Once upon a time, I brought you Belcampo’s burger from the Grand Central Market in Downtown LA. It was a solid burger and one that I would absolutely eat again. Yet, when I found myself armed with a gift card sent to me by the good folks at Belcampo themselves*, I just had to make my way to the Santa Monica location for a full-on DineLA Restaurant Week experience.
After attempting to grab dinner at the most popular spot in Saugatuck, Phil’s, we realized we couldn’t wait for a table and made our way to Coral Gables instead. The place was nearly empty, which we took as a bad sign for the food, however, it had a beautiful view of the Kalamazoo River so we knew it couldn’t be all bad.
Remember a time when Benihana-esque teppanyaki places were just the coolest damn things ever? Yes, it seems like a long time ago, but that time was very real. Well, the excitement has certainly passed, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to get a group together to hit up a teppanyaki place every few years. Well, we did just that in Pittsburgh’s South Side at spot called Nakama (which weirdly translates to “fellow”).
Two parts of LA’s beautiful food scene are its hidden gems and its seemingly effortless connection to its past. Taylor’s Steak House is both of these. Nestled in the heart of Koreatown, Taylor’s opened up in 1953, long before most Los Angelenos had ever heard the word “kimchi.” Yet, through the last 60 years, Taylor’s has endured and maintained an old-timey Hollywood charm.
Steakhouses are generally reserved for special occasions, which are few and far between. On one hand, this is a good thing, because steaks are meant to be appreciated. I, of course, would appreciate a steak everyday but I get it. On the other hand, it makes it tough to truly compare steaks. I mean, how does a steak tonight measure up against one from months back? It’s hard, but I try my best knowing that my steak from Mastro’s is where the bar is set. Enter: Delmonico Steakhouse in Las Vegas.
As a meat blogger, I am often asked what my favorite steak or steakhouse in LA is. My usual answer is, “I’m not freakin’ rich, back off of me,” but usually I’m able to come up with a place that has served me a good steak. Smokehouse in Burbank and Fleming’s have both treated me pretty well, but as much as I love me some steaks, it is simply not economically feasible for me to eat them as much as I want. Enter my wife’s bosses, who decided to take us and her dad to Mastro’s in Beverly Hills as a wedding gift. Well, my friends, we have a new winner.
My first time up in Big Bear Lake happened to be for my bachelor party. Since I knew little to nothing about what sort of food existed up there, my best man arranged a night out beginning at Captain’s Anchorage, an old-school steakhouse. Steak is unquestionably a man-food, and I was damn happy with the choice of restaurants. Since this was the low season, the clientele was mostly geriatrics and local middle-aged couples, but our group of men was welcomed into the fray.
Smokehouse in Burbank is old school Hollywood. Opened in 1946, it’s the kind of place you could picture Marilyn Monroe, Paul Newman or Audrey Hepburn eating a steak. New Hollywood has embraced it as well, and apparently it is a regular stomping ground for George Clooney. I don’t fit into old or new Hollywood, but Smokehouse is a steakhouse and I certainly fit into that crowd.
EDIT: This location is gone, but you can find the same over-peppered steak at The Capital Grille elsewhere.
Found in or around malls all around the country, The Capital Grille is a reliable, upscale steakhouse and I’ve never met anyone who isn’t a fan. So the combination of the girlfriend’s parents visiting and an awesome coupon led us to grab some dinner at the aforementioned grille. Despite having a reservation, we still ended up waiting a good 15 minutes for our table, then finally took our seats.
In Vegas for CES, I was lucky enough to be invited out for a little lunch at Benihana at the Hilton of Las Vegas. I had never heard of anyone going to Benihana for lunch (outside of The Office), but I wasn’t about to turn it down. If you don’t know Benihana, you’ve probably been living under a rock, but as a Japanese steakhouse, they cook in the teppanyaki style, which involves cooking on a huge griddle that also happens to be part of the table. For lunch they were cooking up steak, chicken, shrimp, mushrooms, onions and peppers, plus a salad for a set price of $24.99. This was actually a really good price for both Benihana and Vegas in general, so after ordering a Sapporo, I was ready to eat.