Note: There are a lot of mentions of Lawry's on the board, but not many recaps that I could find, so I decided to write this in case someone wants a "walk-through" of sorts on the Lawry's experience.
Had an 8:30 reservation for 3 on Saturday night at Lawry's. I've only been there a handful of times and my wife and I were taking our nine-year-old son (who definitely appreciates good food) here for the first time. We got stuck in traffic and arrived a minute or two late, and walked in to find the lobby extremely packed with people, as I expected it would be. We approached the desk only to overhear someone complaining that they were told they'd be seated by a certain time and still weren't, and were being told they possibly might not be seated until 9:15. The woman at the desk, clearly exasperated, took our name and just sort of muttered that they'd call us when our table was ready. We turned to walk away and find a seat, and like magic, my name was called within about 20 seconds.
We were seated at a great, semi-circle booth against the wall and given menus. Very soon our waitress arrived and took our drink order (3 iced teas), appetizer order (shrimp cocktail) and asked if we were all having prime rib. We all said yes and away she went. Our drinks arrived and so did a basket of delicious warm sourdough bread and butter. The bread had an excellent crunchy crust protecting a very soft yet substantial inside. Our shrimp cocktail arrived shortly thereafter. It was straightforward and very good, consisting of five large shrimp, cocktail sauce and a lemon wedge.
Moments later our waitress arrived and created our "famous spinning salad" for us, which was also great. The croutons are slightly sweet, adding a nice touch. While eating our salads, I mentioned that if I hadn't been so hungry, I think I would have felt as if they were rushing us a bit. But seeing that all three of us were very hungry, it worked out fine. A quartet of Christmas carolers continually walked throughout the spacious dining room, singing both while walking and stopping at specific tables. They stopped and sang God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen for us as we finished our salads.
Soon the giant steel cart (that my son said resembles a blimp) arrived and our waitress asked which cuts we wanted and conveyed our order to the carver. My wife got the California cut, my son the Lawry's cut (which was served with a rib bone) and I got the Diamond Jim Brady cut (thicker and also served with a rib bone). We got one creamed corn and one creamed spinach, and were also given one big Yorkshire pudding, which was split among the three of us. We all ordered medium rare cuts, and I think next time I would go medium. I've always enjoyed medium rare but I think the texture and consistency of the meat would have been more to my liking at medium. The prime rib was good, but I can't say it was sublime or anything. Next time, I'll get the Lawry's cut, as it is plenty big.
We closed the meal with the C.C. Brown's hot fudge sundae, and for all the build-up, I didn't find the hot fudge all that much to my liking. It's extremely sweet hot fudge. The tableside preparation is sorta fun, though.
With the exception of that first woman we encountered, the staff was extremely friendly and gracious throughout our night. Having not been to Lawry's for more than a decade, I enjoyed it quite a bit, but I'm not dying to go back again immediately.