If you are looking for a special occasion, bougie steakhouse experience, look no further. Since my husband and I moved out to Los Angeles 5 1/2 years ago, Mastro's has remained our top choice when it comes to fancy steakhouse dining. We have been to many other fine steakhouses across the country and always make our way back here. Why?
Ambience: there is nothing that compares to the mood here. We prefer (and highly recommend) to sit upstairs (it’s where the cool kids sit!). It’s romantically lit, with a piano player and vocalist always playing a familiar tune as you are led to your table. There is plenty of people watching and a fancy bar if you want to head there for a drink before being seated. Having worked in fine dining, I can vouch that they follow every form of etiquette to a tee. Once you are led to your table, the waiter pulls out your chair, places the napkin on your lap, introduces him/herself and gets the party started with the cocktail (and wine) menus.
Drinks: 100% of the time, we opt for martinis because they are the BEST. They are on the pricier side, but you really end up getting two for the price of one and they are WORTH IT. My husband loves the Mastro’s Classic Martini (dirty) with Grey Goose, with Gorgonzola stuffed olives. (You must ask for them!) I prefer the Dream Berry (more of a girly, fruity drink), which I will forewarn you goes down very easily. It’s sweet but not overly so, complete with a sugar-dusted rim and garnished with the best strawberry you will ever eat. The other martinis on the menu are all great, including their amazing dessert options, such as a Key Lime Pie martini. But don’t get this one before dinner--you don’t want to spoil it! If you are not into liquor, Mastro’s has a pretty lengthy wine list, which we also enjoy.
Food: Mastro’s has a breadbasket sent from the heavens. The basket comes with four different varieties: a sourdough baguette, a pretzel breadstick (I could live on these), a parmesan cheese toast, and a French loaf. We like to ask for more pretzel bread with our meal to have at home (it reheats nicely in the toaster oven!). The server is always very well-informed and helps you navigate the menu, reads you the specials, and gives you his/her top picks. If I had to pick a favorite appetizer, it would probably be the seafood tower with the largest cocktail shrimp you will ever see in your life: Dungeness crab, snow crab claws, and oysters on the half shell. It comes out on dry ice and because of that, always draws attention from nearby tables. I also love the ahi tuna appetizer which comes perfectly sesame-crusted and seared, served over a slaw that has been tossed in an Asian peanut dressing. Sometimes I will just order that as my meal because it’s still plenty of food and I want to make sure to have room for everything. My husband loves the 20 oz. Chef’s cut strip steak. The steaks always come perfectly seasoned and prepared, and the meat itself is the best quality you can get. Tip: If you want to share a steak, ask for 2 hot plates. If you have different preferences on how your steak is prepared, it will continue to cook on the hot plate, if you desire. The steaks are so large here, it’s a great option and awesome that they do this, since not all places do. We usually pick a starchy side and a vegetable--either the asparagus or sautéed broccoli and ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS do the Gorgonzola Mac & Cheese. I cannot recommend it enough. It comes out in a piping hot All-Clad dish. The server usually puts a tiny scoop on your plate which is plenty because it is one of the richest, cheesiest, decadent items on the menu. But there is plenty to bring home to enjoy the next day. I have even eaten it cold, that’s how good it is.
Now that you are filled to the brim with all this delicious food, it’s time for dessert. Upon making your reservation at Mastro’s, make sure you tell them what you may be celebrating and request the Butter Cake. They are famous for it and, once you try it, you will know why. This has to be my favorite dessert of all time - beautifully plated with a warm and gooey middle, complete with ice cream and fresh whipped cream. It’s an absolute dream. We have also had the chocolate cake and cheesecake, which are both divine, but don’t hold a candle to the butter cake.
Even if you don’t have anything to celebrate and just want to enjoy a fine meal and unforgettable dining experience, head to Mastro’s and you will not be disappointed. Just save room for butter cake! It’s worth every penny!