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The Butcher Shop Steakhouse
5255 Kearney Villa Road
San Diego, CA 92123
Date of Visit: 02 October 2007
OVERALL EXPERIENCE (5 is Best)
I was down in north county San Diego on a short business trip the first week of October, and on this portion of the trip, staying at the Sheraton Four Points next to Montgomery Field. On Tuesday afternoon, I was having an online chat with fellow DeadCowSociety Herd member Peter up in Seattle. He asked me how the Dead Cow was "down there." I shamefully replied that I had not consumed any during this trip. Peter's reply was short and to the point...and not repeated here. So I immediately started looking for a House of Dead Cow in the area, and found one: The Butcher Shop Steakhouse. It happened to be about one mile from the hotel, so I told Peter that I had located what appeared to be a suitable place for an Dead Cow encounter. Peter was pleased.
The Butcher Shop Steakhouse, owned by International Aero Clubs, is, according to its Web site, "Modeled after Chicago-style steakhouses...." Therefore, my expectations were rather high. I was not disappointed by my visit; however, I was pleasantly surprised.
I arrived at around 5:30 PM, and without reservations. I was a bit concerned, as the parking lot was quite full. (Free valet parking is available from the front of the restaurant.) When I entered, I noted the bar/lounge to the right. And it was packed! Now I knew where all those cars were from. The hostess was able to seat me immediately in a comfortable red-leather booth. Looking around the place, it does look like other "traditional" steak houses: dark wood paneling, oil paintings, and bottles of wine as decoration everywhere. And then Jen appeared, and this is where things changed.
There was no tuxedo-clad waiter, sporting a cart full of plastic-wrapped Dead Cow. Nor was there any semblance of attitude from anyone, including Jen, my server. She was witty, pleasant, informative, and efficient. She immediately made me feel comfortable, and "at home."
It was time to graze. I ordered a glass of Clos du Bois sauvignon blanc ($6.00) while reviewing the menu. Their menu features traditional appetizers and entrée, but without the "traditional" high steak house prices. I decided to order the 16-ounce bone-in rib eye ($28.95) and baked potato. Each entrée comes with choice of soup or salad, and choice of baked potato, garlic mashed potatoes, French fries, rice pilaf, or fresh vegetables. Garlic bread is served with all entrées, too. Note that the most expensive item on their menu was a combo plate of filet or prime rib, and included shrimp and King crab legs, for only $34.95.
I enjoyed the traditional house salad with Blue cheese dressing. Served on a chilled plate, the lettuce was cold and crisp. It was, frankly, very good. After the salad, I ordered a glass of Beaulieu (BV) cabernet sauvignon ($7.50) while waiting for the Dead Cow. When it arrived, it looked delicious! The Butcher Shop charbroils its Dead Cow on a mesquite grill, and it looked beautiful with its dark, rich char. Jen's assistant brought the entree, along with a selection of potato toppings. I dug in.
The Dead Cow had a beautiful charbroiled, mesquite flavor, and was perfectly cooked (ordered medium). This was an excellent rib eye -- flavorful, with the light crunch of the char. The potato was tasty, too. I have paid several dollars for a baked potato at other steak houses that were not as nicely prepared and a third the size. This was, as baked potatoes go, very nice and a great value. Shortly after the Dead Cow arrived, I ordered a glass of Rodney Strong pinot noir ($8.00). Jen came by after I was done, and offered several tempting deserts. I declined, as I was comfortably full and quite happy.
I would have to say that the Butcher Shop is not, in my opinion, a "traditional" Chicago-style steak house. And that is fine with me. It is completely non-pretentious. It is friendly and comfortable, and does not pretend to be what it is not. Service is extremely competent, fast, efficient, and friendly. The food, for the price, location, and ambiance, is very good.
If you are in this part of San Diego and in the mood for some nice Dead Cow, stop in to the Butcher Shop. Slump into your comfortable red leather booth, and relax. Jen will take care of the details. Enjoy your meal.
ALL RATINGS FOR THE BUTCHER BLOCK STEAK HOUSE, SAN DIEGO, CA