There are days where I almost -- ALMOST -- feel like I live in a real city again. By this I mean that yesterday I went to work, then took the train home, walked to dinner, and then walked to church. No car required (until I wanted to go home, at which point I saw that Fullerton's finest had ticketed me for backing into my parking spot).
But where to have dinner?
I've been to Table Ten. It was extremely mediocre. I didn't want to get all the fumes in my face walking up to Olde Ship. Cafe Hidalgo, thought I haven't been in two years, sticks out in my head as the saltiest food I've ever eaten (and I've been to Maggiano's, so look what that tells you).
Well... hm... Stubrik's, or Seafood Grill? Never been to either. I'd rather have a steak. I walked in to the place, which is a cross between a Western saloon and a New York City loft, and waited. Nobody said a word. Finally I went to approach a young man who was wearing an apron.
"Anywhere you like," he said. "Two?"
I looked around and bit back the Jersey-esque retort that sprang to my tongue ("Do you see another person behind me?") and said, "No, just me."
I ordered a pint of Newcastle ($5.50) and perused the menu, which has a very long narrative about two kids who dropped out of college, moved to Vail to pursue their lifelong dream (snowboarding -- ah, to be 18 again), realised that dreams require the very jarring intrusion of money, and discovered they liked the service industry. After reading about these wonderful ex-students (whose nicknames give you the cipher to pronounce the restaurant -- it's STUB-rik's, not STU-brik's.
I decided to have what my wife calls a "MAN MAN MAN MAN Meal": a 16-ounce ribeye steak ($26.00) with a jacket potato instead of mashed potatoes ($1.00 extra), a salad with bleu cheese, and some corn bread ($4.00).
The corn bread showed up. It was a little dry -- not at all cakey -- and very, very good with the honey butter that came with it. Then the salad showed up. I have to say, I was not thrilled when I read that it was lettuce, onions and sunflower seeds. What the @$#% kind of salad is that? Nevertheless, that is exactly what it was, with bleu cheese crumbles on top, and for whatever reason it worked... and the bleu cheese had lots of black pepper in in, which was very, very happy-making.
Then the main course showed up. A medium-sized jacket potato, which (eventually) came with butter, sour cream and chives, all in separate cups so you could dress your potato they way you wanted. An enormous pile of vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, courgettes/zucchini, and carrots) showed up -- surprisingly appetising-looking for steamed vegetables. And there was the steak, which I had ordered medium-rare.
The potato? Great. A big yellow fluffy potato.
The vegetables? Just as appetising as it looks.
The steak? Disgusting. AWFUL. The very worst ribeye I have ever had. Tough as nails, stringy and full of connective tissue and just about inedible. Ribeye is supposed to have a piece of the tenderloin attached for crying out loud! I don't know what I got -- perhaps hoof -- but it was definitely not like any ribeye I'd ever had before. I'd have sent it back if I'd had time to wait for another to be cooked, and if I'd thought that a different piece of meat would be any better.
So I ate absolutely everything else -- and left 13 ounces of my 16-ounce ribeye on the plate.
Stubrik's looks like the kind of place where I could sidle in and have a beer, maybe have some bar food (they have lots of mozzarella-wings-garlicbread types of appetisers). I could make a meal on the sides, which were really well-executed.
But the steak was plain chaloshes. Ugh. I could get better steak at Sizzler. Or Carrow's.
Save the money. Go down Harbor a ways and eat at Morton's or Ruth's Chris. Or save up a little more and go to Mastro's in Costa Mesa. Go to Stubrik's and enjoy bar food and liquor. But don't order the steak. I've borne the suffering so that you don't have to.
118 E Commonwealth Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832