Last night hubs and I returned to Mastro's after probably a 2 year hiatus. I haven't been very active of late within Chow, so I don't know one way or the other if the take on Mastro's these days is hit or miss. Last night we had a superb dinner. I'm thinking that one of the reasons we haven't been to Mastro's in such a long time is that I remember a noise level that took much away from our dining pleasure. I also remember taking a walk up the spiral staircase to check out the upstairs dining room, where I instantly went into panic attack mode, from an INCREDIBLE amount of noise.
Yesterday when Owen called for a reservation, he had requested to be seated in an area downstairs, where if possible, there could be less noise. He was told that the restaurant would not be busy enough to even open the downstairs area, but that there was a part of the upstairs that was less noisy.
So last night we walked up the spiral staircase, and it was fairly packed. Again the noise, but as we walked the length of the room, and headed left, it was less frenzied. I learned that this area of the upstairs is called the "Napa" section. Not what I would call quiet, but besides a tasty meal, we did enjoy being able to have conversation throughout the evening.
O.K., now for the eats, etc.
Perhaps the economic issues of the day have given restaurants more impetus to treat their guests with warmth and welcoming, who knows? The host who sat us was SO nice. He thanked us for coming to Mastro's and told us that he wanted us to have an extraordinary meal. Same goes for our waiter, and we enjoyed great service throughout our meal.
We started with cocktails, relaxed for a while, and proceeded to nosh on a really good basket of a variety of warmed breads. We dug the pretzel rolls immensely. My appetizer was a platter of 6 oysters that were just ummmazing. They offered 2 types yesterday---Blue points, and another type called Chef's Creek. I really don't know if this was a real name or not, but I ordered them from the waiter's description of the rich flavor and plumpness. On the bill, it said "Quilcene" oysters, so again, maybe Chef's Creek is a euphemism. I was told to be sparing when it comes to their "atomic" horseradish. Normally I don't add this condiment to my oysters, but I became curious. WOW, it was off the charts hot---but it was creamy, and with just the right amount, I LOVED what it did to the oyster. Owen ordered their Spicy Mambo Salad, which is caesarlike, plus the added punch of Wasabi AND some of their hot horseradish. I had this salad a couple of years ago, and found it overpowering. Owen enjoyed it so much (while sweating from the heat) that he says he will probably get it every time he comes to Mastro's. My steak was their Porterhouse. I typically order a steak charred on the outside, and medium rare inside. Our waiter wisely told me to order my steak "medium rare +", because their medium rare might be too rare. It was a perfect steak. So much beefy flavor, which was made even more so, with a very light sprinkling of probably some wonderful flaky salt. I never salt any food, and am very sensitive to this seasoning. Again, it was a light amount, and it really added to this steak. Owen ordered the larger of 2 bone in fillets on the menu. It was their 18 oz. steak, and it was huge. He also ordered "medium rare +". As his steak was so tall, he said that next time he might consider ordering it medium, because the center was perhaps a little too rare. That being said, he loved his steak, and there was plenty to eat without having to work on the middle extra rare part. We ordered 2 side dishes, and they were each big enough for 4 to share. Colossal onion rings, and delicious sauteed sugar snap peas. We brought in a favorite old vine Zinfandel wine, and the corkage was $25.
At the end of our meal, our waiter came to our table and said that because we originally had wanted to be in the downstairs area, and that they couldn't accommodate, Mastro's wanted to treat us to dessert. Wow, was that ever nice. Earlier that day I had ripped out a recipe from a magazine in a Dermatologists office and was looking forward to having Coconut Blondies in bed while watching Seinfeld, so we declined the nice offer.
After tax, but before tip, our tab was $221. I really can't think of anything negative about our return to Mastro's last night. Well, maybe one---Our cocktails were a Grey Goose Gimlet and a Bombay martini. My Gimlet was $19.75, and Owen's martini was $16.50. Maybe I'm way out of the loop these days when it comes to restaurant pricing for cocktails, as our splurge meals tend to be more sushi based. I just thought that this was a bit of a steep price to charge for such basic cocktails. It was a really fun night, and we will definitely return.
The Coconut Blondies were fabu.
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