Short Orders: Bob's Steak & Chop House

Bob's Steak & Chop House
4300 Lemmon Avenue

Quite a number of those who dine out on a regular basis are still in the dark as to Bob Sambol and his legal difficulties. Talk at surrounding tables on a recent visit centered on some encounter with Jerry Jones' bodyguard Roosevelt ("he didn't know me yet," claimed the bigwig telling the story) and, more tellingly, all those "other restaurants Bob owns."

The rich and powerful don't read local news, apparently.

To his credit, Sambol himself still patrols the grounds--head held high, but with a more interested demeanor than in his pre-court battle days. In fact, it looks as if Bob is actually trying to manage the business...which is relatively strong, considering the drain Restaurant Week puts on non-participants. Suits still gather at the bar to sip martinis (although the dress code has relaxed significantly) and the steaks, well...

The menu specifies "prime" for some cuts. Others are simply listed as New York strip or filet mignon, with no reference to grade. When I asked my waitress about this, she assured me everything met the prime standard. "They didn't used to be all prime," she continued. "But they are now--we're just using old menus."

Yeah, right.

New York strip ordered blue and delivered somewhat closer to rare showed no evidence of marbling but a few strands of difficult tissue. It presented instead the silky yet tethered mouth feel of choice, neatly prepared and seasoned with impressive care.

Of course, the menu never claimed prime, only the waitress. And Bob's steaks have always coasted a fraction below the Pappas-Al Biernat's-Del Frisco's standard--playing on the clubby space, a female floor staff and big boy reputation. It's hard to say, therefore, if his place has slipped under the pressure of all that gloom, doom and potential auction talk, although...

Other items appear rather artlessly rendered, from sides to a Manhattan clam chowder composed of soggy vegetable scraps and about four truckloads of material scoured from the Bonneville Salt Flats. The soup could have passed for Campbell's if not for the lifetime's supply of sodium packed in each bowl.

Someone in the kitchen took the phrase "taste of the sea" very, very literally.

Clearly the steakhouse isn't suffering much, despite its owner's problems. Yeah, there were more shorts and t-shirts evident than in Bob's heyday. But the power players still show up and there were a couple special occasion seatings nearby.

As far as food service goes, it met Bob's usual standard.

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