Where for art thou Steak Kings?

by Mikey

Do you guys remember when Sizzler and Black Angus used to be the kings of steak and potato’s?  If you wanted steak and shrimp with a baked potato those were the places you would go.  Sizzler had that great cheese toast.  I used to think there was crack in that cheese crust and I could never get enough of it.  Sizzler has fallen a long way down.  It was once a proud steak house where the people got together for a killer salad bar, great steaks and even great fried shrimp. Fresh baked potato’s covered in butter and sour cream made it the best all-you-can-eat joint around.  Who doesn’t remember all you can eat night at the Sizzler?

The salad bar is a ghost of what it once was.  Just iceberg lettuce, shredded carrots, and croutons, it now resembles the salad bar you’d find in a cheap pizza joint like Chuck E Cheese.  Their steaks are equal to a Denny’s or Carrows, their once powerful cheese toast is under-cooked and under-seasoned.  The fried shrimp and chicken is stringy and has all the life cooked out of it.  Once a place of vibrant activity, (everyone from kids to adults used to be getting down on some great New York strip or top sirloin) now it’s the land of the blue hairs.  The place is crawling with them,  I should say rascling with them. (Rascals are those little automated carts they drive around.)  It’s as if they took Sizzler and fast forwarded it a hundred years.  The quality and service is gone, the old fogies have arrived, and a once powerful steak king has been killed.  It is now where food goes to die.

But who has claimed the throne?  Black Angus made an attempt.  They used to be known more as the rich man’s Sizzler. Now the Angus has disappeared along with that manly cowboy dude that used to be on the commercials.  Points to anyone who remembers the cowboy sittin by the fire laughing that evil manly laugh when he talked about Black Angus.  Black Angus is closing down now.  There are a few still open and if one of them is near you, you may receive coupons for a 10 course dinner for 2 for just 5 dollars.  Of course that is an exaggeration, but their coupon is ridiculous. It’s an obvious attempt to try and get some kinda life back in the doors.  Unfortunately it does not make up for the lackluster meat and course after course of bland food.  The Angus always had its steak going for it.  Thick cuts and hearty portions have given way to flabby, unflavored meat and bland veggies.  The customers must be purely coming in off the coupons now.  As far as restaurants go, next to the blue hairs, the coupon crowd is another kiss of death.  This is where food goes to whore itself out on a street corner.

So where is everyone getting their steaks?   If any of you said Outback then you need to drive to my place so I can poke you in the eye with a spork.  Outback is trendy and draws a great crowd, but it’s only a few years away from being Black Angus.

Us Venturians used to have the Hungry Hunter. It was one of the few places that you knew they truly cooked your steak to order.  The service was great and the food was delicious.

Most steak houses give you the pre-cook treatment. Hungry Hunter cooked everything after you ordered it.  But alas they closed their doors last September.

So what are we left with?  Ruth’s Chris?  Where you have to go to Bank of America first to get a second on your house so you can put a down payment on dinner.  I’d have to put dinner on layaway and come in and eat every month or so while I made payments. No, my friends, that will not work.  Best steaks or not, nobody should have to pay that much for dinner.

So raise your glass and bid farewell to the once proud steakhouse kings.  Goodbye sweet Sizzler, alas your cheese toast has no hold on us.  Farewell my friend Black Angus, your evil mental cowboy is no longer around to charm me and your coupons only deter me.  Finally, Outback, you are the baseball player everyone knows is in the last year of his contract, one more year as an overpaid Yankee then you retire and become a staple of the blue hair menu.

The search will continue for a good, affordable, tasty cow house.  Not fast food steak Outback! Good cooked to order, savory, juicy red meat.  Caveman style with baked potatoes and fresh baked bread.

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2 Comments

Filed under Thousand Oaks, Ventura, Ventura County

2 responses to “Where for art thou Steak Kings?

  1. Sizzler was my fav place to eat in the 80s next to Pioneer Chicken. I think that the food was so good because we didnt know better – it’s the same with Blank Angus. I also want you give you a tip: Ruth Chris has a special now – you can get a steak, salad, a side and 2 mini desserts all for $40. Now it’s affordable and they even give you free bread and water. No need for that loan I was going to give you so that you can eat

    • Mikey

      Mimi you were going to give me a loan? Your kindness has touched me in a deep dark place that only tickle me elmo and snufalupagus has touched before. If I had a soul it would be all a glow. Can I still get the loan? Brian only pays me in Ovaltine and jelly bellies.

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