Nick and Stef’s Steakhouse -L.A.

I wasn’t sure I was gonna write this. While it’s always fun to real a particularly clever takedown of a worthy target (the review of the disaster out meal at Bros from a while back, or the infamous NYT savaging of the Guy Fierri Times Square place, I no longer have the energy or desire to gloat over someone’s efforts not being up to standard. I mean, who the hell am I to have an opinion on whether bacon in the carbonara makes you an unworthy savage? If I just don’t like your place, I won’t come back, and won’t mention it to people.

So I mostly don’t bother with a bad review, unless something is so awful or such poor value for money that I feel compelled to warn folks away as a public service.

N+S has, for the several years I’ve stopped in, has alaways been a top notch, if very spendy, option for the professional LA set. Lots of dudes in Friday casual knocking back whiskies and Prime, dry-aged-on-premises hunks of beef.

I hadn’t been back in many years and my recent trip was enough of an occasion that I wanted to make it one of two ‘nice’ nights out.

From the service to the steaks, I was left pretty disappointed.

To start, our waiter kept insisting on being ‘funny’, which mostly translated as a 50 something dude who never made it in comedy. Second was his inability to grasp that no, I, did not want the whiskey menu, but my partner (a GIRL!!) did. She asked for a non-peated scotch, similar to Glen Morangie. His only suggestion was a Lagavulin which is pretty much the exact thing she didn’t want. He brought back a Glen Morangie and never did give her the top shelf whiskey list, though we could see other tables (all with dudes) that DID get it.

Her filet, rather than coming rare as she ordered, was med rare, while my dry-aged NY strip. ( ordered med rare ) was almost blue in the center. Even worse, the char level on both was so overpowering that I could barely tell the difference between them except for texture. So much for appreciation of that dry-aging funkiness.

The sides (mashed, sun gratin, and creamed spinach) and sauces (beanaise and a blue cheese) were all excellent.

As is customary in these places, the manager did come around to ask after things, and we spoke up about our miscooked steaks, but we’d shrugged and eaten most of them already and were in no mood for redos. He graciously comped our sides, which was a reasonable apology.

The other caution: if you park at the underground facility, they won’t ask you if you need to validate the parking. We didn’t, and the charge was ridiculous.

For a meal that was close to $100/pp and with a reputation as extensive as this place has, I was really let down.

I didn’t like writing this. It wasn’t as fun expose of rampant incompetence. It made me a little sad and a little angry. This place was one of the first really nice dinners I went to with my current partner. It was a ‘nice place’. Now, for me, it’s not.

They do still have the drying room open to view, which is neat:


The raison d’être for Nick & Stef’s has always been, and most likely will always be, to serve the business lunch (and sometimes) dinner crowd, and the pre-theater crowd (what there is of it).

Just like a restaurant connected to a hotel, or a one with a view, it has a captive audience and has very little reason or motivation to improve or even maintain a certain level of quality, much less ambition or creativity. This is true of many of the Patina group restaurants, if not all of them, at least the ones in Southern CA.



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Did you tell the manager that the whiskey list was not brought as requested? As a woman who drinks whiskey, that would have flipped my bozo bit.

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We didn’t. The steaks were the main issue and she wasn’t in the mood for more restaurant priced booze at that point.

While this has happened frequently, usually one correction is sufficient. In Sydney, the sommelier was very apologetic for reflexively deferring to me. When he realized that my partner was VERY knowledgeable about the subject, he immediately went and fetched the top shelf local(ish) whiskey, Sullivan’s Cove. Hard to find outside Oz even now. It became a quest for a bday present finally fulfilled a couple years later.

Not cheap, but she likes it very much.