Food’s in fashion at Strip ClubsRestaurant Review Thursday, September 15th, 2011
Restaurant concepts take a lot of time to create. The elements of the idea, the food, service, décor, location, price point, logo design and marketing are just a few simple aspects that restaurants need to take into account when creating. And these days the competition is fierce.
Over the course of my career I have concepted restaurants myself and have eaten in hundreds all over the world. So when I see something unique and different that succeeds, it is thrilling. It is very difficult to break diners out of the box sometimes but we have a restaurant group here in San Diego that broke the mold.
Hailing from the very successful Cohn Restaurant Group, The Strip Club, with locations in the Gaslamp and La Jolla, has taken the idea of a steak house to a whole new level. This 40s supper club “grill your own” concept is not only fun and social, but the food is pretty good too.
The style of The Strip Club is a great alternative to the stuffy, expensive steak house. Large red and black vinyl banquettes, low lighting suspended from the ceiling and a bustling bar serving up classic martinis all together take you into an older era with a modern twist. The brick walls are covered with provocative and artistic sketches which might just be another reason as to why both of these restaurants have a 21 and up age restriction.
The stars of the dining room however, are the large grills that are in the center. Certified with commercial hoods, you will feel like you are your own five star chef. These days interactive cooking has taken over with open kitchens; this takes it to a whole new level.
When you first enter you aren’t greeted with the typical question “how many in your party?” but rather “have you dined with us before?” I think this is smart; you need an open mind when you come. The menu is filled with heart stopping goodies. Take one night and forget that cholesterol, fat and grease aren’t good for you and go full throttle.
The appetizers are simple and basic. Sweet Chili Calamari ($9.95) offers crispy deep fried rings that have a bit of heat to them. A Vegas Shrimp Cocktail ($9.95) comes to your table with six massive size jumbo shrimp predictably clinging to the edge of a cocktail sauce filled martini glass. I’m not a huge fan of onion rings, but here the Beer Battered Onion Rings ($5.95) will bring out the sinner in you.
A huge added value is that all entrees come with a family style salad dressed in their house vinaigrette. 80s style wooden bowls are filled with crisp iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, boxed croutons and sliced red and green peppers. There is nothing fancy about this; in fact it is very homemade. The sides are as well with a version of a Loaded Potato ($7.95), Truffled Mac and Cheese ($7.95) and of course Creamed Spinach ($5.95)
Being that the steaks are the show here, their list does not disappoint with a large selection of well chosen cuts. Choices range from a 12 ounce New York Strip ($19.95), an 8 ounce Filet Mignon ($23.95) or a 20 ounce Porterhouse ($21.95) to name just a few. You cannot beat the steak prices. When you order your steaks, be warned that they come to your table raw and wrapped in plastic wrap. Now trust me, this is where the fun begins.
Grab the steak that’s yours, head to the grill, and choose from an array of seasonings and spices. Everything from roasted garlic, to chili powder, to the unique Strip Club blend is there for you to use as you see fit. The grills are large and go around on all four sides so your whole table can head up at once. Bring your cocktail too; this is a social event as if you were in your own backyard. This is also a great way to meet other people. Every time I have been I always seem to meet my neighbor on the next table.
Even if you have never cooked on a grill before, don’t fear. There are directions on the side of each one explaining timing and temperature scales. And there will be many people there that are self proclaimed “experts.”
If you are looking for something different to do with your friends on a Friday night, this is definitely the way to go. There is just something to be said about the fun of standing around a commercial grill in a restaurant, cooking your own meat with a chilled martini in hand while talking with your friends and strangers. The one drawback? If your steak comes back to your table overcooked, you have no one to blame but yourself.
Gaslamp Strip Club
340 Fifth Ave.
San Diego, CA 92101
La Jolla Strip Club
4282 Esplanade Court
San Diego, CA 92122
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