ship, the inmates have taken over the asylum, benumbed and loving it!
                Here's some places with pretty good steaks not mentioned so far, the Grill on the Alley in BH, Wood Ranch BBQ (not fancy but good) Charlie G's in Tarzana and the Ritz in Newport Beach.

              2. Scrounger--You really hit the nail on the head. I'd rather eat dogfood than one of Mastro's steaks. I know it sounds harsh, but there really is no excuse for such bad food at such astronomic prices.

                1. Hi folks,

                  Being a chain with stores in Arizona as well as California, discussion about your Mastro experience belongs on the General Topics board.

                  Go ahead and add your 2 cents about Los Angeles-specific steakhouses here on the LA board. We'll be deleting the chain chat that's not uniquely L.A. from this thread. Thanks.


                  1. wow - i admire the people that are making these posts - i thought i knew a decent steak - helping my dad in his butcher shop exposed me to virtually every cut of meat imaginable - i have difficulty distinguishing the steak quality between most high end steakhouses ( including maestros, boa, lincoln, ruth chris, mortons etc and you name the steakhouse in vegas - i've been to it ) - so i tend to focus on proper preparation, proper size, the available sides, the service, ambiance, etc. of all the high end places i've been to, the only one that disappoints me is pacific dining car and a mixed feeling on the palm, though i do like the energy at the 3 palms i've eaten at.

                    maybe my taste buds are dulled by all the low-end meats i've eaten in my lifetime...after all, i do love an occassional tommy's burger!! all the same, i do appreciate the posts made by everyone on this site...thanks