MASTRO’S STEAKHOUSE – COSTA MESA, CA

Mastro’s Steakhouse was founded in 1999 by the Mastro family and Scott Troilo. According to the company’s website, Mastro’s Steakhouse became the benchmark for a stylish gathering place where discerning diners could enjoy premium cocktails and live music in an atmosphere that suggested both refinement and unpretentious fun.

The original Mastro`s Steakhouse in north Scottsdale remained the template for all subsequent restaurants – Mastro`s City Hall Steakhouse in Scottsdale, Mastro`s Ocean Club, a chic fish house with locations in Las Vegas, NV, Scottsdale, AZ and Newport Beach, CA and four additional Steakhouse locations in Beverly Hills, Thousand Oaks, Costa Mesa (CA), and Chicago, IL. Although each restaurant possesses unique design elements, they all exhibit certain similarities and it is quite clear that the primary goal is to provide every guest with a truly memorable experience.

WHAT’S FOR DINNER?

Beginning with the appetizers, I strongly recommend the crab stuffed mushrooms. The delicate flavors of both the mushroom and the whipped crab, combine and contrast for an exquisite experience. As with most of the appetizers, they can be easily shared. As a steak was to be ordered, a number of sides can be recommended, many of which excel in their simplicity. One side that fits this bill however is the Gorgonzola Mac and Cheese…this is definitely not Kraft from a box. But be careful, this rich, creamy side can quickly reduce an appetite, so be sure to order this, but save plenty to warm up at home later. The sauteed mushroom made with onions and peppers or the asparagus can create a great accompaniment when paired with steak. The twice baked potato, though almost comically huge, did not impress. One couldn’t help but feel that this could easily be made at home with a little more zest.

The piece de resistance was the tomahawk chop from “Down Under” (pictured to the right). This rare 33oz. cut of rib eye beef comes from Greg Norman’s Australian farm and is only available at Mastros during certain times of the year. Although not cheap at $90, the taste of this steak was truly sublime. Owing to my date’s routinely tiny appetite, we were able to share and both of us came away very satisfied. Desert was the (world?) famous butter cake. No…this is definitely not on your diet, but well worth a try. Much like the mac and cheese, you’ll find there’s more than enough to take away with you.

HOW’S THE WINE LIST?

A fairly extensive list with the top dawg being the 95′ Screaming Eagle, settling in at a mere $7,400. Guys, order a bottle of this when the goal is to impress (and to max out your credit card). Overall, pricing seemed about standard, with cost about 2 1/2 times that of retail. I ordered the 2009 Justin Cabernet at $60 (available at the winery for $26) You’ll easily find something to enjoy on their list or you can bring your own, though the corkage fee is a bit high at $25.00 per bottle.

OVERALL VALUE RATING: I have been to this particular Mastro’s 3 times now, and each visit has been a pleasant and memorable experience. From the impeccably attentive service throughout the evening (always there when you need them and out of sight when you don’t) to the unique and delectable preparations, Mastro’s comes strongly recommended for a special evening. General Manager Peter Papagelis (who makes it a habit of walking his restaurant and speaking with patrons) and his staff cultivate an elegant yet approachable environment and dining experience.

RATING: 4 1/2 out of 5 glasses