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Please help me choose a great steak dinner

brandygirl Jul 12, 2013 07:06 PM

I'm looking for someplace that is upscale but not trendy, where I can feel comfortable eating solo either at a table in the dining room or at the bar. My go-to place for a good steak is usually Ruth's Chris, but I want to try someplace I haven't been. I know Dan Tana's has a great steak, but I've been there. I've also been to Flemings and Mortons. I know Mastro's is supposed to be good, but I don't think I would feel comfortable eating there solo. I have no interest in Cut.

I'm thinking about Jar, Wolfgang's (not Puck's Cut), or BLT. Any thoughts?

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  1. b
    Bruce in SLO RE: brandygirl Jul 12, 2013 07:16 PM

    Check out the old reliable Pacific Dining Car.
    Great steaks prepared to your order.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bruce in SLO
      brandygirl RE: Bruce in SLO Jul 13, 2013 08:08 AM

      I forgot about that one. It's been at least 35 years since I've been there. It's been so long, I'll consider it even though I want to try someplace new to me. Thanks.

    2. Porthos RE: brandygirl Jul 12, 2013 07:19 PM

      Was deciding between Littlefork and Connie and Ted's. Oddly enough, the bone in angus rib eye at Connie and Ted's tipped the scale in their favor. Haven't tried it yet but will be going in a few weeks.

      Have also seen a European couple order the steak and fries at Gjelina for an amazing looking steak frites.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Porthos
        brandygirl RE: Porthos Jul 13, 2013 08:13 AM

        I just looked at Connie and Ted's menu. The bone-in filet also sounds good--I don't see that often. Thank you for the recommendation.

        1. re: Porthos
          Porthos RE: Porthos Sep 2, 2013 10:27 AM

          Just a followup report. Had the bone in angus rib eye. Outstanding. Perfectly cooked to medium rare. Such wonderful flavor and provides a nice change in pace to the seafood dishes if you have a large group.

        2. m
          MarkC RE: brandygirl Jul 12, 2013 07:37 PM

          The Smoke House in Burbank is good. The steaks are excellent, and the atmosphere is comforting, and not so upscale that you'll feel uncomfortable eating alone. Friendly waiters. Gary Bric's Ramp deeper in Burbank is also a friendly little boite. From the outside it looks like Jed Clampett's house, huddled up against the freeway overpass, but inside is surprisingly roomy and inviting.

          The LA Weekly just had an article on five quintessential LA steak houses. I'd post the link, but you can probably find your way to the LA Weekly.

          1 Reply
          1. re: MarkC
            brandygirl RE: MarkC Jul 13, 2013 08:21 AM

            I've been to the Smoke House a few times. It's good, but not great. I'm in the mood for something a little nicer, preferably with prime steak. I've never heard of Gary Bric's Ramp. I'll check it out. Thanks.

          2. t
            Thor123 RE: brandygirl Jul 12, 2013 08:29 PM


            1 Reply
            1. re: Thor123
              maudies5 RE: Thor123 Jul 12, 2013 08:57 PM

              +1 for Wolfgangs.

            2. h
              Hackenbush RE: brandygirl Jul 12, 2013 08:42 PM

              I think Wolfgang's serves the best steak in town. The Smoke House or Taylor's might be a little friendlier for a solo diner.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Hackenbush
                brandygirl RE: Hackenbush Jul 13, 2013 08:31 AM

                I've also been to Taylor's. Like the Smoke House, it's good but not great enough for what I'm looking for. I take it you don't think Wolfgang's is good for solo dining?

                1. re: brandygirl
                  Hackenbush RE: brandygirl Jul 14, 2013 02:59 PM

                  I would not hesitate to dine solo at Wolfgang's. In fact, I did once when my date phoned and had to cancel due to an emergency. It's a very friendly restaurant although parts of it can get a little noisy during peak hours. (Even at its worst though, it's not as noisy as Mastro's any night when I've dined there.)

                  1. re: Hackenbush
                    brandygirl RE: Hackenbush Jul 14, 2013 03:46 PM

                    Thanks for clarifying. From all the responses, it sounds like Wolfgang's and Jar are my best choices, with Wolfgang's being most people's favorite.

                    1. re: brandygirl
                      maudies5 RE: brandygirl Jul 14, 2013 05:27 PM

                      Another vote for Wolfgang's. Steaks are remarkable, cocktails are good and service is very friendly.

              2. ipsedixit RE: brandygirl Jul 12, 2013 09:45 PM

                +3 for Wolfgangs.

                1. J.L. RE: brandygirl Jul 13, 2013 12:26 AM

                  Fogo de Chao.

                  The only cut I like at Wolfgangs is their (very excellent) porterhouse. Wolfgang's porterhouse can feed a small village. Eating solo - Unless your last name is Kobayashi or Chestnut, there WILL be leftovers (which I often use to make fried rice the next day).

                  Fogo de Chao, I say. The most epic salad bar in L.A. Try their Picanha. And the Ancho. Get their Creme de Papaya with Cassis afterwards to help digest...

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: J.L.
                    wienermobile RE: J.L. Jul 13, 2013 07:14 AM

                    +1 for Fogo De Chao & now with DineLa on a great deal too for their AYCE Brazilian steaks ,enought to put you in a meat coma. Only $25 for lunch & $45 for dinner.

                    1. re: wienermobile
                      wienermobile RE: wienermobile Jul 13, 2013 07:57 AM

                      ...And the best salad bar in the city is included with your meal.

                      1. re: wienermobile
                        brandygirl RE: wienermobile Jul 13, 2013 08:35 AM

                        Yep, I've been to Fogo De Chao, and it did have a great salad bar. It is a fun restaurant, the kind of place I would like to go with a small group of people

                        1. re: brandygirl
                          nosh RE: brandygirl Jul 14, 2013 05:37 PM

                          Note that Fogo de Chao is serving their regular menu, unlimited meat + sides + "salad" bar, during DineLA for both lunch and dinner for substantial savings.

                      2. re: J.L.
                        Porthos RE: J.L. Jul 13, 2013 08:59 AM

                        C'mon JL! You can't go to an AYCE Churrascaria and eat salad! ;-)

                        1. re: Porthos
                          J.L. RE: Porthos Jul 13, 2013 11:09 AM

                          Never fear: I have a separate stomach for the salad bar. And another for dessert as well... :-)

                      3. A5 KOBE RE: brandygirl Jul 13, 2013 12:49 AM

                        I actually really enjoyed Capital Grille out of all of the chain steakhouses.

                        But Wolfgang's "schlag" is worth going to alone, never mind the great porterhouse.

                        Both have great dry aged steaks though.

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: A5 KOBE
                          J.L. RE: A5 KOBE Jul 13, 2013 01:05 AM

                          Capital Punishment Grille?

                          I gotta say, you just lost quite a bit of street cred with me, A5...

                          1. re: J.L.
                            Servorg RE: J.L. Jul 13, 2013 06:40 AM

                            Our last visit to CG was such an epic failure on steak quality (not too mention the lobster mac & cheese also being gummy and just not good) that I don't think I would go back, even if I wasn't paying...

                            We've had good to very good experiences at Arnie Morton's in Beverly Hills. I'm not that much of a fan of Ruth's Chris (also the B.H.'s branch) after our last visit.

                            I have had really good rib eye's at Bandera on Wilshire at Barrington over the years (if you like rib eye steaks).

                            1. re: Servorg
                              A5 KOBE RE: Servorg Jul 13, 2013 08:43 AM

                              The dry aged porterhouse was better than any steak I have had from a Ruth Chris or Morton's.

                              1. re: Servorg
                                brandygirl RE: Servorg Jul 13, 2013 08:43 AM

                                I haven't been to or heard much about Capital Grille. I would like to try it, but based on the mixed reviews on this thread alone, I'll save it for another day.

                                I've been to Arnie Morton's and liked it very much. Agree that Ruth's Chris in Beverly Hills isn't all that. I go to the Woodland Hills branch often and have been to the Pasadena location once. Both are better than Beverly Hills IMHO.

                                I have not been to Bandera. I'll check it out.

                                1. re: brandygirl
                                  A5 KOBE RE: brandygirl Jul 13, 2013 08:45 AM

                                  Quick question, does dry age or wet age matter to you?

                                  1. re: A5 KOBE
                                    brandygirl RE: A5 KOBE Jul 13, 2013 08:53 AM

                                    Honestly I don't know. If I've ever had a wet aged steak, I was not aware of it, so I can't compare the two. But I've read descriptions comparing both, and the descriptions for dry aged sounded better.

                                    1. re: brandygirl
                                      A5 KOBE RE: brandygirl Jul 13, 2013 09:27 AM

                                      Most restaurants that wet age use the term "aged" on the menu.

                                      Restaurants that use the term "dry aged" on the menu serve dry aged beef and it is something that they put on the menu with pride because it does cost more to dry age a steak.

                                      If you look at the menu at CUT, they have both and are marked as such. Then there are places like Nick and Stefs that dry age in house as opposed to just buying them from someone.


                                2. re: Servorg
                                  Dirtywextraolives RE: Servorg Jul 13, 2013 02:52 PM

                                  I like Hillstone's & Bandera's rib eye also.

                                3. re: J.L.
                                  ipsedixit RE: J.L. Jul 13, 2013 10:18 AM

                                  There's nothing wrong with Capital Grille, as I've said previously here.


                                4. re: A5 KOBE
                                  jessejames RE: A5 KOBE Jul 15, 2013 09:27 AM

                                  i wanted to like Wolfgangs but been there 4X and not once has burger or steak been cooked to order (medium rare). I've received well done and cold/raw. This is annoying. Once the PO'd maitre d took the raw steak, and returned with it obviously microwaved grey.

                                5. n
                                  New Trial RE: brandygirl Jul 13, 2013 01:42 AM

                                  Jar is a terrific choice for solo dining, table or bar. The steaks and sides are excellent.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: New Trial
                                    brandygirl RE: New Trial Jul 13, 2013 08:44 AM

                                    That's good to hear. Thank you. Most places that serve dinner at the bar are solo friendly at the bar, but sitting at the table is sometimes a different story.

                                  2. JAB RE: brandygirl Jul 13, 2013 09:26 AM

                                    Look no further: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/903384

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: JAB
                                      brandygirl RE: JAB Jul 13, 2013 01:20 PM

                                      Yeah, Stinking Rose is another one I need to try. Think I'll save that one for dining with others, though. Thanks!

                                    2. w
                                      whiner RE: brandygirl Jul 14, 2013 09:28 PM

                                      The Grill on the Alley (esp. Westlake) for sure fits your bill.

                                      1. c
                                        chabrab RE: brandygirl Jul 15, 2013 06:30 AM

                                        555 East in Long Beach is awesome

                                        1. b
                                          brandygirl RE: brandygirl Sep 1, 2013 08:21 PM

                                          Well, my solo night out was delayed, but I finally had my steak dinner--Wolfgang's.

                                          Started with a GREAT martini and the iceberg wedge salad with Roqueford. The dressing worried me at first because it was green, but it was very good, with a strong flavor. The lettuce was nice and crisp except for the very outside leaf of the wedge, which should have been discarded.

                                          Next was the filet mignon and steak fries. First I tried a bite of steak with the peppercorn sauce they served with it, then I tasted the steak with their bottled steak sauce, and finally I had a bite without sauce. The steak was, by far, better without any sauce. Even though the steak was just slightly overcooked, it was one of the best steaks I've eaten; so flavorfull and tender. Unfortunately I cannot say the same for the steak fries--Brent's deli is much better in this department. I like them crispy and golden on the outside, and these were decidedly not. I wished I had ordered a simple baked potato.

                                          For dessert I had a delicious pecan pie with their famous whipped cream. A very nice ending to my meal.

                                          Service was good, and my waiter was friendly and attentive. However, I do have one complaint with regards to their wine list--and this restaurant is not alone--I was never offered one. I love wine and enjoy looking at wine lists even if I'm not ordering wine (which is rare). In this case I was ordering just a glass of wine. The table next to me was given one with their dinner menus; the gentleman who received the wine list asked about wines by the glass and was told it was on the first page. This happens to me often when dining solo (that and not being told the specials and not being asked if I want coffee or dessert). I don't know if it's because I'm alone or because I'm female or both, but it is one of my peeves. I expect the same level of service and options as if I was dining with others.

                                          Overall, I enjoyed my dinner, even though I was disappointed in my side dish.

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: brandygirl
                                            Servorg RE: brandygirl Sep 1, 2013 08:25 PM

                                            thanks for reporting back. We've yet to make it to Wolfgang's. Was there a good crowd?

                                            Speak up! Ask for that wine list...How did you ask for your steak to be done?

                                            Where did they end up seating you as a solo diner? I take it you weren't eating at the bar since you had a waiter.

                                            1. re: Servorg
                                              Porthos RE: Servorg Sep 1, 2013 08:40 PM

                                              I agree! Ask for that list. I'm sure they would be more than delighted since that is their largest profit margin anyways. I suspect service improves when they know you are ordering wine(s) by the bottle.

                                              1. re: Servorg
                                                brandygirl RE: Servorg Sep 1, 2013 08:49 PM

                                                It was not crowded at all, but I arrived very, very early--about 5:20-- and I was the first customer. They sat me next to the window looking out on Canon. By the time I left, which was probably about 6:30, there was a table of 4 next to me and a big table of about 10 towards the back of the restaurant, and both tables were in the midst of eating their entrees. There were also 3 people having drinks at the bar when I left.

                                                I usually do ask for the wine list if it's not offered, but I didn't this time, not sure why other than I had an idea of the kind of wine I wanted before I even sat down. But when the table next to me was given one, it just irked me a little. And by then it was too late, as I already had my Malbec.

                                                I ordered my steak medium. Usually it is a little more pink, bordering on red, but this steak was still juicy, if not quite as pink as I'm used to. I'm not as picky about my steaks as some are; as long as it's not well done without any pink or rare and bloody, I'm okay. Really, the steak I had was excellent.

                                                1. re: brandygirl
                                                  Servorg RE: brandygirl Sep 1, 2013 09:11 PM

                                                  It speaks well for them as a restaurant that they seated you in a good location. Even when places are empty it seems like the hostess takes solo diners to some less than desirable table/location. Do you people watch when dining solo or do you work on your "digital device" or do something else?

                                                  Steakhouses do have a tendency to cook a little past the point of what I order (normally medium rare). Not always, mind you. But often enough that I notice.

                                                  1. re: Servorg
                                                    brandygirl RE: Servorg Sep 1, 2013 09:59 PM

                                                    I would think a chef would rather err on the side of undercooking rather than overcooking meat, as it's easy and cheap to fix an undercooked piece of meat.

                                                    When I eat solo, often I bring something to read, sometimes I people watch or watch the T.V. (if there is one). This time I had something to read.

                                                    I guess I've been fortunate with seating when dining solo. Only a few times have I had problems. Service, on the other hand, is another matter. Often the service can be slow, but I LIKE to think I'm overlooked because my table is so quiet rather than the server purposely treating me worse because I'm solo.

                                                2. re: Servorg
                                                  jessejames RE: Servorg Sep 1, 2013 09:00 PM

                                                  Not once in 5 times has Wolfgangs cooked my steak or burger correctly to order (medium rare). Fixed with a smile, fixed with attitude, either way, annoying when it happens every time. Mastros is so close and no problems there.

                                                  1. re: jessejames
                                                    brandygirl RE: jessejames Sep 1, 2013 10:02 PM

                                                    I know what you mean. I've eaten at Ruth's Chris dozens of times and only once was my steak a bit overdone. All other times it has been perfect.

                                              2. s
                                                schrutefarms RE: brandygirl Sep 2, 2013 10:02 AM

                                                I recently had a steak at Arroyo Chop House in Pasadena- it was wonderful!!! Petit filet, med-rare with a perfect char, with a baked potato, and creamed spinach. Also, their French fries are amazing- McDonalds worthy! (That's the highest compliment I can give a fry)

                                                1. t
                                                  Thor123 RE: brandygirl Sep 2, 2013 12:16 PM

                                                  Has to be Stinking Rose! Hands Down!!!

                                                  1. j
                                                    Jwsel RE: brandygirl Sep 2, 2013 02:51 PM

                                                    A very underrated place for steaks is Larsen's in Encino. (They also have one in Valencia and Simi Valley.) They serve prime steaks that receive a combination of dry and wet aging. The steaks compare well with what I have had at Cut and Mastro's at a slightly lower price point. The sides are standard steakhouse. They won't wow you, but they are good.

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