Sunday, January 31, 2010

Steak in the Jar

Chef Suzanne Tracht has been tirelessly putting her spin on traditional American dishes and comfort food at Beverly Boulevard's Jar for the past decade. While other restaurants rise and fall, explode in brightness and flame out, Jar just keeps on ticking, the Energizer Bunny of lA fine dining.

The menu is haute steakhouse, with an emphasis on traditionally prepared beef and fish. Cocktails are classic but refined, lacking the sweetness that is so typical in many sidecars and Manhattans. The fried clams, one of the signature dishes, were delicious with a light, flaky, batter, but they weren't much more exciting than a well executed calamari. Fried seafood is nearly always good, but rarely breathtaking.

We ordered a porterhouse for two. The steak arrived cooked perfectly to order (between rare and medium rare). I'm most familiar with the porterhouse at Matro's, so it was hard for me not to compare the two. The Mastro's porterhouse is a giant, Flintstone sized slab of steak which explodes with flavor from its butter bath and the bold, salty Mastro's rub. The Jar steak was a more subtle affair, a slightly smaller steak (though still more than enough for two - you just may end up taking less of it home) with a more delicate flavor and the tang of the peppercorn crusted rub used at Jar. They are two extremely good but very different versions of a classic steak, neither better than the other.

Jar allows you the choice of a side sauce for the steak, we picked the buttery Bearnaise and the horseradish sauce, both well done versions of steakhouse classics. I can't bear to sauce a good steak, so these were used primarily as dipping sauce for the excellent french fries.

While high end American comfort food isn't one of my favorite genres, Jar executes it with finesse and a light touch that shows a respect for its patrons, not a thing to be taken lightly in a dining scene that can have all of the flash of a Hollywood set.

8225 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 655-6566

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