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Hitching Post vs Jocko's and Far Western

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I live in L.A. About once a month I drive up to Santa Barbara for the day, often continuing north to the Santa Ynez Valley where I have dinner at The Hitching Post. I love their big bone-in rib eye and their fillet, along with everything else they serve.

Here's my question: are Jocko's and/or Far Western much better than Hitching Post, or are they all very similar? Considering the distance I have to drive, is it worth it to try them or should I just stick with Hitching Post?

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  1. I am not a fan of Jocko's - volume over quality, and Hitching Post (Casmalia) doesn't do it either, though both places are high on novelty and should be visited at least once

    Recent trip to the new Far Western Tavern found a lot of the old place's original charm and decor, familiar menu items, loyal local clientele and terrific burgers. FWT for me, first, last and always in this part of the country for beef. I do miss the funk of Guadalupe, but Orcutt is coming into its own in its own way.

    1 Reply
    1. re: glbtrtr

      Our last visit to the FWT with our pal from Arroyo Grande prior to the move from Guadalupe to Orcutt was a complete disappointment, all three of our steaks were subpar, the usual suspect chains do better. We agreed that we would need to hear some positive feedback from true hounds before we would think about returning. All visits before had been stellar.

    2. I love the HP2, and once tried Jocko's while vacationing in Pismo...

      I'd love to tell you all about it...however, we left after about an hour after our 7:00 pm reservation time...chaotic and rude, IMO. Some might say part of the charm.

      We ended up going to AJ Spurs?, and having a remarkably forgettable meal!

      1. We've loved the steaks at Jocko's, but if you want decent wine with your steak, HP is the only choice.

        1 Reply
        1. re: judybird

          Corkage is reasoanble though. I believe it's $5.00.

        2. Thanks for the replies. It sounds like I have no need to add to my extensive, albeit enjoyable, drive. I will stick with the Hitching Post, and perhaps visit Jocko's or Far Western Tavern if I am in their vacinity.

          1. We were utterly disappointed in HP, and it kind of boggles my mind how anyone could label their steaks the best they've ever eaten. The first time we went we ordered steaks, and the experience was horrid from top to bottom. From service to food, there was nothing good I could say, save for the grilled artichoke app we had (which came out with our entrees due to the waitress forgetting to enter our order). The experience was so abysmal that we were given a $100 gift card to give them another try. When we did, we ordered ribs, unwilling to try the steaks again after the last experience (my DW's filet was not med rare as ordered, but blue, and full of fat and was just a horror when she cut into it). The ribs were good but from the over attentive service, it was clear the manager had told staff to give us extra special treatment in order to temp me to change my yelp review. I didn't.

            FWT, on the other hand, was outstanding. We celebrated our recent wedding there, and everything was fabulous. Service was attentive but not hovering, the food was outstanding, and much to my amazement, the staff was very genuine in their words of congratulations for our wedding. I'd been a bit hesitatnt in mentioning it when making our reservation due to our being a same-sex couple, and this being a relatively conservative area. But several staffers congratulated us, wanted to see our rings, etc. just a top notch experience all around. We will definitely be back to FWT.

            2 Replies
            1. re: DarkRose

              It's really a shame that you had such a terrible experience. My family and I have been customers at Hitching Post since the late 1980s, and I've never had bad service. The steaks are not prime, so I would not compare the quality of the meat to a place like Ruth's Chris, but all the steaks I've had there were tender. The only reason, however, that I go there is for the flavor imparted into the meat by the seasoning and the wood used for grilling.

              Until about 3 years ago, when I discovered their great bone-in rib chop, the filet was my standard order, cooked medium, with extra seasoning. Never was the steak full of fat, and it always came out Cooked as ordered. The rib chop does have quite a lot of fat around the edges, but I just cut that away and enjoy one of the most flavorful steaks I've ever eaten. Like you, two or three times my rib chop was served rare, almost raw deep inside. I pointed this out to my server, who took it back to the kitchen; a few minutes later it was brought back cooked perfectly. And that rib chop is so big, I take most of it home and have it for dinner the next two nights.

              1. re: brandygirl

                We have noticed a very weird, acrid propane taste to a number of steaks we have eaten up that way - Hitching Post, Madonna Inn and The Parkfield Cafe - we find that taste very offensive and not sure why it was such a definable common denominator in this part of the country.