Califoria Fats recently changed its approach and is now styling itself as an Asian Fusion Steakhouse. There are now a lot more steak choces, angus of course aged 21 days says the menu. A moderate selection of fish (sea bass, salmon, fried scallops, and a stir fry, and honey walmut prwans) and two or three chicken selections are also offered, as are Hawaiian ribs.
Menu prices are also up, with the New York steak (drunk or otherwise) now $22.95 and a 14 0z grilled rib eye (thai style or garliced) for $24.95. A filet mignon is also offered for $24.95. Steamed rice or scalloped potatoes are included, but vegetables are now extra.
They did carry over a few of their appetizers from the prior menu, including the coconut shrimp (5 for &9.95), the fried calamari ($8.95) and the chinese chicken salad ($5.95.) And of course, their stupendous, ever reliable banana creame pie.
The verdict: Nothing really exciting (except the banana creme pie), but nothing bad either. We tried two of the steaks, the New York and the rib eye, and both were fine, just not exciting -- and I really could not tell the benefits of extra aging. We also tried the sea bass, and like the steaks, it was good enough, but not exciting. (They do need to work on their breads though, served cold and perhaps a day old.) I guess I liked the quality of their former menu better, but times change. Service was also a bit spotty. Still I would recommend it if you need to eat Old Sac, and the atmosphere of the place is still cozy. I really hope California Fats finds its niche because Old Sac really does need an exciting dining spot. (I have yet to try the new Firehouse, but have heard promising things.)
In comparison, Morton's is still churning out its reliably good (and pricey) steaks. My rib eye there was $42, but it was also a larger cut. (A side note, the Morton's ribeye was also better than the comparably priced and sized bone-in rib eye from Spataro's.) A more modest size cut of the filet mignon was (only) $33, but worth it with the bearniase sauce, relatively speaking. And here, I do believe I can taste the difference in the aging of the beef or maybe it is just the quality of the meat. And their oven warm breads were very nice too.
Morton's was about twice as much, about $80 per person exclusive of tip and corkage for the wine ($20 per bottle), than California Fats but we enjoyed our dinner more, not the least of which was the chocolate infused lava cake accompanied with a scoop of H-Daas vanilla ice cream. There was excitement there. Service was also first rate, very professional, and believe me, it adds to the enjoyment of a dinner. By the way, wine folks, the 1985 Beringer Private Reseve and the 1986 Caymus Special Selection are drinking beautifully right now. The 85 Montelena was also nice, though it still had modest tannins and was a bit tight. Bon Appetit.