Observations on Food in the Bay Area
House of Lords (Las Vegas)
website - Yeah, so it isn't in the Bay Area. But I was in Vegas, and it was tasty, so I figured I'd review it anyway.
First, you have to know that this was one of the big Vegas casinos back in the Rat Pack days, and the House of Lords was one of the very popular restaurants of the day. All the big names of the day had been there, and it still maintains that Old Vegas atmosphere, which is really cool.
We brought a very tasty bottle of wine, a 2000 Turnbull Red Wine (their Bordeaux-style blend). Normally, there is a $15 corkage. However, the Maitre'd, when opening our wine (and recognizing the winery, though not the label), suggested that if we offered him a glass, he'd probably waive the charge. Always being one happy to offer good wine to others, I of course agreed. About half way through the meal, he returned with a glass and poured himself a small taste. Swirled. Noted the very dark, wonderful color. Sniffed. Grinned appreciatively and commented on its fullness. Tasted. Smiled. Gave us a knowing, thoroughly approving look. "There will be no charge." Set the glass down, and returned to the welcome desk. Heh. We topped him off some before the bottle ran out.
Anyway, on to the food before I mention a few more things about that.
House salad (which came with the steak) - plain lettuce, carrot & onion slices. Too much vinaigrette. Really rather disappointing.
Followed by a small champagne sorbet as a palate cleanser prior to the main course. Nice! Light, sweet fruity champagne flavor. This greatly improved my impressions after the dismal salad. (I should note, the salads on the menu looked much better. If I return in the future, I'll ask to substitute...)
Then, the steak.
I had the char-grilled New York Strip, medium rare. Perfect. Just the right amount of dark pink goodness inside, amazingly moist & tender, and a fantastic charred flavor outside. Damn, did it make the wine perfect. Wonderful. Not the best steak I've ever had, but definately yummy. Served with (lightly) garlicky mashed potatoes (good), and spinach (ok at best). But the quality of the steak made up for the spinach.
My girlfriend had the petite Filet Mignon, rare. Perfectly cooked again, assuming you like rare, wonderfully tender, and fantastically flavorful. Really nice thick hunk of cow. Came with similar potatoes, and asparagus, which I didn't try.
So after we finished devouring our meals, the Maitre'd returned, and we chatted a bit. He mentioned an interest in wine, we chatted about wine, and he joked that I needed to bring more next time. Then he gave me his card and said that when I come back, if I give him a few days notice, he could get whatever bottle I wanted for dinner.
Now that, ladies & gentlemen, is service. Old school. Really cool. People don't generally do that sort of thing these days - a real treat out of the classic age when life was about exchanging favors.
That's the way it should be.