I have come again to beg for advice from the comfort of my home in Phoenix.
I will be out in OC this weekend celebrating an anniversary with my fiance and I have extended my trip by an extra day and would like to take in a steakhouse.
I am looking for some recommendations for some upscale places that are more independent than part of a chain, but if chains are all their are, suggest away (although I am not incredibly fond of Morton's). I am concerned more about quality and experience than price.
Help me OC Wan Chowhounds. You're my only hope!
I have another suggestion. One of the best restaurants for meat (steak and rack of lamb) is Bistango in Irvine. Although 20 years old, this contemporary restaurant serves as good a steak as you will get anywhere, and they have terrific ambience, live music, wonderful art, and a complete menu. You can't go wrong there. (check www.diningasart.com and click on Bistango)
Also, they have great steaks at Scott's Seafood on Bristol near South Coast Plaza. Their ribeye is terrific.
Canyon Steakhouse is one of those rare finds. The food is second to none. The atmosphere is very comfortable. It really feels like you are relaxing with family and yet you're enjoying a gourmet meal. The mushroom soup, the butternut squash soup, the Hangar Steak and the daily specials all defy saying they're great.... they are all beyond great.
Prices are amazing. You're basically paying Macaroni Grill type prices for Ruth Criss level food.
I very rarely go to eat a huge slab of steak, just not my thing. I'd rather get my Prime grade beef at Tsuruhashi, which serves yakiniku (Japanese version of Korean BBQ). Large platters of thinly sliced, gorgeously marbled beef that you cook yourself at the table over charcoal.
The beef is every bit as good or better than American style steakhouses, and you can order a variety of cuts with different flavors & textures (ribeye & tongue are my favorites) instead of one huge slab of steak.
While the quality of beef is high end, the atmosphere is much more casual than the red booth atmosphere of a steakhouse, so it's a great value proposition. Beer, sake & shochu are served, but not wine. Perhaps not what you and your betrothed would want for an anniversary dinner, but I'll throw it out there as an alternative choice for someone else reading along.
18798 Brookhurst St
Fountain Valley, CA
I've had great meals at the Morton's in Santa Ana (by South Coast Plaza) but I won't try to sell it to you.
The new Mastro's in Costa Mesa (by South Coast Plaza) is now open after several delays and it's great. I had the bone-in rib eye and it was the finest piece of beef I've eaten.
I have been to Morton's, Turner's, Ruth's Chris, Flemings, Bungalow and The Arches. I have yet to have a better steak and experience than at Mastro's.
I have been to Mastro's Steakhouse three times and Mastro's Ocean Club over ten times. I can't rec this place enough.
I can't say enough about Matro's. I went to the one in Crystal Cove. The Mambo Caesar Salad was loved by my husband who said it was the best he ever had (had a kick, we thought it was horseradish but heard it was wasabi). The steaks were outstanding, hot, and delicious. The side dishes were generous and ever so tasty. The martinis that literally "smoked" ....memorable. One of our favorites.
Mastros now has two steakhouses in OC. One in Newport Coast, which has more of an seafood focus, but still makes its usual steaks, and the second traditional steakhouse in Costa Mesa. You cant go wrong with either of these. The one on PCH is more of a scene,since it features a pretty big bar where people congregate after dinner.
There is the usual Ruth Chris and Houstons in Irvine. Flemings in Newport Beach and Mortons (bleh) in Costa Mesa.
Also in Costa Mesa is a Turners New Zealand which boasts organic free range meats. Never been myself, but heard decent things about it.
I've heard bad things about Landmark Steakhouse on PCH so I would avoid that.
Great compilation of steakhouse, Mealcentric. And agree on Morton's in Costa Mesa...possibly the worst expensive steak I've ever had.
I'll add two more, just for kicks:
Lonestar Steakhouse in Tustin - Over the top cowboy/rodeo/Texas theme. Country music blasted at high volume and the servers line dance at regular intervals. But good steaks, reasonable prices.
Trabuco Oaks Steakhouse in Trabuco Canyon - Feel like dining in an old attic full of old clothes. Ties dangle everywhere, literally. Steak is okay. But the ambience and the out of the way location adds to the novelty.
For top-grade food and good atmosphere, I'd vote for both Ruth Chris and Houston's.
But I must try Mastro's when my next bonus check comes in. Heard that with alcohol, tip and extras, it can come out to $200 per person.
Turner New Zealand is terrific. Almost everything on the menu, and the wine, comes from New Zealand and most of it is delicious (I am not persuaded by the venison there but the steaks, lamb and seafood were all great). A bit expensive but the high quality is worth it. I do not find the space that attractive, though: long, cold, narrow room.
As a fun alternative, if you have big appetites, there is now a churrascarria in Irvine called Agora, located on Main Street near MacArthur. The quality of the buffet is high and most of the meats were very tasty.