It’s easy to make fun of cruise ships. Most have questionable comedians and come fully loaded with visored retirees who are mostly there for the 2-for-1 piña coladas. But no matter how quickly you change the channel when a Viking River Cruise commercial comes on, there’s no denying that these vacations are unlike anything else. Besides the nightly trivia tournaments and 24-hour ice cream counter, they’re a complete and total break from reality. When you’re onboard, the outside world doesn’t exist. What matters is the show happening inside.
And that’s exactly what you’ll find at Lawry’s, the classic steakhouse in Beverly Hills and LA’s very own stationary cruise ship. It starts when you ascend the grand staircase and make your way into the ballroom filled with giant booths, oil paintings of nondescript monarchs, and gleaming golden carts of prime rib on wheels.
Yes, we’re talking about the same Lawry’s with multiple locations across the country whose seasoning has been in the back of every spice rack in America since the 1950s. But this 80-year-old steakhouse is a Beverly Hills original, and dining at its massive La Cienega space is one of the few authentic old-Hollywood experiences we have left. Half the crowd has been here every year for their aunt’s birthday for four decades, your waitress just introduced herself as Mrs. Collinsworth, and the menu is filled with the kind of meat and potatoes that have long been endangered in Los Angeles.
Your order is simple - the prime rib dinner. No matter which of the five prime rib cuts you select, you’ll also get mashed potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, whipped cream horseradish, and their famous spinning salad. Throw in a few sides (you won’t find better creamed spinach in the world), and then allow yourself to sit back and watch the show unfold. Whether it’s Mrs. Collinsworth spinning salad at what seems like 60 mph or the prime rib carver parking his golden cart in front of you and cutting you a huge slab of meat, dinner at Lawry’s is total escapism from start to finish. And you don’t have to spend two weeks on the Danube to get it.
It’s not often you walk out of a restaurant talking about the creamed spinach, but at Lawry’s, you will be.
Yes, the presentation of this thing is gimmicky, but it’s still thrilling to watch unless you’re dead inside. The salad comes with romaine and iceberg lettuce, spinach, beets, eggs, croutons, and their “vintage” dressing. It’s basically Lawry’s version of a caesar, but it’s also better than most caesars.
If you’ve never had Yorkshire pudding before, it’s important to know that it looks and tastes much closer to French toast than pudding. And if you’ve ever had French toast, you know that’s a good thing.
No one should come to Lawry’s with the intention of just eating seafood, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t throw a lobster tail on the table.
In the grand scheme of a meal at Lawry’s (which is frankly quite grand), you probably won’t remember the mashed potatoes, but they also won’t get in the way of anything either. A for participation.
This is why Lawry’s is in business all over the world. No matter which prime rib cut you decide on, you’re going to get a very good piece of meat.
Will you have room in your body for this at the end of your meal? Absolutely not. But you’ll make room, because you need to know how good this banana bread pudding is.