Steaks are prime time at Pacific Standard Prime in Redondo Beach – Daily Breeze
I have long had a special relationship with steakhouses. That’s not to say I’m a vegetarian, trying to write about something I don’t really eat, because there’s practically nothing I refuse to eat. (And that includes the guinea pig in Cuzco, Peru, which tasted impressively like…hamster.)
The peculiarity is my long held belief that any fool can drop a slice of dead cow on a grill – although it certainly takes some skill to prevent the beef from being turned into a burnt offering, or served ice cold. Besides. That’s why I’m much more interested in how steakhouses handle appetizers, vegetables, side dishes, etc. – food that is not simply thrown on a flambé stake.
That’s how I ended up at the long-awaited, COVID-19-delayed, and very impressive Pacific Standard Prime, eating many of the best salads I’ve ever had in this city of greens. Now let me note that in addition to the salads, I had several of the outstanding PSP steaks (as he refers to himself on the menu and website) – thankfully gimmick-free in an age when the very theatrical Salt Bae is offering a thousand dollars of gold foil wrapped Tomahawk steak at his new Nusr-Et in Beverly Hills.
Instead, for a measly $38, you can get nine ounces of prime medallion tenderloin wrapped in prosciutto, plus some wagyu (one for $72, the other $96) and a nice rib eye. with bone for $70. And yes, there’s a 40-ounce Tomahawk here, not wrapped in anything but juice and crust. It goes for a modest $145. For a steak big enough for at least two people. The menu thoughtfully explains the points of difference, from “rare” (“cold, purple center”) to “well done” (“hot, brown center”).
And then things get creative, with a choice of five sauces served with the steaks, from house steak sauce (a green pepper brandy cream), to chimichurri and butter made with blue cheese. Which is as fantastic as it sounds. I’d be happy to spread it on a cookie. The Wagyu is also made into a PSP Burger, with white cheddar cheese and fries included for $19. (At Nusr-Et, you have to pay an extra $15 for fries with your $1,000 steak.)
I ate the steaks vigorously, with pleasure, with carnivorous joy. But for me, the beef was almost a side dish compared to the entrees, which were so plentiful and so good. I was blown away by the PSP salad – an eclectic mix of farmer’s market greens, dried cherries, pecans, pears, Brillat-Savarin cheese in a Dijon wine vinaigrette. And perhaps even more so by the Unclassic Wedge, a throwback to the great salads of yesteryear, made with iceberg lettuce, bacon, blistered tomatoes and red onion in a dazzling Pt. Reyes blue cheese dressing. (Someone in the kitchen really knows their cheeses!)
And there’s more, both a PLP salad of baby kale, prosciutto, tomato, burrata, pine nut pesto and pancetta, served with pita bread. And a spring salad of escarole, bacon confit, Marcona almonds, fontina cheese and gala apples, this time in a port syrup vinaigrette. Throw in an order of Karl’s Crumpets, made with cheddar and bacon, and jalapeños, with honey butter, and you have a meal. These are very hearty salads.
Or maybe you feel the urge to place an order of Wagyu beef chili at the center of your meal. Or crispy lumpia spring rolls stuffed with Wagyu and pork. Or the Chicken Rockefeller “oysters”, which are exactly what they sound like. Except that the oysters are replaced by chicken – a very clever touch.
There’s more on the menu, of course, from Scottish wild salmon with Portobello mushroom pappardelle, Mary’s ‘smashed’ half chicken to, yes, another salad, this one made with filet mignon, in a Green dressing. Goddess.
And for god’s sake, don’t miss the three-cheese mac and cheese (spend an extra $3 to add bacon!). Wild mushrooms sautéed with crispy shallots. Pea tendrils with hoisin sauce. And charred heirloom carrots – which makes me want to char all my vegetables from now on.
And to add to the pleasure, it is easy to park in the field next to it. And the staff are as smiley and affable as they come. I guess they are as happy to be there as I am.
And I haven’t even dug into the encyclopedic drinks menu, which in itself could keep a serious drinker busy for months. Single malt Scotch alone could keep me motivated. But not as much as salads. For me, they put the “prime” in Prime.
Merrill Shindler is a freelance food critic based in Los Angeles. Email [email protected]
Pacific Standard Premier
- Rating: 3 stars
- Address: 18109 Pacific Coast Highway, Redondo Beach
- Information: 424-247-7521; www.pspsteak.com
- Food: Steak house
- When: Dinner, Tuesday to Sunday
- Details: Full bar; reservations essential
- Atmosphere: After more than a year of delays, Redondo’s long-awaited signature steakhouse is finally open, featuring high-quality beef; fascinating starters and side dishes; a huge list of cocktails, wines and whiskeys; and an outdoor patio facing PCH for those who don’t want to sit at the bar or in the spacious dining room. Overnight, this is the destination restaurant of choice.
- Prices: About $75 per person
- Suggested dishes: 7 Soups/Breads/Greens ($7-$16), 8 Appetizers ($9-$18), 9 Steaks ($38-$145), 7 Appetizers ($19-$39), 11 Sides ($10-$ $12)
- Credit card: CM, V
- What do the stars mean: 4 (World class! Worth the trip from anywhere!), 3 (Most excellent, if not outstanding. Worth the trip from anywhere in Southern California.), 2 (A great place to go for a meal. Worth the trip from anywhere in the neighborhood.) 1 (If you’re hungry and it’s nearby, but don’t get stuck in traffic.) 0 (Honestly not worth it to describe.)