Monday, August 22, 2005

Los Angeles, CA - Johnathon Club

I'm going to do something unconventional here at twofoodies, and that is to suggest that you take out a club membership, specifically the Town Club portion, at the Jonathan Club in Los Angeles. I'll have to warn you however, that membership is very selective (or so I've heard) and well, it's like you're paying to be a member of something that is often associated with snobbery and imagery. So now you're asking yourself, "What does any of this have to do with the thing that drives us all?" Well, everything, because I sure as heck ain't gonna mention something in this blog that doesn't deal with food, no matter how remote.

After a long week at work, I was fortunate enough to be invited to meet someone at the Jonathan Club for drinks. I arrived and sat in a big lobby, exploring the antique art collections and reading the "no cell phones allowed" policy. After he came and took me through a maze of elevators and hallways, we emerged out onto a rooftop lounge featuring a live band and middle eastern hor d'ouvres which weren't amazing but were pretty good. It was relatively sparse at Friday around 8pm. After a quick bite (our appetizers) and some drinks (the sapphire tonics here are consistently good), we headed back into the maze to one of the other restaurants, decided we weren't in the mood for it, and then ventured over to the Grill Room which I think is their version of a steak and chop house. Luckily we had our coats; to get in, gentlemen need jackets. We opted to sit a bit further away from the live band (yet another!) and the menus were distributed.

I'm really trying to rush to get to what is really important to me, which is the steak, but I feel as if I ought to mention something about the general atmosphere of the Jonathan Club. It's old, it's beautiful, it's ornate, kinda like you're in an Italian Renaissance scene. And that's all you're gonna get out of me. I blocked out every memory except for the steak.

I had a 18oz New York steak prepared medium (next time, I'll have to do medium-rare) and ordered a seafood gumbo as an appetizer. For those of you who want smaller steaks, they have a 12oz New York and a 8oz petite filet mignon, among others. Of course they had bigger too; 24oz porterhouse and up. The gumbo was good, not something far from what I might get in New Orleans. But the was darned good. The last time I had steak this good, it was at Mark Joseph Steakhouse in NYC or maybe the Post House, also in NYC. The steak was prepared exactly to medium, in my opinion. Had I known they'd be so accurate and the steak so good, I would have gotten medium-rare, which is what I order at a steakhouse I trust. It had a wonderful flavor and was charred just enough to make me realize that I didn't care about the HCAs (heretocyclic amines, carbon-compounds that are cancer-causing agents) that made the food taste so good!

You can get a variety of steak sauces on the side although I've almost always maintained that the best steak sauce is its natural juices and maybe some salt (although some places make very good cajun steaks). The meat was tender and every bite was delicious. I didn't run into anything I had to cut aside or spit out, and the steak juices just tickled my senses silly. When I was done and so full that I really ought to have loosened the belt buckle a notch or two, I still wanted to have another bite.

Maybe it's been too long since I've had decent steak, but if the Jonathan Club continues to serve up steak like that, I've got to get myself a membership.


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