Seventeen years old and hidden in a friend’s basement where his parents unwisely kept their booze, I was offered my first Manhattan. It was my friend’s dad’s drink and he had seen him make it enough times to make one himself. I couldn’t have told you what was in a Manhattan, nor could I tell you how it was supposed to taste. But after one sip, I could tell you that I hated nothing more than I hated a Manhattan. Years later, I would see it for what it was. I don’t hate Manhattans. I hate Manhattans made by 17 year olds.
There’s something about classic dishes (and drinks) that are best served by the most experienced hand available. We’ll gladly eat at a new molecular gastronomy spot led by some 13-year-old savant. But for our steak and potatoes, we want to eat from the same grill and at the same table our grandparents could have eaten at our age. And to that end, Taylor’s Steakhouse has got it down.
Opened in 1953 in downtown LA (though it’s arguably located more towards Koreatown), Taylor’s has been serving the most iconic American dishes to Los Angeles for over 60 years. We’re talking steaks, potatoes, steamed veggies, crème Brule, cheesecake, and not much else. And each is cooked with zero frills and an endless amount of confidence. A confidence that can only be earned from years and years of perfecting these dishes. Oh, and their Manhattan? It’s f*cking delicious.
A real man’s meal. A thick cut steak, topped with fried onion strings. Even perfectly cooked, this will never be the most tender cut you’re going to eat, so the gnawing and gnashing will make sure you remember that you’re eating an animal.
A thin cut, boneless ribeye. Amazingly tender cut, though not for the faint-of-fat. A whole load of flavor.
What else are you supposed to drink at a steakhouse? Nothing fancy here; just perfection. Highlights the best flavors of the alcohol while mellowing any hint of harshness.
The most classic dessert to end a classic meal. Like everything else here, it wasn’t flashy or innovative. It was a classic cheesecake made to perfection.