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MORTON'S STEAKHOUSE OF CHICAGO IN DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES

 

By Michael Hepworth

Arnie Morton's Steak House of Chicago opened its 62nd venue, in downtown Los Angeles making a welcome addition to the burgeoning dining scene down there. Proving a lively challenger to LA Prime at the nearby Bonaventure Hotel, steak houses are "in" right now, with the Porterhouse Bistro and Mastro's of Scottsdale having both opened in Beverly Hills recently. Morton's uses it's lofty reputation to keep the momentum going with some style. All the predictable steak house staples are here, such as Frank Sinatra music over the speakers, hordes of black and white photos on the wall, and of course no shortage of keen and willing staff to sell the product. The restaurant opened in early November last year just in time for the new Basketball season, and being close to the Staples Center is an obvious plus. Included in the $6 valet parking fee is a shuttle from the restaurant to the arena for all Lakers, Clippers and Kings games.

This the only restaurant I have ever been in where a live presentation by the waiter featured all the steaks on the menu plus other selected courses. It has taken the waiter seven hours of practicing to perfect this presentation, and an example of it can be found by checking into their web site (link below). The restaurant seats 137 in the main dining room plus 50 in a private boardroom. Like most of the other Morton's, an open kitchen gives you a great view of the chef's at work, and the subdued elegance of the room is just right for both business and social meals. The tables are nicely spaced; no sense of being squeezed in here, and for a chain restaurant, Morton's has managed to maintain the quality control over the food and the staff. General manager Bill White circulates, knows his customers and makes everyone feel equally important.

The well tried and tested menu is set in stone, and for an appetizer we decided to go for the Jumbo Lump Crab Cake with Mustard Mayonnaise sauce at $10.95 and the excellent Broiled Sea Scallops wrapped in bacon with apricot chutney for $10.50. Other appetizers include such old throwbacks as Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail and Oysters on the Half Shell. It is steaks however that people come here for and they range in price from $23.95 to $34.95. All steaks are shipped in direct from Chicago and standouts include Double Filet Mignon, 24 or 48 ounce Porterhouse, New York Strip Sirloin and a Cajun Ribeye. A giant Prime Rib is generally available, but by mid-evening is usually sold out. We were lucky and got the last one from the joint, and that was about eight thirty in the evening. Tender and delicious, it sums up the quality of Morton's and the absolute "no compromise" attitude about the selection of the produce. A good choice of side dishes include Lyonnaise Potatoes at $4.95, done just right, and the Idaho Baked Potato at $4.95, which my companion adored, as it retained it's heat for a good ten minutes after arriving at the table. Seafood lovers can also go for the Whole Baked Maine Lobster (priced at market value), Farm raised Salmon at $23.95, Shrimp Alexander with Sauce Beurre Blanc at $23.95 or the Center Cut Swordfish Steak with Sauce Bearnaise for $26.95.

The wine list is very comprehensive for a chain, and although there is not an actual sommelier on hand, general manager Bill White knows his wines pretty well. We tried something new - a 97 Pinot Noir from Sonoma 's Russian River Valley and the Hanzell Vineyard. The vineyard dates back to 1957 and only produces 3,000 cases a year. The early morning coastal fog in this part of the world is ideal, providing a cooler growing season, especially for Pinot Noir. This long maturing wine is very good, and for steaks, an ideal choice.  Desserts consist of such classics such as New York Cheesecake, Key Lime Pie and an appealing sounding Soufflé for Two, with Chocolate, Grand Marnier, Lemon and Raspberry. We went for the Godiva Hot Chocolate Cake at $8.95, and it certainly rounded out a fine meal.  Arnie Morton's Steak House will not let you down, they are just too experienced for that, and they will undoubtedly be a fixture downtown for a long time to come.

Fact Sheet

735 S. Figueroa St , Los Angeles CA 90017

Phone: 213-553-4566

Lunch: Monday-Friday (11:30 PM-2:30 PM)

Dinner: Monday-Friday (5:30 PM-11:00 PM)

             Sunday (5:30 PM-10:00 PM)

Dress: Smart casual
Valet Parking
Cost: Dinner for two w/wine $150

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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