Old school is back.
This week, Patric Kuh’s print review of The Arthur J hits the interwebs, with the LA Magazine critic awarding David Lefevre’s place with three stars. The old-school steakhouse held in beautiful mid-century modern confines receives a fair amount of praise, especially in the meat department. But first, the wonderful ambiance.
The place glows with its own kind of intimacy. A portrait of its namesake, natty in a pink sport coat, hangs by the entrance, a pair of well-worn wing tips outside adding a homey wink while prepping guests for the set decoration inside: Any formality you are about to encounter is just for fun, folks.
And of course, there’s plenty of comment on the steaks:
The $30 flatiron steak is my favorite; darkened on the pulley-raised grill, the wet-aged Angus cut gains as much from the smoke as from the oak embers. LeFevre is good with a flame, but his tartare is impressive in its own right. Using top round to impart a meaty lushness (kitchens often go for slightly leaner tenderloin or filet scraps), he grinds it coarse to avoid reducing the flesh to the sort of spread that many other places favor….
The $53 New York strip is great, though splitting it three ways with friends was enough, considering everything else we ordered. The ribbon of crisp fat, redolent of those oak embers, proved the perfect foil for a salsa verde with a high note of basil.
Not everything’s a hit, however:
A mealy puck of Bananas Foster ice cream won’t transport you to the last time you had the original flambéed tableside at Brennan’s in New Orleans. But I like that they keep the focus on tradition without doing anything by rote. [LA Mag]
Kuh meanders around Lefevre’s role as a reformer of Manhattan Beach’s culinary scene, awarding the steakhouse with three shiny stars.
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