With my mom in Los Angeles for business, a dinner together was in order. The Astronomer and I met her at the Double Tree in Commerce because she wasn’t in the mood to veer far from her hotel. The dining options in Commerce are slimmer than Nicole Richie (pre-baby), so our only choices were either fast food or Steven’s Steakhouse.
Family-owned since 1954, Steven’s Steakhouse is a blast from the past—I’m not sure which era in the past because my memory only goes back to the 90s. There’s nothing wrong with being an older establishment, but there is something wrong with being seriously outdated. Steven’s Steakhouse is crying inside for a makeover.
As diners walk into Steven’s Steakhouse, they are greeted with a collage of faded photos featuring celebrity diners like Muhammad Ali and Jean-Claude Van Damme. Apparently fighters, both real ones and those who played them in the movies, are big fans.
The dining room was decked out for the holidays with ghastly seasonal decor. Even the not-so-observant-to-details Astronomer thought that the flashing Christmas lights went overboard. In the words of current culinary crush Gordon Ramsay, “F*** me!”
As we perused the menu, our tux-donning, fishnet-wearing waitress brought out some bread and butter. Though warm, the textures of both the brown and white varieties were frighteningly similar to squished hamburger buns.
My mom suggested that we begin with seafood stuffed mushroom caps ($9.95). The larger than average caps were filled with a blend of shrimp, crab and scallops, and doused with a light gravy. The stuffing tasted exactly like the filling found in the frozen stuffed salmon sold at Costco. Boy, I’d like to look inside Steven’s freezer…
Each of our dinner entrees included a choice of soup or salad, and a plate of pasta. Yes, a whole plate of pasta. My mom went with the salad, which contained iceberg lettuce, shredded carrots, corn, croutons and red cabbage. She took three bites and called it quits.
The Astronomer went with the French onion soup. Nice presentation, hey? The doily is classic! It’s a shame the folks in the back of the house couldn’t be bothered to wipe the edges of the bowl. The soup itself tasted watery and burnt.
My chicken dumpling soup was a thick and tasteless mess. Two bites and I was out.
Next, we were all treated to a plate of spaghetti with marinara sauce. That’s extremely weird, right? Yes, I do think so.
After our senses were properly titillated, our entrees arrived. My mom ordered the “World Famous Big Jim Special Prime Rib Dinner” ($23.95). It was big alright, and so juicy that I saw my reflection in the pool of blood. The Astronomer and my mom both enjoyed the medium-rare slab of meat. However, it must be noted that after eating such horrendous starters, just about anything prepared decently tasted spectacular.
The Astronomer went with the Steven’s Steak Dinner ($18.95)—a 10 ounce New York Steak with mashed potatoes. The steak was too bland to eat alone, so The Astronomer had to dip it in A1 sauce. Sad. The mashed potatoes, which were piped onto the plate using a pastry bag (!), were crusty and dry.
I went with the scallops ($17.95), which were sauteed in a lemon and garlic butter and served with rice pilaf and vegetables. As soon as the plate was set down before me, I removed the gross looking bowl of butter. Much to my surprise, the scallops were well-prepared and pleasant on the palate. The rice was pretty decent too, besides the fact that it was soaked with butter and scallop juices.
Here’s The Astronomer and my mom posing with our leftovers. Count ’em—four to-go boxes! Steven’s Steakhouse, my vote for the worst meal of 2008.
Steven’s Steak & Seafood House
5332 Stevens Place
Commerce, CA 90040