About six weeks ago I had dinner at Lawry's, and it was perfect. Last night I returned with a young colleague about to leave the city and interested in eating at this L.A. shrine before departing. It was absolutely mobbed, and at 6:30. I knew something was off, however, when the little buffet they have in their lobby room had only potato chips filling those great copper chafing dishes and you had to look hard to find the meatballs in a small covered dish to the side. But it was the roast beef that threw me. In the first place I believe that they have, as it were, downgraded the normal 10 oz. "Lawry's cut" by adding some bigger (in my non-vegetarian's opinion obscene) cut above the "Diamond Jim Brady cut," and, as they say, disappearing the California cut; though I am not absolutely sure about this part as I had paid little attention to the written menu. What I do know is that there is no way in the world that the meat I was given was prime roast beef. It was pink, alright, but slimy rather than moist and it was tough, tough to cut, touch to chew. I immediately complained at which time the waitress who seemed almost waiting for me had a slice cut from the next beef over in the cart(which was for the D.Jim cut, ordered by my friend.) That was pretty good, though not quite delicious. Then the dessert. We ordered two, one of them the trifle pudding, for old time's sake. No longer the fluffy mix of fruit and cake with whipped cream, the trifle is now a stiffish layer cake with little fruit except for a strawberry on top and mainly jam between the square cake layers which to me tasted recently frozen.
About three weeks ago, incidently, my husband and I had dinner at the Lawry's sister Tam O'Shanter, which was quite bad; same tough and slimy meat, though that night we were with some other people and teenagers and we didn't care to ruin the mood by sending things back.
I say trouble ahoof. Too bad. I won't return unless I am assured it was an off night. Maybe they schedule "off nights." I suppose it wouldn't be a bad idea.