I know that I'll take my dings but, I swear, I did it for friendship. After subjecting some very good friends to a variety of ethnic places we agreed to go to a place of their choice. They decided to drive from the southbay to the Malibu Charthouse. I did a search and concluded that the fish should be avoided at all costs. I tried to keep an open mind and, frankly, dinner was not the disaster that I feared after checking out their on-line menu, which really was more dreadful than I had imagined.
The place was packed last night at7:00 (it turns out that they have a couple of early-bird specials so the remnants of that crowd were thinning out) and we had a 20 minute wait in the bar. No cocktail servers so you must order at the bar and take your drinks to your bar table. Pretty decent martinis, good portions but a tad watery. $9 each for Sapphire and Absolute.
We got the requested window table but of course at this time of year there's a mountain in between the restaurant and the sunset. The breads were OK, good sourdough rolls and a squaw bread that was addictive. Warm, which is a refreshing touch, and a never-ending supply. The guests had the Caesar salads, which looked good, and were pronounced delicious; I could hear the crunch of the crisp romaine. I asked the server (excellent service, by the way, personable without being intrusive but this just may have been our guy) whether the New England clam chowder or the lobster bisque was better - he suggested the cheaper chowder. A pretty good chowder but it needed salt and Tobasco, and IMO should have been thicker. Actually more clam pieces than potatoes!
For mains we had 3 filets, ordered charred very rare, medium-rare and butterflied/well-done. All were cooked just as ordered. The meat is choice, not prime, so there wasn't a lot of juice, but the meat was pretty flavorful. Not the best steak in town but almost worth the $28 price tag. The normally $4 baked potato is only $2 when you order it with a steak. A good sized spud but regrettably steamed and hence no crispy skin. And no juice to sop up anyway. The prime rib, ordered rare, came out that way but was pretty thin, much thinner than you'd get with a regular Lawry's cut. It didn't look very juicy or tender, but all of it was eaten with gusto.
The total before tip, including 2 espressos, 1 coffee, and 4 drinks, was $160. If forced, I'd go back, armed with a little working knowledge of the menu, but it is not a place of choice. The place had a noticeable oder of fat, coming from the fry station where all the very popular shrimp was prepared. Outside, there was a distince smell of sulphur, which was not a pleasant way to preceed or end a meal. Everyone but me said they'd return.
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