I took my boyfriend to Strip House for his birthday last night. While some elements were different (re: worse) than I'd thought they'd be, overall I think I made a good choice. First not-so-good element is decor. The lighting is very dim and red, which I think is supposed to look sexy and interesting but seemed to me to be covering up for the out-of-style decor of the place. Strip House needs a face lift. It looks a bit seedy, like a speak-easy that has passed its prime. Even the details were tired--grease-splattered menus and tacky yellow and red (yuck!) napkins bearing tire-flap-girl designs.
The second bad element of the night was the wait for our table. We had a 9:00 reservation, and I'd told the reservationist it was a special occasion (birthday). I didn't realize that Strip House was one of the proliferating breed of restaurants that does reservations on cable repair guy time. When we got in a few minutes before 9, we were told simply that there were a few tables that were almost ready to leave. This didn't seem like a good sign. Twenty minutes later, no update, no apology (which is SUCH a huge pet peeve of mine), I went to the hostess stand and asked what was up. She told me the same thing I'd been told when I got in--that there were a few tables that were almost ready to go. We were finally seated half an hour after our reservation at a center 4-top near the kitchen instead of in the banquettes, where other couples were seated. We were later offered a banquette when one opened up, but the diners looked too cramped, so we stayed put. Luckily, our server was incredibly friendly and great the rest of the night, so we had a good time.
Now to the food. My boyfriend started w/a mixed green salad, which was served in a nice parmesan crisp that looked like a taco salad shell. I passed on starters to save room for the steak. We shared the porterhouse for two, a special that night. The porterhouse was brought to the table on a rolling cart and fileted tableside, with the steak being evenly divided between two plates. We were told that the right side of the plate contained filet and the left side was strip. The rib was placed on a separate plate and put on our table. The filet was delicious--a great crust provided a really nice textural contrast to an almost creamy-smooth center. I wasn't as crazy about the strip, which was much more marbled and took me a while to chew through. I made an effort at the rib, but my knife skills aren't great, so I mostly ended up splattering things on the table. I wish I'd been home so I could've picked up the rib and start gnawing! For sides, we ordered the goose fat potatoes and the truffled spinach. Strip House manages to make spinach as unhealthy as french fries, but it tasted so good! We weren't impressed with the goose fat potatoes, a tennis ball size ball with a golden brown fried crust. The inside was a dry, crumbly mess that was hard to manage. There was also an overwhelming herb taste that didn't work for me.
Finally, we ended with the chocolate cake, which came out w/a birthday candle and a happy birthday message scrawled in chocolate. The cake was delicious and gigantic. I've heard it described as huge before, but I could never have imagined. The thing is about 6-8 inches high and maybe 4-5 inches wide at its widest part. We barely made a dent, but we did take the rest home.
All in all, a great meal, and surprisingly well-priced for the quantity and quality of food we received.