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Steakout, unusual grass-fed hamburgers, downtown Mountain View

In an unusually fast turnaround, the former Bodrum Cafe, at 383 Castro St. (corner California St.) in Mountain View since 2008, recently closed, and soon re-opened on Saturday as a different restaurant (retaining one of Bodrum's partners and adding new ones).

When I poked my head in and quizzed them (shortly before Steakout opened), the partners kindly explained a modest but passionate vision. Grass-fed hamburgers from "whole-cow" beef (i.e. not ground from scraps), from a dedicated farm supplier, served with interesting garnishes at moderate prices (regular around $6, 21-day dry-aged beef, supply permitting, around $10). Within that definition they have been aggressively, even visibly fine-tuning their recipes like perfectionists, toward the "best, most memorable" burger possible at their price.

I saw taste tests underway when we talked. One partner is a baker and has developed a custom bun, recognizeably a hamburger bun but more substantial and satisfying than the commercial article. I heard about the importance (to the resulting "crunch") of grilling rather than toasting the buns. The dough uses a local wild-yeast rather than commercial starter (so even the yeasts are local!). Kitchen was operating well before the new business opened (many Bodrum staff remain), with incessant cooking experiments. Pedestrians at this busy corner (across California St. from Scratch) were offered pilot-batch samples, or asked for taste feedback, in the several days before the opening. Likewise with the French fries, French-bistro style ($2), which so far have been, in my experience, outstanding,

The hell of this is, it's all very real, and it works! I've now had some _excellent_ flavorful hamburgers there. Folks I know who live nearby are starting to email testimonials. Though the menu concept entails some obviously trendy elements, I've seen no hint of preciousness or over-hipness at this down-to-earth new restaurant. The partners seem to be focused, knowledgeable,, and sticking to their knitting. Because the business is barely open, interior layout and menu are still pretty simple, but Steakout seems to've been rather busy ever since it opened Saturday.

401 Castro Street, Mountain View, CA 94041

383 Castro St., Mountain View, CA 94041

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  1. Thanks for the update! They're moving from one busy market segment to perhaps an even more crowded one. But if they've learned that mediocrity won't work in a crowded market niche on a street with lots of other dining choices, that's good news indeed.

    Given the pricing, I'm hoping that the burgers are a reasonable size, not the overly large ones that place like The Counter offer?


    10 Replies
    1. re: mdg

      They're fairly standard US "quarter-pound" size, the buns around 4 inches (10 cm) diameter.

      Not sure what you mean by a crowded market segment (unless maybe hamburgers, of course). I know MV's restaurants pretty well, and only one of the 100 nearby restaurants(Clarke's charcoal grill) specializes in hamburgers; another (Kapp's Pizza Bar and Grill), less widely known for it, grinds US Prime burgers in two different sizes and they can be quite good; a couple of other restaurants offer them as one of many menu items. But grass-fed beef isn't common for hamburgers locally, to my knowledge (and no other local restaurant has these buns -- you'll see what I mean -- nor the several unusual garnishes). But please correct me: People have publicly sought good fresh hamburgers in downtown MV for many years, on sites like this one.

      (Speaking of which, it took me several tries to get a stable log-in to post this reply. The ever-increasing overhead of advertisement downloads here -- which now seems to take minutes even on high-speed connections, and the ads sometimes collide with each other or crash the browser -- is approaching the point of making the site unusable. If you see any general falling-off of postings, this factor might be part of it.)

      1. re: eatzalot

        The aged beef burger was sensational, rich with flavor. With the aged option, they use a mixture of ground meet from multiple parts of the cow, not just chuck or the like. That bun is light and has great texture.

        I don't see where they're competing with many local places in content or quality, either. How many places in Mountain View serve grass fed beef in any form?

        It'll be interesting to see what they do with the menu over the upcoming weeks.

        I never ate at Bodrum, though I'd meant to. How was it?

        1. re: maigre

          I meant that higher-quality hamburgers are being innundated with new chains (Counter, Five Guys) similar to what happened with yogurt places. I sure don't know any place serving dry-aged burgers in this price range - maybe Alexander's does for more? What I wonder is whether that will be distinctive enough in the presence of so much well-funded competition. Hope so if it lives up to its promise!

          Bodrum was OK but pretty much indistinguishable from the maze of other mediocre Turkish places in the area, and not as good as someplace like Dishdash in Sunnyvale. People talk about "cursed" locations but I think it's the concept and/or execution that's the problem there. I hope to try Steakout in a couple weeks after it's settled out some.


          1. re: mdg

            I've tried all the Turkish places on Castro other than Bodrum. I'd meant to go there, but never did. I feel like there really is something about that location, the building in particular, that keeps people away. It's paradoxical in that the outdoor eating area and multiple doors that make access easy and could create a tone of openness, but somehow the place seems cold and uninviting. Maybe it's just me, but plenty have stayed away from that spot.

            Hopefully, this will go well for the owners. Whether there's much of a market for grass fed meat in Mountain View, I don't know. I hope there is. But plenty of people like burgers and the one I ate was bursting with flavor, texture and juiciness that was different from most, including high end ones. So those who don't care about the quality or origins of the meat may be persuaded by the taste.

            It's been a few years since I've been to RWC's La Casita Chilanga, but the buns remind me of the torta bread there, at least as I recall it.

            Steakout's definitely a work in progress, so some settling out and evolution of things is surely forthcoming.

            La Casita Chilanga
            2928 Middlefield Rd, Redwood City, CA 94063

            383 Castro St., Mountain View, CA 94041

            1. re: maigre

              I think the space does have a bit of a curse to it. When I think of all the nice things people try to do - use that patio, have music - the interior has low ceilings, small windows, and feels cramped. That cross street has 3 popular restaurants, Scratch, Cascal, Shiva's, so the physical location should be great. As I remember, the place was a Weinerschnitzel long long ago, is my memory correct? Does anyone else remember what they were in the 90's?

              Another cursed space along Castro is where The Kitchen is. I think they chose wisely - hit a niche that would be a destination, because there's not another similar restaurant and the jewish / eastern european community is fanatical. Bona in MP is doing OK (I hope!) with a similar space with a long term curse - and they're the only Polish restaurant in the bay area. They deserve more mention as well.

              I don't know if burgers will have quite the same draw, but if their patio service is strong, they might break out.

              400 Castro St., Mountain View, CA 94041

              1. re: bbulkow

                In the 90s, that location was a Weinerschnitzel. When it closed, the place remained closed for at least a year to be renovated.

                Bodrum Cafe seemed the most successful of the restaurants to occupy that space.

                Previous occupants:
                Weinerschnitzel - opened a long time ago, and closed in 2003?, and remained empty for a few years. I remember seeing a sign for a restaurant that was coming soon that never materialized, before First and Goal opened in that location.

                First and Goal - opened sept 2006, closed early 2007.
                383 Cafe and Oyster Bar - Opened April 2007, closed Sept 2007
                Castro Point Bar and Grill - Sept 2007 - Sept 2008
                Bodrum Cafe - Oct 2008 - June 2011

                1. re: mhuang

                  Wow, mhuang, you clearly have the local restaurant history down, I can enthusiastically confirm all that. (We should compare notes one of these days.)

                  Around S. Bay where many very skilled Turkish-born cooks and restaurateurs work, it's customary to label their places "Mediterranean" or the like, for obvious marketing reasons (to many North Americans, Turkey is only a bird). Mehmet Degerli's Bodrum Cafe was the first on its street to clearly call itself Turkish (though the respected Cafe Baklava nearby did so more quietly). Stett Holbrook at the Metro made a point of that, 'till informed of several other restaurants with Turkish cooks or owners within short walk. Degerli grew up in the hospitality industry, worked many aspects of it, and is well respected locally (he was founding partner also of Zucca down the street, first of the more modern, post-2000 bar-grills locally). I enjoyed Bodrum's cooking a few times, I found it about the most subtle of this class of restaurants in the neighborhood. I hope Degerli tries something else locally (at perhaps a different address). I've also greatly enjoyed recently, as have many other locals I know, Ephesus, the Greek - Turkish place at 185 Castro since early this year (replacing Thaiphoon's unsuccessful expansion at one of the most venerable downtown MV restaurant addresses, as mhuang surely knows too). Ephesus is unusual in being operated by a recent immigrant family from the region that plies unique family recipes with passion.

                  And before I forget (and while I've got a stable CH session!) Morocco's new expansion from SJ to 873 Castro since last week (replacing the remarkable Savory), including an impressive live-music calendar, is hotter than a Habanero right now, the local residents i've heard from are raving about it.

                  (Local comment on restaurant turnover at 383 Castro divides exactly into two groups, who either do, or don't, know the basic factor. The second group speculates -- "curses" etc. --- but the actual peculiarity at 383 is far from supernatural, it's mundane, financial, obvious if you read commercial real-estate ads, and related to the similar turnover at #401, which Scratch now occupies. I wish the current restaurants the best luck, and they've both made excellent starts.)

                  Zucca Ristorante
                  186 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94041

                  Cafe Baklava
                  341 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94041

                  morocco's restaurant
                  86 N. Market Street, San Jose, CA 95113

                  Thaiphoon Restaurant
                  543 Emerson St, Palo Alto, CA 94301

                  Ephesus Restaurant
                  185 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94041

                  1. re: eatzalot

                    I tried to eat at Savory twice, it seems there were in a half-closed state for a while. Long live Morocco!

                    1. re: eatzalot

                      I tried Morocco's, and was medium impressed. I like the tastes, it's good having a moroccan place that's not all full of belly dancers, but the price is pretty high. We walked out with $50/pp, and it didn't fee like a $50/pp meal. The service was trying too hard (but charmingly so - their tag line is "are you celebrating something special, or just here for a good time" - or something like that. No, actually, we're just here for dinner). The tangines were quite good. The wine list was full of interesting stuff, and at a $35/bottle flat rate.

                      Give it a try!

              2. re: mdg

                Dishdash is actually Palestinian (chefs/cooking style) according to a coworker of mine who can actually tell the difference between Turkish, Palestinian and Lebanese :-). And yes, Dishdash is quite excellent. Cafe Baklava just a few doors down, is Turkish, and not bad, but it's nowhere near as tasty as Dishdash.
                Mediterranean Grill House on Castro up the street is also Palestinian.

                Dishdash Restaurant
                190 S Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94086

                Cafe Baklava
                341 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94041

        2. Wow! That was fast. I had recently been walking down that very street wondering where to get a burger - it's a serious lack within that walking area. Scratch has one lunch only, Netto probably has one, but that's not much.

          1. I was not impressed.

            1) the bun is teh awesome. Like a good brioche.
            2) the fries are pretty good.
            3) the patty is *SMALL*. I got the 21 day aged, and it was shriveled. The taste, what I could make of it, was quite interesting, and good, but it was gone in 4 mouthfuls, and there was no real juice to roll around on one's tongue. The burger was about the size of an in-n-out-single. I'm not big on size, but if I knew it was a 4 oz burger, I would have ordered two.
            4) there was no request about how cooked, and the burger was cooked to "well". I would think the default should be Medium, but I should also expect folks to ask.
            5) I got the horseradish aoli, and there was no horseradish taste.
            6) [ jeeze, doesn't everyone know beef and blue cheese are the best? ]

            I'll give this place another shot - but what's going on? Was this a special case? It was right near closing. Or is the "unusual" about these burgers that they are small and cooked grey for a $10 burger?

            Now I have to go have a second dinner.

            4 Replies
            1. re: bbulkow

              I've tried three hamburgers there so far and was very pleased. Later today (with plenty of company) I plan a comparative taste-test of all four types. (bb, if you can point out another independent hamburger place in the neighborhood with grass-fed beef and creative garnishes, at these prices, I'll check it out! Of course it probably also will be well established, so can't be compared directly to a just-opened novel independent restaurant. Some time ago, local veteran chef friends commented that the restaurant journalists who cover MV, mostly in local small papers, normally wait four to eight weeks so as to report reasonably soon but not right after opening.)

              I especially like the craftsmanship and attention to flavor I notice from Steakout's owners. Maybe I was lucky to get their burgers exactly as they want to make them, at uncrowded times.

              A few people have complained of start-up glitches, which may continue for a bit; hamburgers over- or undercooked, or not cooked as requested. Though it also must be said the restaurant actually cautions people (on a placard near the cashier, on my last visit) that the restaurant just opened, and actively solicits feedback and the opportunity to fix anything unsatisfactory. I also was told a couple of times that this is an initial menu and should later expand.

              383 Castro St., Mountain View, CA 94041

              1. re: eatzalot

                My second time around wasn't quite as dazzling as the first. I again ordered the aged version. My burger was slightly overcooked, though not enough to totally dry it out and make it gray. But this time, the flavor wasn't so startlingly lively. It was just another pretty good burger. And I'm not that into burgers that I'd come eat one like this every week.

                I wonder if this isn't a function of what they're doing with the aged beef burgers. Grass fed meat tends to be a little erratic in its flavor and texture relative to the corn finished stuff to begin with. (That's fine with me, given the tradeoffs.) Plus, they're saying they're using far more parts of the cow than just chuck or whatever. So if on a given day, you get a mixture that has more chuck and sirloin and on another you get more rib eye and hangar, the experience will be quite a bit different.

                I'll probably give it some time before my next visit, though my kids may get me back sooner. Knowing that there's a place other than home where I can feed them burgers with grass fed beef is comforting.

                1. re: eatzalot

                  " (bb, if you can point out another independent hamburger place in the neighborhood with grass-fed beef and creative garnishes, at these prices, I'll check it out! )"

                  I would love there to be a good burger in that few block area. The only burgers are scratch for lunch and Netto, which isn't enough.

                  Can you please describe the burgers you had, how big they were, how they were cooked, and how they tasted? In all your writing you've simply said "__excellent__ flavorful". The burger I had included a lot of flavor --- maybe what I had was normal? Maybe this is their style. I won't complain about something when I don't understand the style.

                  Regarding your often protestations about writing about a restaurant too early, you seem very happy to write about it. My caveats about opening week were on full display.

                  Is what I had representative, or not?

                  383 Castro St., Mountain View, CA 94041

                  1. re: bbulkow

                    Further to my comments below, please don't overlook (as many people seem relentlessly to do) the other major Castro St. hamburger option I mentioned above (July 11) and in past CH postings: Kapp's Pizza Bar and Grill (191 Castro) with its US Prime burgers in two sizes and shapes (one-third pound in standard bun, one-half on a French roll called "Francisco burger"), grilled to order, generous fresh-produce and multiple optional cheese garnishes, and usually superb steak fries. I've had these burgers maybe 10 times in 10 years and they were not totally consistent; once or twice they seemed dull, as if cranked out of an indifferent fast-food place, but more often I found them very good and similar to what I'd make at home using good ground beef.

                    (NOT as good as my father and I would make around 1970, coarsely ground using fresh beef and a clamp-mounted cast-iron hand grinder, even requiring no garnish to be memorable beyond maybe a touch of salt; but that is a different kind of hamburger.)

              2. Improvising in effect a buffet, with each of the four current burger types in halves and quarters, we tried all four kinds together. Observations:

                -- Dry-aged versions (14 days by the way, not 21 as I wrote earlier) were more flavorful, and popular. (I tasted the horseradish on the one, as before.)

                -- This time (but not on my previous walk-in), manager on duty mentioned that the burgers are done medium-rare, and they'd gladly cook them differently on request. (I said stick to the standard version, and med.-rare is about how they came.)

                -- Meat patties varied somewhat in size (hand-shaped?) although basically about quarter-pound size. One was quite generous [maybe we we got some of what was missing in bbulkow's]. With the sometimes rich garnishes (3 of 4, I believe, include both cheese and sauces) some of us were filled up with one, some needed about 1.5 burgers.

                -- Again I noticed a sense of balance and taste in the recipes; these were four different, interesting sandwiches.

                -- Fries (ultimately three orders shared) were consistently less crisp than on two previous visits. My companions allowed, still, that they were above average. Again moderately and evenly salted, this time they lacked that crisp, light, poised style that French neighborhood bistros and some Bay Area restaurants have no trouble producing in quantity. I'd guess new kitchen workers are coming in, with pressure to fill orders quickly. Yet before Steakout officially opened, I saw the kitchen turn out a large group of orders (12?) that were all one could ask from French fries, so this kitchen has demonstrated it can do so in production.

                -- The business is still coming together physically, vendors coming and going. During our late lunch, minor construction occurred in the dining room (so we sat outside). We later got a last-call request, as the kitchen was shutting down for two hours replace a stove or something. Employees were very good about it, gave us apologies and a price break. (A few unlucky walk-in customers were turned away during the unusual shutdown.)

                I've now eaten as many hamburgers in a week as in a typical year (even innocently got another, just before I first stumbled on Steakout). I'd guess these are much healthier than most. Our ancestors ate grazing beef after all -- not cows fed sugar, corn, growth hormones, and shotgun antibiotics and confined de-facto immobile in grotesque lots visible and smellable along Interstate 5 in central California. Grass-fed beef is said to contain more omega-3 fats (which our bodies also were evolved to prefer) than salmon, But Steakout will offer a wicked temptation for more.

                (PS bb, just saw your last posting. Maybe you misunderstood my thrust: I mentioned _professional critics_ waiting for new restaurants to settle down, seeking, at least in principle, a representative experience. We who report anecdotes from a brand new restaurant know, if we've done it much, that they may predict neither another's experience nor our own, next time And that a new restaurant can't be compared directly to one of similar genre with years of experience.)

                383 Castro St., Mountain View, CA 94041

                7 Replies
                1. re: eatzalot

                  I must have missed it, but what are the 4 different burger types? You mention "Dry-aged versions" so at least 2 variations there. Can you list the 4 types and how you ranked them?


                  1. re: drewskiSF

                    Good point! Caveat: The 1-page July-11 menu (in my MV menus file) has slightly different wording from what I saw earlier, and also, they said the sandwich names, especially the aged versions, are kind of placeholders, pending better names -- suggestions were solicited. Also seems from the menu like it's "Steak Out," but some wording elsewhere has it one word as I used above.

                    And correcting from above, all four burgers include both sauce and cheese -- no wonder we found them filling.

                    Classic Cheeseburger ($6): Steak Out sauce, American cheese, lettuce, tomato [cheese omitted on request, I was asked each time].

                    Classic Chili Cheeseburger ($7): "Beefy, spicy and dripping [I'll testify to that!] all-beef chili topped cheeseburger, yellow mustard, diced onions, pickles, tomato."

                    The other two use the aged version of the same beef (from the Joe Morris farm in San Juan Bautista):

                    "Experience" ($9.50): "Sharp cheddar cheese, Steak out sauce, lettuce and tomato."

                    "Euphoria" ($10): "Crispy fried onions [they're very finely cut and browned, like so-called French fried onions], horseradish mayonnaise, Sharp cheddar cheese."

                    Menu also declares "We are a 100% grass-fed beef house," "150% satisfaction guaranteed (we'll do whatever it takes)," which I have taken them up on, and I hope others do too as necessary. Menu also offers fries ($2), "vanilla bean shake" ($4.50), soft drinks ($1.50), three red and two white varietal wines by the glass ($3), several bottled beers including non-alcoholic ($3). Local draft beers pending.

                    We did no systematic preference ranking. I prefer the Chili Cheeseburger and the "Euphoria" (with the crispy onoins and horseradish), they're the most different from each other though all four sandwiches are clearly related (sharing the same custom bun and related forms of beef). And again following recent hamburger overexposure I may take a breather before trying more. At least until noon.

                    Kapp's Pizza Bar & Grill El Amigo
                    191 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94041

                  2. re: eatzalot

                    Thanks kindly! It seems I got the short end of the stick.

                    I love the patio now. It's a very welcoming space, unlike some of the other restaurants who have been there. I enjoyed sitting on the patio and munching, and as the burgers get more consistent, I'll be there a little more often.

                    A great reminder about Kapp's; that's one I haven't even been inside. Another burger is Tied House, but it's tasty but average.

                    1. re: bbulkow

                      Apropos Tied House, good point and I had similar impressions. Got a very decent basic fresh juicy hamburger there a few months ago.

                      The reason MV's Tied House hasn't yet penetrated my own consciousness as a FOOD venue is its horrible history. Since the 1990s, in both casual efforts to get food to go with our beers, and organized events and large business dinners, I was persistently disappointed with TH's food, though decent beers were served. And so was everyone else I've talked to personally on the subject, INCLUDING TIED-HOUSE EMPLOYEES! Only recently have I seen things like decent hamburgers there, so it is taking a while to assimilate the sheer amazing novelty of TH as a good place to eat.

                      Tied House Cafe & Brewery
                      954 Villa St, Mountain View, CA 94041

                      1. re: eatzalot

                        My burger today at Steakout was quite good. I tried the Standard burger, and the meat fine but not great - but the price was right. I look forward to the next burger with the grassfed.

                        The fries were done a bit more crisp. They were then good.

                        Really, quite good. I think they're going for the Shake Shake market.

                        An owner, who was putting up lights, came and said hi.

                        383 Castro St., Mountain View, CA 94041

                        1. re: bbulkow

                          When I wrote "shake shake" I meant "shake shack", in NYC. To compete with Shake Shack, they'll need a lot more toppings of high quality (like mushrooms and something veggie).

                  3. I dunno. I was there today and they seemed to have 2 choices for lunch : (a) cheeseburger or (b) chili cheese burger.

                    The cheeseburger was OK but nothing to write home about and there were no exotic or interesting toppings (or sides) on offer.

                    So as a walking patron I'm wondering why I shouldn't just go to Clarke's

                    (yes a partner/owner greeted me but that doesn't make the food remarkable)

                    (and "hi" to my homies on the Boston board where I haven't posted seriously for about 10 years)

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Psmith

                      Psmith - there should have been 4 on offer, 2 of the "normal" variety, 2 of the grass fed. I've had one of each so far. The grass fed I am hoping to write off as a first-week anomoly, the standard burger was correctly cooked and nicely juicy, but nothing special (clarke's is better).

                      The interesting toppings are on the grass fed. I also don't find them outrageous. At The Counter you get interesting toppings, not Steakout.

                      383 Castro St., Mountain View, CA 94041

                      1. re: Psmith

                        I wrote in the first posting here that there may not _always_ be four burger offerings, but maybe I didn't stress "supply permitting" enough. They told me when Steakout opened that they get their beef on cycles of (?) two weeks, age some of it separatly and use the rest in production. Once the aged stuff is sold out, they said, they must wait until the next batch is aged.

                        I hope they are making this clear to customers, with reports of the four burgers already spreading, otherwise it could cause unnecessary confusion and disappointment.

                        So much about Steakout remains early and awkward (what a notice indoors apologized for, and called alpha-test phase) that people trying Steakout now should stay clearly aware of all that, and allow for it. To experience more like what Steakout promises in the longer run, I'd wait several weeks. The rituals and teamwork (and equipment, furniture -- what's indoors now is Bodrum's leftover wooden tables, sans cloth -- utensils, signage, decoration, etc.) should be together, and the menu may also have begun to expand beyond its simple start.

                        Meanwhile, once someone learns the beef-supply schedule and posts it (or mentions when the aged beef returns), we'll know the timing, therefore which days they're most likely to have the fancier burgers. I'm in the neighborhood constantly so will watch for it, but anyway getting that information will present no difficulty to the intrepid informants of Chowhound.

                        1. re: eatzalot

                          Two corrections and a Thursday food event:

                          False alarm about missing burger types, they're readily available, no (current) need to worry about beef schedules. The guy at the counter today said he's been there every day (of the ten) that Steakout's been open, and the restaurant has never stopped offering the premium beef. One unusual, probably one-shot, thing happened Sunday which is that they ran out of _buns_ and substituted a smaller size and called them "sliders" -- a separate menu, still offered today; but I got a regular simple classic burger (again quite good, the beef stood out and the vegetables were conspicuously fresh) and have not tried those "sliders." I'd guess that was behind Psmith's unfortunate but unusual experience. (On the other hand when I was a few blocks from there on Sunday, local friends were stopping by and telling about the cool new "sliders" at Steakout ... The place is indeed generating some buzz in downtown MV, I can testify.)

                          Also correcting what I wrote earlier, all the beef is dry-aged, the premium version is only slightly more so but it comes from the better cuts of the whole-cow beef that Steakout buys.

                          Possible scoop: Thursday (7/21) MV's downtown is doing one of its Thursday Night Live dates. (Does about four every summer since they started a couple years ago.) Castro St. closes to traffic around 5 PM, a live music stage goes up around the Dana intersection, people hang out in the street (some bring chairs) for the music, vendors sell produce and other things, like a mini farmer's market. It's run by the local businesses (CBA) rather than an outside contractor as with weekend street fairs. The major downtown parking lots (which run through the centers of the blocks, paralleling Castro St.) empty out just then from downtown workers leaving, so should be very easy to park.

                          That's just the background, here's the news: Steakout not only will be selling its burgers to the strolling pedestrians, but acc. to the partner who was telling customers about this today, the small private parking area (off California) at Steakout will host multiple food trucks too, by Steakout's invitation.

                          383 Castro St., Mountain View, CA 94041

                      2. I stopped in for lunch today. I had the "Experience" and the standard cheeseburger. Both were good but I couldn't taste a substantial difference between the two. Very juicy, maybe just a touch too much special sauce, perfectly melted cheese and I enjoyed the chewy grilled bun. Overall a very positive experience. The fries were fine, but nothing special.

                        1. Steakout began serving breakfast at 7AM today ("steak and eggs" advertised; several other menu items including vegetarian).

                          Also, last night for the summer "Thursday Night Live" Castro street closure, Steakout invited four separate diverse food trucks, arranged via Movable Feast, which formed an open square in the small parking lot and drew considerable crowds (Garlic Noodles, Cajun, Cuban, and Ice Cream -- with karaoke -- were there). Web site mvbl.org currently says this will be a WEEKLY event in downtown MV, 5-9 PM Thursdays.

                          I was able to post advance word of both developments here and there, except Chowhound where several attempts to do so were stymied by technical problems associated with ad downloads as mentioned earlier.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: eatzalot

                            The food trucks will be back 5-9 PM tonight at Steakout, and again in two weeks (Aug. 18). I believe both are street-closure nights so downtown MV will have live music (other end of the same block, at Dana) and lots of pedestrians. Here's the line-up I saw for tonight:

                            An the Go - Garlic Noodles
                            Curry Up Now - Indian
                            Louisiana Territory - Cajun
                            Treatbot - Karaoke Ice Cream

                            If you happen to come to the area specifically for these events, note that Castro St is inaccessible, but large downtown public parking areas run for several blocks, parallel to Castro, through the middle of each block on either side of Castro. Get to them via open streets parallel to Castro. There should be plenty of parking there, because the lots are used mainly in daytime.

                            Louisiana Territory
                            Mountain View, Mountain View, CA

                          2. Considerable menu changes. Besides adding breakfasts Friday, Steakout revised its burger offerings. The two cheaper burger options are gone. Owners told me, when I asked about this, that contrary to what I wrote earlier the cheaper burgers used a different source of grass-fed beef which had some problem, so they went over to entirely the Morris farm in SJB, their existing premium source.

                            The premium burger menu expanded in more ways than one. Patties themselves are now six ounces (about $2.25 worth of raw beef by my independent information of current premium grass-fed beef prices wholesale to the restaurant trade, about $6 / pound) and there are now five premium versions, all priced $9.25.

                            New options join the original "Experience" and "Euphoria" burgers previously mentioned: "Karma" has caramelized onions and pickle slices; "Undressed" is customized with conventional garnishes; and "Chi-Chi" I'll leave to your discovery (or someone else's typing) -- it's a little complicated.

                            A grilled (two-)cheese and tomato sandwich ($4.50) is a new entry-level and vegetarian sandwich option that one fellow downtown-MV regular already tried and praised; I haven't yet tried it. (Comment I've gotten privately from diverse locals trying Steakout, including a venerable vegetarian resident who tried breakfast there, is uniformly positive, and the food-truck array during last Thursday's pedestrian evening provoked a lot of interest. I'm told at Steakout that the next such is planned for August 4 but check with Steakout for latest schedule.)

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: eatzalot

                              I have to describe the "Chi-Chi" burger after all, because I found (today) I liked it best of all burger types tried so far (which is all the ones offered now and previously except the "Undressed" which is just a free-form option, garnished to order from components of the others).

                              The new (since this past weekend) Steakout burgers are _thick,_ around 16 mm or half again as thick as the earlier models. About like I make at home. The Karma, today (as described above), was interesting, more mild than bold, the pickles restrained, the caramelized onions subtle by nature (as you already know if you've cooked with them at home more than a few dozen times). The Chi-Chi is a more cosmopolitan cousin of the now-gone basic chili-cheese burger. It had a little bit of very good tomato, sharp cheddar, a little mustard and pickle, and a layer of chili, more of a condiment now (i.e. still spilling out slightly, but not stealing the show as in the earlier chili-cheese). Delicious, a fine sense of balance. That one I finished without help even though it was our last "course." These two burgers were ordered medium-rare and came medium-rare to medium, and unlike past orders seemed to have less, or no, salt worked into the meat (I'd tasted just a hint of it in past orders). The half I tried of the grilled-cheese sandwich was competent and as advertised. Standard current product uses two slices each of sharp cheddar and mozzarella. Preferring a certain ingredients balance when I make grilled sandwiches at home, I requested half the usual cheese (just one slice of each) which came out what I consider perfect, so I can believe that the standard version fits its menu characterization: "Gooey Grilled Cheese and Tomato Sandwich, $4.50."

                              Oh, and I forgot in previous posting: "Steak 'Frites" is coming, I'm told. (They already make the steaks at breakfast, the fries for lunch and dinner, so it's just a matter of combining.) A small quickly-cooked tender steak -- sometimes a "hanger" steak, or a rib-eye -- served with excellent fries, is one of the most popular specialties in casual French bistros. (If you'd enjoy such a combination, and have been in France, and haven't had this specialty, it tells me you haven't eaten out much when you were there!)

                            2. I can't keep up here with Steakout's menu evolution. Vegi-Burger appeared recently, haven't tasted it yet.

                              Related current discussion of flavor of some grass-fed beef and why, on General board. (I haven't tasted anything notably fishy at Steakout.) Link to my general comment there about the different fat chemistry in grass-fed beef:


                              1. After reading the reviews here and on Yelp I decided to it a try. My last attempt was when it was Bodrum. I say attempt because my GF and I not having a clue as to that kind of food was served noticed a standing board menu on the sidewalk. We pulled into a nearly empty parking lot behind the restaurant and started to walk over to where we could see the menu. Immediately some guys comes running out yelling that we can't park there as it's for patrons only! Well, ef him, we got back in the car never to return.

                                Today we parked in the rear (still empty lot BTW) and headed in. There were two people at tables with their fountain drinks but no food. Line had about 6 people. Menu consisted of three handwritten signs. But wait! There was Mr. Yelly Guy, standing behind the counter next to the woman at the cash register; glowering. After standing in a non-moving line for about three minutes, I noticed that there might be menus on the counter at the front of the line, I went up there and.....Eureka! Menus! Line still hasn't moved BTW, and given that no one knows what on the menu till they get to the front, it's somewhat understandable. People at tables still foodless. Line still unmoving. Mr. Happy still glowering. Menu was very simple. Prices could be"fair" depending on how the food turned out. Not anything resembling steak on the menu however. Line still not moving have invested about 10 minutes in line and it then moved one person. Not having another 50 minutes to invest in standing in line and what appears to be forever waiting to get served we decided to go to Yakkos.

                                I see below where Mr. Happy "Grew up in the Hospitality business." I doubt however, that he knows what the means.

                                Oh yeah. We never saw any food. None.

                                1. I ate here again and was quite happy..

                                  First problem: they were out of "grass fed", and had a backup "juicy angus" meat. The meat and burger was quite nice. Juicy as promised. Fries were on the well-done side, as people often hope from in-n-out when you order "well done". The fries were the right quantity for two people to share.

                                  More interesting was the beer selection and beer garden atmosphere. The patio was extraordinarily pleasant, with quite a few long tables, specializing in light german lagers sold by the half liter and liter. One good west coast IPA - Racer5. It's a great place to meet for after work drinks.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: bbulkow

                                    Opening the patio as a "beer garden" was a good move, IMO. You can get eight or so European beers on tap in various sizes, and several (8?) kinds of casual sausages at about $6, grilled, with choice of garnishes (caramelized onions, sweet peppers, s'kraut, etc.). After trying many combos I recommend the "Harissa" sweet-hot pepper garnish. Everyone I know who's tried it likes it too. (Once, Steakout proved very handy for picking up a big selection of grilled sausages on rolls for a party nearby, and the kitchen kindly packaged all four garnishes in bulk in tubs. That led to some taste-testing at the party.)

                                    Story behind "running out of grass-fed beef:" I too ran into that, twice in a row, when going for exactly that, about the time of bbulkow's report here, and it was annoying, though they did offer good-quality mainstream "Angus" beef with apologies in its place (note: with all the recent dilution of the breed, it will soon be the _minority_ of US beef that doesn't exploit the label and former cachet of "Black Angus").

                                    I asked the managing partner, Mike, what's up with running out of the signature ingredient, grass-fed beef. He said that it had proen so popular that the Morris ranch (the original regional contractor) now provides all its beef to Steakout and that various supplemental firms used to fill the further demand had proven to be unreliable. He said they'd just found one that looked like a permanent solutuion (thiswas about a month ago). I'm curious if anyone is till running into the problem of no gradss-fed beef.

                                    (milcron's rather Yelp-ish complaint above, posted soon after Steakout opened, does read like a disappointing comedy of errors -- partly due to startup issues that I saw too, largely resolved some time ago -- but after a good 20 visits and many other reports from locals, I can assure everyone it doesn't represent the typical experience at Steakout today. Then again, you can go into any restaurant and have a disappointing one-shot experience, most especially if you approach it with a certain attitude, which would account for some online reports I read that are wonderfully and demonstrably unrepresentative of most people's experiences, therefore not very helpful to readers ...)

                                    383 Castro St., Mountain View, CA 94041

                                    1. re: eatzalot

                                      Since eatzalot's review over a year ago (!) I have been trying to make it down to Steakout. Last Saturday's warm summer night seemed like the perfect time to ride our bicycles downtown and mack on some beef 'n beer. Mr. UBetty hates standing in line so he was able to get his gripes out early before settling in for his meal. I used the line time review the many burger and beer choices. Mr. UBetty chose the Undressed with blue cheese. I was in the mood for something spicier and went with the Hot Lips (pickled jalapenos, red onion, pepper jack and chipotle aioli). And hey, they asked how we wanted the burgers cooked. Who does that anymore?

                                      We liked the bier garten atmosphere and enjoyed sharing a table with some nice folks with two sweet, bell-behaved doggies. The mood outdoors was lively with a raucous group of Giants fans at the southeast corner well on their way to tomorrow's hangovers. Fun stuff. We got our beer at the order counter, both of us ordering beers I am not used to seeing in the area, the Kostrizer Schwarzbier for me and Eel River's Double IPA for him. About 15 minutes later the burgers and fries arrived. Dang, these burgers were good!

                                      The potato brioche buns were amazing. I am usually that obnoxious diner who picks off and discards any extra bread. It's just something to hold everything else together, right? Not so in this case. I ate the entire bun! I could even smell the yeast. (Yes, I am one of those weirdos who sniffs bread.) I was happily inhaling my spicy Hot Lips when Mr. UBetty started waxing on and on about the wonderful flavor of the beef. It was then I realized my error. I couldn't taste the meaty goodness through all those pickled jalapenos. Doh! Normally I would kvetch if 1) there weren't enough jalapenos and 2) they weren't spicy enough. For this burger they were overkill so out they came with about 2/3 of the onions. Now my burger was perfect. Why pay for this kind of meat if you can't enjoy that little hint of grass-fed gaminess? Also, it was super juicy and required numerous napkins, another good sign. Mine was cooked perfectly medium-rare, Mr. UBetty's was a bit overdone but he still enjoyed it. Next time I am going with the Undressed with blue cheese. Gotta agree with bbulkow that beef and blue cheese are the best. I was a fool to have strayed.

                                      The russet fries were perfect, crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside. They must have fried them just before serving us because they remained hot until the last one. They weren't garlic fries or the sweet potato fries, just regular french fries cooked as they should be.

                                      There were a couple of comments above about size of the burger. For me a 5 oz. patty, which is what they serve, is perfect. Mr. UBetty and I each had a burger, shared an order of fries, and our beers. I was too full for another beer. The mister enjoyed a second brewskie while I people-watched. It was a very full patio and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. Most were stuffing their faces with burgers or dogs, a few were just enjoying the beer selection, and most everyone was very cordial about making space for those who had just ordered.

                                      I skimmed through the previous comments and it seems that Steakout has worked out their problems with running out of grass-fed beef. Now they source it regularly through Marin Sun Farms, as confirmed by the waiter Barrisch (love him!).

                                      The crowd next to us were mowing through a variety of sausages and one veggie burger. They all said they liked what they ordered. The veggie guy in particular loved his selection which was a falafel patty instead of the usual Garden Burger.

                                      All in all it was an excellent burger experience and I love the bier garten ambiance. (Anyone remember the old Heidelberg Beer Gardens off of 237? Sigh.) I will definitely go back to Steakout.

                                  2. Went for the 1st time yesterday and was underwhelmed. The buns seemed heavy and the meat was.....meh. I ordered a 4 oz plain medium rare with chedder only and could not really taste the meat. The beer was really good however.

                                    Maybe it is just me but I am beginning to think that Grass fed beef is the emperors' newest outfit. There seems to be noithing there.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: budnball

                                      I ate here last week (after a long absence) and loved the burger.

                                      I think I had the Euphoria, but I had the larger burger. It was juicy with a strong meat taste. I do continue to prefer Palo Alto's Peninsula Creamery (at a lower price), and the beer & patio is a strong attraction, but I think it's a very strong burger.

                                      I do remember that the smaller burgers were a bit lost in the bun.

                                      1. re: budnball

                                        I recommend giving this place (or any other restaurant, but especially such a casual one) several tries including multiple menu items before concluding much.

                                        I know that's not practical for everyone (and people online are accustomed to rationalizing strong conclusions from single visits -- just look at Y*lp). But reflecting now on maybe 60 meals at SteakOut, some were indifferent, and some quite creative (like interestingly garnished lamb burgers that rotate through the menu).

                                        Incidentally SteakOut's name has been "about to change" for six months now. Owners decided a new name last Fall, took a poll, changed their minds, then one of them told me around Jan. that they finally found the right one, registered it, and were awaiting new signage etc before making it public.

                                      2. Had a really nice time sitting outside yesterday afternoon -- it was great to see the sun! Even though what I got (BBQ pulled pork sandwich and white wine) was sort of off-point, it was good (though the french fries were limp) and I was nearly as contented as the greyhound dozing on the ground near my feet. Still no name change.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Glencora

                                          N.B., I heard authoritatively the pending name, which acknowledges the restaurant's evolution into more of a beer house. Also that for some time, this re-branding has been waiting -- for city approval for remodeling preceding new signage, or some variation on that theme. A theme that has been very familiar to downtown Mtn. View businesses that want to change things.

                                        2. FYI, as of today this restaurant is formally renamed Bierhaus. The name change has been in the works since 2012.

                                          (They were offering free beer late this morning for half an hour as I passed by, drawing a long queue of mostly 20-somethings. Of course most of them stopped to eat also. I guess we can register a variant of the old maxim that reflected a more traditional bar-marketing ploy: there ain't no such thing as free beer!)

                                          1. Well, knock me down: Bierhaus (formerly called SteakOut) changes and flexes its menu so much that comments about it are routinely obsolete at six months age. Since the name change last Fall, the restaurant has added real, true German specialties, as well as Germanic spins (like a pretzel-melt sandwich with deli meats, built on big fresh pretzel).

                                            When I tried the new Spätzle platter I wasn't expecting much. This specialty gets pro-forma attention in the region, but except for genuinely German-run restaurants like Esther's, or Hardy's Bavaria in its former heyday, it rarely approaches the comfort-food perfection available in central Europe (a region whose wealth of subtle, satisfying, casual foods transformed my outlook many years ago).

                                            Lo and behold, this was a better Spätzle dish ($8) than I've ever had in California, one that would command respect even in Vienna or Munich. Fresh, LIGHT Spätzle pan-toasted, tossed with mustard greens, mushrooms, and a few chunks of pleasantly flavorful, smoky ham Just Like They Use In Europe (seldom here), topped with a little very finely shredded Gruyère, just melting into the other stuff as the dish arrived. Mustard greens! Yowzah. (The ham is omitted in a vegetarian option). Another striking new menu item (I saw a sample on display once, but not tried) is a "butcher platter" assortment of shaved meats, cheeses, cheese spreads along with sourdough and pretzels to take them up with -- a substantial platter, the sample appeared on a cutting board -- enough for a few people with some beer. 18 on tap. And Cider, and even Perry, which is not exactly common in the US.


                                            11 Replies
                                            1. re: eatzalot

                                              It now emerges that this faithful Germanic cusine did not happen entirely by chance. More menu items also coming soon, they tell me.


                                              1. re: eatzalot

                                                Interesting. A year or two when they just opened and I was eating in the area more regularly, they tried a vienna schnitzel on me ... cook waited for comments ... I just shook my head. Good try but not there. If they've really beefed up to hit german, that's exciting!

                                                1. re: eatzalot

                                                  Just to supplement previous link, the SF Chron item summarized a longer release about menu changes that is now posted on this restaurant's web site:


                                                  And I had a very hearty "mustard chicken" sandwich (actually, a lot more ingredients than mustard and chicken) on yet another recent visit there. Acme ciabatta roll. Came with elegant little salad of those modern, pointy greens...

                                                  1. re: eatzalot

                                                    And today when I passed by, "crispy pork belly" with some kind of Brussels-sprouts preparation and walnut rutabaga pureee had joined the menu. Which nowadays is apt to evolve daily.

                                                  2. re: eatzalot

                                                    Ooh, if they move to table service and have more real German cooking, that's great news. The original Bierhaus food menu did not entice me though the beers looked good. Thanks for the update!


                                                    1. re: mdg

                                                      You're welcome. I don't know which particular menu you experienced at Steakout/Bierhaus before. In the restaurant's 2.5 years, there were 4-5 major menu revisions (the place was avowedly conceived originally as a steakhouse, and in another period, it served full breakfasts). So as I mentioned above, impressions could be literally obsolete after some months. Business picked up visibly and consistently in 2013 and I applaud this restaurant for now pro-actively bringing in some new star kitchen talent and menu ideas like this. Almost like they are leapfrogging the sometimes Germanic offerings at Steins, nearby.

                                                      Returned today, tried potato-pancake platter and big pretzel, whose 3 condiments included a new, good Gouda-beer "fondue." It seems several more German menu items are coming fast, per story linked above and buzz around the restaurant.

                                                      1. re: mdg

                                                        Are they changing to table service? I certainly hope not.

                                                        Work colleagues have loved the order-at-the-counter model because it lends itself to casual, after work, eat and drink, drink, drink gatherings. Sure the food took a back seat to the beer, but it was always good enough. If upgrading the food leads to a need for reservations and hovering servers relying on flipping tables... I will be majorly bummed.

                                                      2. re: eatzalot

                                                        Was there a 3weeks ago and had their butcher platter. Best way to describe the meat - like someone opened a deli pack and served it. My husband was quite mad and about to say something about the safeway deli meat that ended up on our charcuterie platter but the place was busy and no one to really say it to. The pickles were nice the best thing on the platter- I think house made. They didnt offer any grain mustards but a weird chipotle cream cheese concoction -not particularly interesting. Maybe they were just having a bad day that day or something because the burgers were all just mediocre and the fries were cold - not to mention that most of the tables around us were quite angry their food hadn't come out. The beer selection seems quite adequate though. Thanks for mentioning the schnitzel - I have been looking for a deceit version closer to the peninsula.

                                                        1. re: eatzalot

                                                          Adding another anecdotal report: Tried the pork-belly plate, $12 or so.

                                                          This was a little more frou-frou than the Spätzle plate (in terms of being true to typical locals' fare in Mitteleurope), though I haven't visited that region in a few years so may not be up to date.

                                                          A low-carb dieter's delight: chunks of layered pork belly (same stuff used in Chinese cooking e.g. red-cooked pork, Sichuanese twice-cooked pork), here dry-cooked crisp, served on dollops of rutabaga puree (w/walnut IIRC), flanked with European-style Brussels sprouts (parboiled then pan-seared) and matchsticks of another root vegetable.

                                                          I've now had the Spätzle platter twice, like it a lot (the Spätzle are indeed made fresh in-house), two of the very hearty "mustard chicken" grilled sandwich (Acme ciabatta, fresh little side salad), one of the big fresh pretzel served with excellent Guoda cheese sauce.

                                                          And altogether a few pints of Weltenburger "Marzen anno 1050" draft ale that's much more to my taste than any of the numerous beers at competitor Steins nearby. (Maybe because I developed my beer tastes with European beers, long before today's craft-beer wave -- which seems to obsess, in practice, on a remarkably narrow range of styles, like grossly hopped IPAs, wheat beers, and high-alcohol beers -- none of which were notably popular everyday pub brews in the various beer-drinking countries I happened to visit over the years.) The heavy hops in recent beers called IPA today are extremely ironic, given that Bass Ale (which popularized the term "India Pale Ale" in the US, before today's craft-beer geeks were born) is far less hoppy, and more typical of the longtime mainstream European beer styles I always encountered in central Europe.

                                                          FWIW, I asked about the announced plans for full waiter service -- I too like Bierhaus's existing set-up -- and was told they'll be tried out on an incremental basis to see how well they work out.

                                                          1. re: eatzalot

                                                            I tried the Spätzle at Bierhaus: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ssfire/...

                                                            Lightly pan-fried, with just enough Gruyère to keep it together. The ham flavor permeates the dish. It was crazy good, and significantly better than the Spätzle I had at Stein's for Oktoberfest last year.

                                                          2. This place's foray into German comfort food plates continues to pleasantly surprise me.

                                                            At a recent lunch, a friend got a new "Bratwurst plate" which came with braised red cabbage and a GERMAN potato salad (quite unlike the US cold white mayo kind). I was interested in the potato salad (central-European potato salads being not exactly common in California restaurants) which was good, but I tried the sausage too. Damn! Not your commercial US Bratwurst at all. Flavored with sweet spices (mace or nutmeg prominent) and surprisingly good. And, unavailable the subsequent times I passed by (signs on the doors warn people -- evidently this item is popular).

                                                            I caught up with Aubrey, the German-trained chef; she said the Bratwurst is made in-house, available Tues and Fri mornings until it sells out (our lunch got it on a Weds. afternoon). Worth A Detour in my opinion.

                                                            "Haus" meatballs (over lightly pickled sauerkraut -- again haus-made, naturally) were in a fine Germanic tradition (bacon or some such cured meat is included in the grind). Three moderate-sized meatballs per plate, a surprisingly light dish.

                                                            Potato pancakes have upgraded since first appearance, to a "crispy" version coated with shredded potatoes which have been very crispy and brown in 3 recent orders. Served now over lightly spiced applesauce which is (you guessed it) made there.

                                                            Any of these three items, or the Spätzle platter which I've already belabored (and now enjoyed at least six times) would give Esther's German or Hardy's Bavaria serious competition. Priced around $7-9 each.

                                                            On a weekend lunch visit, several tables were speaking German, an implicit endorsement.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: eatzalot

                                                              ssfire has caught the fresh-Spätzle addiction I also freely admit to.

                                                              Newest Bierhaus specialty I tried was a "pan-fried potato-dumpling" plate (an unadvertised special a few times, which I missed, then a daily special recently with signs on the doors -- but I don't know how often it'll be available for now).

                                                              It was tasty, but unlike others it didn't recognizably resemble such potato dumplings as I've encountered in Germanic countries or cookbooks -- not that I'm either native there or expert, so maybe just my limited experience. My mental image of German potato dumplings (Kartoffelklösse) is golf-ball-sized and up. These were _sized_ like Tater Tots™ or smaller. Little brown delicate teardroppy puffs, as if squeezed from a pastry bag or daubed from a spoon (and looked deep-fried; if "pan-fried," the pan had considerable fat?) atop the now-usual housemade substrata of Sauerkraut or something. Light, hors-d'oeuvrey, rather than the substantial dish I expected. (Happened to be fine, since I was seeking just a snack.)

                                                              Local Newspaper review from last month, with more food pix including Spätzle: http://www.mv-voice.com/news/2014/05/...