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Restaurants & Bars 4

Porterhouse Bistro

NAspy | Aug 8, 2005 01:20 AM

The resurgence of the steakhouse has made me curious about this place for some reason. We ate there this evening, and were very pleased by the quality of food and the service, but were left somewhat underwhelmed by the hustle bustle of the place, which created a sort of family dining atmosphere one might expect at a Denny's or Coco's.

We arrived promptly for a 6 PM reservation and were seated at a table for two. Noticing that other twos were seated at booths for 4, we requested one, only to be told that they were "reserved." Though the place almost filled up by the time we left at 7:30, more than a couple booths for 4 remained empty during the entire time. As two women dining together, we often encounter the "those booths are reserved" line from seaters, only to watch a hetero couple be seated moments after us. Humph.

Anyway, "Amy" shows up, perky and friendly with menus, inquiring if this is our first time here. She recommends the prix fixe which we want. We order drinks, and they arrive very promptly, martini for me, sea breeze for my partner. The house vodka is Seagrams, and it was fine. Amy suggests that we order the Porterhouse for 2 if we like our meat done the same way (we do), so we order that, two iceberg wedge salads, and creamed corn and sauteed spinach.

Bread (touted as "La Brea Bakery bread") arrives, with two trays of condiments: chopped olives, pats of butter, roasted garlic, and cecca. All fine, but all could use a bit more taste. I notice the wine list helpfully includes the Wine Spectator rating for the wines offered. Interesting, a bit tacky, but more honest than wine lists which merely plagiarize or summarize Parker or the Wine Spectator and try to pass those comments off as their own.

The iceberg salad is indeed a wedge: I was tempted to spear it whole and just dip it into my bleu cheese dressing, which, though mild, had sizeable chunks of bleu cheese in it.

They could be a bit more attentive with service -- my empty martini glass sat on the table for a while before disappearing and my water glass was never refilled.

The porterhouse for two arrived -- big enough for both of us and perfectly prepared. Absolutely no complaints. Ditto for the creamed corn, though the spinach was somewhat tasteless, leading me to believe it was not fresh. Glasses of house Zin (Pepperwood Grove) went very well with the steak. The house steak sauce has a bit of a BBQ aspect to it, but the steak really tasted best without it.

Dessert: apple tart and chocolate lava cake, both very good. Though they could have made the chocolate lava cake presentation a bit nicer. It sort of looked like it was deposited on the plate. By the way, stemware and plates were nothing special.

Overall, this place is a solid B+ -- I think I would have enjoyed the food a great deal more if I didn't keep thinking I was eating in a place that was going to be an IHOP the next day.

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