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Best non-chain American style steakhouse?

ipsedixit Apr 25, 2013 09:01 PM

Is it Cowboy Star?

Any others you might suggest (other than perhaps The Wellington or Lou and Mickey's, neither of which really are on par with Cowboy Star when it comes to just steaks)


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  1. s
    sdnosh RE: ipsedixit Apr 26, 2013 05:27 PM

    Lou and Mickey's is a chain, isn't it?

    Cowboy start has the best steaks in San Diego and the bone marrow is amazing. I also love the decor, but the steaks are just too freakin' huge! Can anyone really eat 32oz of meat? I'd like to see their bread and pastry programs improve also.

    29 Replies
    1. re: sdnosh
      ipsedixit RE: sdnosh Apr 26, 2013 06:56 PM

      I don't believe L&M is a chain.

      Their website lists no other locations. http://www.louandmickeys.com/index.ph...

      Have you seen them outside of Gaslamp/SD?

      1. re: ipsedixit
        Cathy RE: ipsedixit Apr 26, 2013 07:06 PM

        Years ago, after finishing a dinner at King's Fish House, The Mister and I were asked if we would like to dine at L&M on a certain date and time. Ostensibly it was a test of their kitchen and waitstaff before opening. When we showed up, an envelope with an appetizer and one main were what we were required to order. We could then order any other main and dessert as well as two nonalcoholic beverages. It was all free (and so we left $30).

        Look at the "info" link on the website. The email address to contact is @Kingsseafood.co.

        To answer Ispe, I think Pinnacle Peak Steakhouse (Santee) is 'American style'; the simple atmosphere, sides and basic menu is how I had steak dinners in the Midwest.

        1. re: Cathy
          ipsedixit RE: Cathy Apr 26, 2013 07:13 PM

          Ok. I see.

          They might be part of a larger corporate conglomerate, but that doesn't makes L&M itself a chain, right?

          1. re: ipsedixit
            Cathy RE: ipsedixit Apr 26, 2013 07:20 PM

            Since there are no other locations, it doesn't meet the definition of 'chain'.

            (I edited my answer above while you were replying to it. You may want to read the last paragraph).

            1. re: ipsedixit
              foodiechick RE: ipsedixit Apr 27, 2013 02:15 AM

              I believe that Lou and Micky's started out in Palm Springs, Palm Desert, or Palm something or other. Opened in the Gaslamp after that (where we had one of the worst Porterhouse steaks ever). I think the only remaining location is still in the Gaslamp...so I guess no longer a chain.

              1. re: foodiechick
                eatemup RE: foodiechick Apr 28, 2013 06:18 AM

                You are thinking of LG's Steakhouse which is a Palm Springs chain which had an outpost in the Gaslamp for a short while. Lou & Mickey's opened as a French seafood-centric restaurant owned by King's Seafood Company out of LA which also owns the excellent Water Grill in downtown LA. Kings still owns L&M. It's quite good but it's no Cowboy Star.

                1. re: eatemup
                  Fake Name RE: eatemup Apr 28, 2013 08:13 AM

                  Yup- Royale. And it was damn good, and another example of something about which I rarely kvetch- the dumbing-down of local establishments.

                  Royale was that Frenchy-bistro-y theme like Balthazar and somewhat Bouchon. The place was very good, I had several solid meals there.

                  Then it became Lou & Mickeys.

                  1. re: Fake Name
                    eatemup RE: Fake Name Apr 28, 2013 03:33 PM

                    That was it. Very good place. A couple dishes stayed for a while on the L & M menu.

                    1. re: eatemup
                      Fake Name RE: eatemup Apr 28, 2013 04:37 PM

                      They had one of those GIANT seafood platters- big tower of seafood like you get in the seafood places in Nice. I got to have one once- a trade deal or something.

                      Delicious, and even had the little periwinkles, as I recall.

                      1. re: Fake Name
                        Gypsy Jan RE: Fake Name Apr 28, 2013 05:51 PM

                        Yes, those high rise platters are very Paris, not Berlin.

                    2. re: Fake Name
                      mcgrath RE: Fake Name Apr 30, 2013 08:24 PM

                      It was called Brasserie Royale, I believe, and FN, I agree completely with everything you said about it. I had my first of what became many Salade Lyonnaises there and can still remember the perfect marriage of frisee, vinaigrette and bacon crowned with a perfectly poached egg

                      Then along came Lou and Mickey's and I surrendered the place to the conventioneers.

              2. re: Cathy
                cstr RE: Cathy Apr 27, 2013 06:39 AM

                Although I like Pinnacle Peak, it's a chain, same for Donovan's. Where is our beloved BC, I'd enjoy to hear her chime in on this meaty subject.

                1. re: cstr
                  Beach Chick RE: cstr Apr 30, 2013 05:20 PM

                  BC is back. .

                  Charcoal House in La Mesa, Bully's East..lots of love for this beauty.. Red Fox in North Park..Butcher Shop..Albie's Beef Inn in Mission Valley..
                  Red Tracton's in SB/Del Mar is a fave of mine but this chica hasn't had a steak since puka shell and Smoke on the Water were cranked up, really loud, on the 8 track player.

                  Durant's in Phoenix is the best damn steakhouse...evah

                  1. re: Beach Chick
                    ipsedixit RE: Beach Chick Apr 30, 2013 07:13 PM

                    Every time I walk into Durant's I feel old, and a bit of me dies.

                    1. re: ipsedixit
                      Beach Chick RE: ipsedixit Apr 30, 2013 08:53 PM

                      You obviously haven't walked through the back door with me. . .

                      1. re: Beach Chick
                        ipsedixit RE: Beach Chick Apr 30, 2013 08:56 PM

                        If I were only so fortunate.

                        1. re: ipsedixit
                          Beach Chick RE: ipsedixit Apr 30, 2013 08:57 PM

                          If only. .

                        2. re: Beach Chick
                          SaltyRaisins RE: Beach Chick May 1, 2013 09:37 AM

                          There's a front entrance?


                          1. re: SaltyRaisins
                            Beach Chick RE: SaltyRaisins May 1, 2013 10:22 AM

                            I don't think there is a front door.

                            I just love walking through the kitchen to the restaurant and flirting with all the guys..lots of hugs and kisses. ; )

                            Love that you love Durant's as much as I do Salty!

                      2. re: Beach Chick
                        cstr RE: Beach Chick May 1, 2013 05:24 AM

                        Peter Luger in NYC, the best! ever been BC?

                        1. re: cstr
                          Beach Chick RE: cstr May 1, 2013 07:26 AM

                          Have not but friends who love meat, say it is all that..looks like my kind of place..old school.

                          I'm still in mourning over the beloved Locke-Ober in BOS.. : (

                          1. re: cstr
                            El Chevere RE: cstr May 1, 2013 09:17 AM

                            I prefer the location in Williamsburgh (though the one on Long Island does serve lobster, making for the ulitmate surf and turf)....if you do not feel like making the schlep to Brooklyn, Wolfgang's is very, very close second. They actually have a location in Beverly Hills, which I have yet to visit.

                          2. re: Beach Chick
                            littlestevie RE: Beach Chick May 1, 2013 12:49 PM

                            Durant's is worth the drive into Phoenix. My s.o. is happy if we make a pit stop at the Heard gift shop first. The place never seems to get much love on national rankings, but I agree with BC, best eveh. Love the roses and I didn't realize everybody goes thru the kitchen.

                        2. re: Cathy
                          eeeema RE: Cathy May 10, 2013 02:17 PM

                          We ate at Pinnacle Peak's about 10 years ago when we first moved near Santee. It was the worst steak dinner I have ever had. The bread was essentially Wonder Bread - served cold, untoasted. Rock hard butter. Steak was tough (ordered medium). "Salad" was lettuce with maybe one or two other pieces of veggies. Never been back.

                          1. re: eeeema
                            ipsedixit RE: eeeema May 10, 2013 09:42 PM

                            Well, to be fair to Cathy, she did qualify her recommendation for Pinnacle Peak with "in the Midwest" ...

                            1. re: eeeema
                              Cathy RE: eeeema May 11, 2013 03:40 AM

                              Yes- "Buttons and Bows" as the side dish- beans and white bread is what I consider an 'American style' side dish, as is the 'plain lettuce'/iceberg salad.

                              The plastic salad bowls, plastic tablecloths, aligned picnic tables, cut off ties stapled to the walls and ceiling as decor are not at all conducive to what some people consider a 'steakhouse' atmosphere. You'd think it would be out of business, but the line was out the door yesterday at 6 p.m..

                              I come from a time when everything was not so homogenized. People enjoy foods which are familiar and comfortable. Probably because they were raised in different cultures, parts of the US and/or world and have different viewpoints and expectations. I was answering Ipse's question with my personal recommendation.

                              1. re: Cathy
                                cstr RE: Cathy May 11, 2013 06:16 AM

                                I think Pinnacle has to be put in context. It's a family style restaurant where you can get a good, not USDA Prime, cut of steak in a frugal setting for a reasonable price. They never claim to be anything more.

                                1. re: cstr
                                  Cathy RE: cstr May 11, 2013 07:05 AM

                                  True. I do think of it as 'American Style', which is a place the family can go out for a steak dinner.

                                  Restaurants with tablecloths, cloth napkins, leather seating, mood lighting, taking reservations and serving prime cuts of meat are, *to me*, 'European Style'.

                        3. re: sdnosh
                          mcgrath RE: sdnosh Apr 26, 2013 07:03 PM

                          The C.S. Wagyu skirt steak is a very manageable size and our favorite tasting item on the beef menu.

                        4. El Chevere RE: ipsedixit Apr 28, 2013 06:34 PM

                          Besides Cowboy Star, I have always had a decent steak at JRDN at Tower 23

                          1. Stiflers_Mom RE: ipsedixit Apr 29, 2013 08:14 AM

                            For me, a $9 sirloin w/ an Esquire on the side at the Turf Club on a Saturday afternoon is pretty tough to beat. Certainly not for everyone, but works for me.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: Stiflers_Mom
                              ipsedixit RE: Stiflers_Mom Apr 29, 2013 08:24 AM

                              Wow, I'm just struggling to wrap my mind around bleu-cheese stuffed olives in my drink.

                              1. re: Stiflers_Mom
                                mcgrath RE: Stiflers_Mom Apr 29, 2013 09:30 AM

                                Love the Turf Club, but apart from possibly being a young, strapping attorney, I guess I don't know what an Esquire is?

                                1. re: mcgrath
                                  ipsedixit RE: mcgrath Apr 29, 2013 09:59 AM

                                  Well, according to their menu, an "Esquire" is either gin or vodka with bleu cheese-stuffed olives. Hence my post up above.


                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                    cstr RE: ipsedixit Apr 29, 2013 11:52 AM

                                    I believe traditionally, gin.

                                2. re: Stiflers_Mom
                                  MrKrispy RE: Stiflers_Mom May 1, 2013 02:23 PM

                                  If you go to the Turf Club now (errr Riviera?) the steaks are about double in price. Not sure they still have the rib eye delmonico either.

                                  1. re: MrKrispy
                                    jmtreg RE: MrKrispy May 13, 2013 04:08 PM

                                    The steaks have gone up in price, but by a buck or two. Still has the Delmonico ribeye. The Rivera is the place that the former Turf Club owners opened in La Mesa. Really a fantastic place.

                                3. Fake Name RE: ipsedixit Apr 29, 2013 08:50 PM



                                  I've only been for cocktails, but seems to fit the bill.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Fake Name
                                    ipsedixit RE: Fake Name Apr 30, 2013 07:46 AM

                                    But were they screening any films?

                                  2. l
                                    littlestevie RE: ipsedixit Apr 30, 2013 11:43 AM

                                    Red Tractons in SB. They were up in LA, but they closed that one when they moved into Solana Beach. Very old school American style steakhouse. Love the waitresses there. Sirloin "Sinatra style" will kill you, but very tasty.

                                    1. El Chevere RE: ipsedixit May 1, 2013 09:18 AM

                                      The bone-in filet at Mision 19 in Tijuana is outstanding

                                      1. l
                                        LisaSD RE: ipsedixit May 11, 2013 12:18 PM

                                        It was easy to think of 2 non-chain Steak restaurants right off the bat but would I say they are the "best"? Nope! But, they are consistent which I guess says quite a bit. They are: The Butcher Shop and Saska's.

                                        I've got to say, we went to dinner with friends at Cowboy Star and had terrible steaks. All four of us did NOT get them cooked the way we ordered them (2 of us sent them back). For a place in which that is all they do, you would think they would cook them right. Granted, it was in the year they first opened so I guess I could give them another try. But that is an expensive experiment.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: LisaSD
                                          Gypsy Jan RE: LisaSD May 11, 2013 02:06 PM

                                          I hae always wanted to tryp Butcher Shop, but it hasn't been in the stars for us yet.

                                          I am glad to see your recommendation - maybe someday soon.

                                          1. re: LisaSD
                                            mcgrath RE: LisaSD May 13, 2013 07:47 AM

                                            Cowboy Star: Kind of unfair posting negatively about them based on a single visit several years ago. We've dined there a handful of times in the past few years and have always been pleased.

                                            Butcher Shop: The only prime grade steak on the menu is Top Sirloin; all others are Choice....unusual for a steak house these days. Plus, when I ordered a Manhattan with Woodford Reserve there recently, they didn't have it and had never heard of it....a head scratcher for this bourbon drinker.

                                            1. re: mcgrath
                                              cstr RE: mcgrath May 13, 2013 08:48 AM

                                              Apparently, that was LisaSD's experience at CS, why not tell about it whether it's once or several visits.

                                          2. 4
                                            4wino RE: ipsedixit May 11, 2013 03:47 PM

                                            I would definitely recommend The Butcher Shop. On Mondays and Tuesdays they have half off on all their wines. There's a particular Cabernet that goes from $42 to $21, well worth it.

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