Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Steak House - 06/07/2008

2933 Rolling Hills Road
Torrance, CA 90503
(310) 891-2333

Yes this restaurant is really called The Steak House. The restaurant is located in a strip mall complete with "THE STEAK HOUSE" in block lettering. This reminded me greatly of Go's Mart, where the sign simply read "SUSHI". Yet despite the humble exterior that was one of the finest meals of my life. I actually decided to try this place after reading a really strong review. I was hoping to finally find a steak that could rival the Waygu beef I had in Japan.

The interior of the restaurant is a little nicer if a bit simple. The staff was friendly but felt less polished than I am normally used to. They had trouble answering my questions smoothly and every interaction felt unnatural.

Despite all that at the end of the day all that matters is the steak and when it came to questions about the meat the nervousness went away and the waiters were all smiles. When I said I wanted to try the Waygu, but couldn't decide between the New York and the Filet they brought a nice little plate showing off all their steaks. It is clear the New York is far more marbled than anything else on the plate, while this looked appealing then, it would prove to be misleading.

Steak Sushi
After reading a very positive review I was eager to try the steak sushi. Unfortunately it wasn't part of the set dinner anymore so I ordered a supplement. The beef was so tender I had trouble picking it up without breaking it. The balsamic gave a sweet tang, sadly the flavors were marred by a slightly chemically taste that I think was imparted by the butane torch. I tried torching my own meat before and ended up with a similar flavor although orders of magnitude worse. The foul taste scarred what would otherwise have been a very strong dish.

Red Snapper Carpaccio with Wasabi Vinaigrette
This was the surprise of the night. I was thoroughly impressed with the firm texture and light clean flavors of the fish. The vinaigrette and peppercorns added their own distinctive and strong flavors but these were softened by the sweet creamy mayo which kept the flavors appropriate to the fish.

Fresh Scallop with Shrimp and White Cream Sauce
A thorough disappointment after the last dish. The scallop and shrimp were totally overcooked each having a dull rubbery texture and paired with an equally dull watery and bland sauce. I really could have done without this.

French Onion Soup
Another weak course, the soup was a touch salty and the bread and cheese added very little, likewise the heap of onions underneath the soup.

A5 Waygu New York Steak
Seriously there is only one reason you would go to a restaurant named The Steak House and that is for the steak. I could appreciate the quality of the beef, but it was just over the top fatty for me sliding the knife through the meat took almost no effort, and I could feel the fat jiggling with each cut.

When deciding between the New York and the Filet, the waitress even warned me people sometimes found the New York too fat. Personally I don't mind fat but this was way too much. Each time I bit down into the meat it would ooze oil into my mouth. In fact the natural flavor of the beef was minimal, every bite all I could taste was the rich buttery fat. In addition, the New York steak was extremely thin, and on a sizzling hot iron plate, it continued to cook to the point where the steak was overdone, disppointing especially considering I asked for mine medium rare, on the rare side. The steak is served with a sauce made of soy, garlic, and scallions. Normally I think steak, especially good steak should be enjoyed with minimal accompaniments. In this case the sauce actually helped to moderate the fattiness. I still didn't use very much but I can definitely see it has a use.

Dessert was a veritable potpourri of little dishes, grape jello, cheesecake, fresh fruit, and mango sorbet sadly none of them was very good. The whole plate smacked of laziness, quantity over quality. I would have preferred less variety, and more effort paid to a single dessert even a simple one, say mochi ice cream.

Overall I didn't enjoy my experience at The Steak House as much as I expected. The quality of the beef was there, but the rest of the experience wasn't up to par. The snapper was a surprisingly strong appetizer but everything else was forgettable. I'd say if you want to try this place, stick to the steak and go with the Filet. As for me, I'm still looking for that one perfect steak to make me forget about Japan.


Exile Kiss said...

Hey Tangbro1,

Sorry to hear about your experience w/ the NY. That's why I went with the Filet Mignon for my cut when I went.

Totally agree that the rest of the courses weren't anything to write home about (the Soup, etc.), and it was really about the Grade A5 Wagyu.

If you ever go again, try the A5 Filet; it wasn't anywhere near as fatty as the NY you were describing (which would put me off, too). It's unfortunate about the Beef Sushi, though. Our portion of that came out really nice, with no butane aftertaste you were mentioning (maybe I got lucky).

Epicuryan said...

If I head back with friends I will definitely get the filet. It looked much thicker so it'll probably stand up to the heated pan better.