Friday, December 05, 2003

Lonestar Steakhouse - Tustin

Executive Summary: Lonestar Steakhouse is not as great as Ruth Chris, but far cheaper, and better than than Outback and Black Angus. Good food and excellent service.

Review: We were seated at almost exactly at the predicted wait time given to us (35 minutes). The atmosphere was unmistakably Texan. License plates, steer horns, and "Don't mess with Texas" signs were mounted on the brown wooden walls. Country music piped through speakers and at 30 minute intervals, the volume was raised as the wait staff went through a mandatory line dance. Understandbly, most of them did this with nary a smile on their faces (I wouldn't either). I think everyone in the restaurant, including the wait staff, would've done fine without it.

Warm bread rolls with sweet butter arrived. The bread, freshly baked, was golden and remakably supple. It reminded me of soft and sweet Hawaiian bread I've had before.

My cup of French onion soup came out with a generous covering of melted cheese. Underneath this seemingly thick layer of Gruyere, the soup was sweet and oniony, a nice balance of soft onion slices, broth and soaked croutons.

My companions opted for the green salads, which were amply sized. Red onions, thick croutons, two types of greens, grated cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, and crumbled bacon. It was a substantial salad. Easily a meal on its own.

I ordered the Delmonico, an 11 ounce rib eye, with baked sweet potato. The steak was cooked exactly to my specifications; medium, pink throughout. It was wonderfully marbled, lots of flavor in the light crusting; a good solid rib eye; no steak sauce needed.

The side of baked sweet potato it came with was was large, but curiously foreign to my tastes. It is served with some butter and a small cup of brown sugar. My companions loved it, but I found it to be too odd of a pairing with the steak. I guess I'm used to savory and salty flavors of a nice baked potato loaded with sour cream and chives when I'm eating something as beefy as a rib eye.

Total for the night was less than $22 per person with tip (we gave our waiter 20% for his ability to sense that we needed more water). Leftovers were encased in aluminum foil which was then sculpted into a novel steer head. A bit of art and humor for our doggie bag; a nice touch.

Conclusion: Eventhough Lonestar is a big chain in the East, the fact that there aren't many around in So. Cal makes it feel less like a chain (remember a few years ago on how Krispy Kreme seemed to taste better after the long trek to La Habra to get it?) And since the food and service was quite better than what I was expecting, it trumps the lesser chains like Outback and Black Angus.


At 3:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

a friend told me that this place was good, i tried it once...


At 10:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get the Cajun Ribeye, for the money it is one of the best steaks around. Also if you're feeling zainy have the ground steak with grilled onions, I promise it will change your life.

At 10:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a very big steak fan and this is the best steakhouse in OC. I eat here once a week.

The steak is better than Outback by far and the prices are amazingly low for this quality of food.

At 8:54 PM, Blogger Been Nice? said...

I have not been to the Lonestar in Tustin, but I have been to the Lonestar in Laguna Hills. They have the BEST rolls. You almost can't get enough. Yummy!

At 7:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Food for the price. I tried many steakhouses and this one is the place to go if you want awesome food for a great price. Rolls are out of the oven, enough said. The rub they use on the prime rib is the best I have ever had (most places do not even bother to rub their prime rib). Friendly service and a warm atmosphere makes this place the one for meat.

At 5:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a joke, right? Have you ever had a good steak before?

At 6:18 PM, Blogger Diamond Dog said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 6:22 PM, Blogger Diamond Dog said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 6:25 PM, Blogger Diamond Dog said...

Don't get the hot fudge sundae. It was pretty bad. I figured I could write a letter to alert them, or I could write them a letter that made them laugh as well. However, I think they took me totally seriously. They called and offered a free replacement sundae (which I never took them up on)

Here is the letter (and remember it was supposed to make them laugh rather than be an actual coplaint):

I am very sad. We have been searching for a hot fudge sundae home for
our late night cravings. We chose Lone star because we figured that
things are "bigger in Texas". Seemed logical. We tried CoCo's the
night before and they had Sundaes for 1/2 your price. It was decent
but we thought yours would be better. I anxiously awaited our Sundae
after seeing the picture of it on the menu. It looked big, and so
creamy. So full of ice cream and fudge. To say I was excited would be
an understatement.

Monday night football was on. It was obvious our server (In the Bar)
was not interested in making this a memorable sundae night for us. We
are so sorry we interrupted his Monday night Football. Please let him
know how sorry we are for bothering him.

We get your so called Sundae and it seemed by appearance to be very
"Texas Sized". But we quickly realized it was all a ruse. It was 60%
whipped cream!!!! There was hardly any ice cream. I could not believe
it. I thought to myself "There is NO WAY Lone Star would do this to
me" I started stabbing the sundae with my spoon like a frantic serial
killer. This only deflated the "sundae".

We actually showed our server/football fan and showed him and asked
for more ice cream. He brought us some. But it still did not seem like
enough. And it threw the balance all off. Now there was not enough
fudge sauce.

Moving on to the brownie, it was asstastic. How old are these things.
You know when your grandma sends you cookies in the mail and she packs
in some socks she bought on sale from 1992 to accompany them? And she
stores them next to moth balls so that the moth ball odor permeates
into the cookies when you get them? Thats exactly how your brownie
tasted. On the postitive side, I am glad I will not be infested with
moths for the next month.

Anyway, the whole experience was a disaster. Then we get our bill.
This thing was like $6.99!!! With a tip it was over 8 bucks! We ate
the "sundae" to completion, but only because we knew it was expensive.
Now I am festering on the fact that I ingested all those calories and
even my elbows are a little bigger now. So not worth the calories.
This is the saddest part of all.

We all know times are tough. Food costs are high. Did you have some
training session with your staff regarding the "sundae". Did you tell
them "We need to cut back on that ice fill it with that
cheap whipped cream product. They will never know. They will be too
full from the steak anyway"

If you did this, we are not that stupid. We totally know what you are
up to. Please stop it. For the love of God, please put out a decent

This experience makes me want to never come back. Its like the
girlfriend you had that was perfect in every way, but she had that
hideous laugh that seemed so minor...but you had to dump her because
of it.

Please contact me at work to discuss this. If you get my receptionist,
please have her pull me out of any meeting I may be in to discuss.


Diamond Dog



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