Steakhouse 55 restaurant is simply satisfying The folks at Steakhouse 55 succeed by sticking to what they - and you - know.
By ELIZABETH EVANS
SPECIAL TO THE REGISTER
"I don't get steakhouses," says one food-loving friend of mine. "It's just meat on a plate." Where is the talent in that?, he implies with his shrug.
And while I agree in theory, I have to admit I like the comfort level that a good steakhouse provides. And truth be told, it's such a restaurant I prefer when I want to enjoy a celebratory meal with my oh-so-opinionated family. Nothing too French or complicated.
But here's the deal: what constitutes a good
steakhouse? I ponder that when my family and I are seated in the recently renamed Steakhouse 55 inside the Disneyland Hotel. There has been a steakhouse here for as long as I can remember, and for years it was Granville's. http://www.ocregister.com/newsimages....jpgSteakhouse
55 isn't private, but it feels that way and is just about as hard to get into when I call several weeks before the Saturday night my family wants to dine there. "We have an 8 o'clock available," the reservationist says brightly, adding that they don't offer reservations but rather something called priority seating. Which I gather is sort of reservations with reservations, as in: We reserve the right to seat you when we can. I want to eat earlier, but they can't accommodate me on the phone. "You could try that night," she says but won't make any promises.
But the fact that it's hard to get a reservation is a good thing; it means it has something going for it.
On the night, it turns out they can get us in a half hour before our scheduled time, and we're given a great table in a somewhat quiet corner in the plush dining room. We're seated under oversize black and white photos of stars.
Maybe one the best things about this place in particular, and not something they can usually boast about in upscale eateries, is a foolproof children's menu with a picture of Mickey Mouse and choices such as a grilled cheese sandwich ($7.99) and Petit Prime Rib ($11.99), both of which come with a side and beverage. Better yet, when our almost-5-year-old starts to squirm in his seat, there's a cozy room around the corner where they are screening vintage Disney cartoons.
One can also judge a steakhouse by its more grown-up menu. There should be a mix of familiar and accessibly exotic. Here, in addition to the classic shrimp cocktail ($12), appetizers include crisp Dungeness crab cakes ($11) served in a fragrant saffron sauce. Broiled portobello mushrooms ($9) are large caps of the oversize fungus filled with creamy Humboldt Fog cheese in a thick port wine reduction, and Chilled Smoked Ahi ($10) is teamed with a refreshing cucumber relish and lively wasabi vinaigrette.
Steakhouse salads are typically as straightforward as the meaty offerings. Here they offer a Wedge ($8) that is sided with thick slices of tomato, which shouldn't be as tasty as they are this far out of season. The wedge is generously topped with a chunky Gorgonzola dressing, a luxurious and tangy explosion against the crisp lettuce.
Caesar Salad ($9) is also included in the three-course Prix Fixe Menu ($29). Here the garlicky mix is served with a cheese crouton. I like that the restaurant offers the fixed price choice; in addition to the salad, it comes with a petite New York Steak and a side of the smashing Garlic and Herb Smashed Potatoes ($6 on their own as a side). Plus dessert.
Steaks here are certified Angus and liberally portioned. Bone-in rib eye ($35) is an 18-ounce slab of beef. It's large enough to share, and that's what I do this night. The steak, ordered medium rare, comes with a deep pink center. The outside is nicely grilled with the house signature rub. The rub is a robust seasoning that doesn't drown out the flavor of the beef. The filet mignon ($29 for 7 ounces, $34 ounces for 10 ounces) is less adorned but as tender as this cut of beef should be.
For non-red-meat eaters – and there are none in my family – there's the Shelton free range double breast of chicken ($24) as well as a couple of fish offerings, including a 9-ounce halibut filet ($25) and Atlantic salmon ($22).
The non-Prix Fixe entrees are served a la carte, which means we have a choice of sides to share with the table. The Season's Mushroom sautéed with Madeira ($8) seems appealing, especially when the season is fall, but the sauté seems a little meager this night. Sautéed spinach leaves with roasted garlic cloves ($6) are deeply flavored and terrific on the side of the meat. The Potato Stack ($6) is tender slices layered with cheese and finished under high heat, giving the top an appealing crispness.
Desserts are also comforting in their familiarity. The Crème Brule ($8) is made in a shallow tin that means there's plenty of crunchy sugar crust over the creamy, vanilla-bean-speckled custard. But my favorite sweet on this visit is the tart of the day. It's an apple fig concoction teamed with vanilla ice cream and served warm under a thick crumble crust. http://www.ocregister.com/newsimages...hef_165.jpgThe
wine list is extensive, as they tend to be in steakhouses. And while there are many options priced under $100, this night we opt for a pricey red, Swanson, Alexis, Napa Valley ($102). It's a Meritage, or blend, that includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot varietals. It's a big, bold red that's soft on the tannins and goes nicely with the richness and simplicity of the well-marbled meat.
Yes, it is just meat on a plate, I think, as three generations of my family leave Steakhouse 55 happy and satisfied, but when it's done well, that's all you need. Contact the writer:
Fax: (714) 840-4188