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Morton’s The Steakhouse

March 3, 2015

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, then you must know how much I love my steak and potatoes.  I am a meat eating carnivore in every sense of the word.  If I had my choice of a restaurant to dine at, more than likely it would be a steakhouse, and if I find myself dining out, I’d most likely order the beef dish on the menu.  I’m unashamed to admit how much I love a good steak.  In the past, I’ve blogged about my past visits to well known national steakhouses such as Capital Grille, Fleming’s and Ruth’s Chris, now here’s another one to add to the list.  For Thanksgiving 2014, my husband had an idea to getaway from Los Angeles for one night and head out to the desert of Palm Springs.  The purpose of the trip would be so that we could head out to Joshua Tree National Park on the Friday After Thanksgiving, a place my husband had been trying to get me to go to for a couple of years now.  As we had no other plans for Thanksgiving and I too had wanted to see the National Park, I agreed that a quick getaway to Palms Springs would be a good idea.  Of course, when you travel anywhere over a holiday, there’s always the question (at least for me) of where we could eat our holiday meal that would even be open.  You can’t always expect to travel on major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas and find a plentiful mix of different restaurants and even fast food diners that are open.  More often than not, you’ll end up going hungry if you don’t pre-plan because unless you’re in LA, you’re often hard pressed to find anything open.

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Luckily for us, I discovered that Morton’s The Steakhouse, in the neighboring community of Palm Desert would be open on Thanksgiving evening.  My husband and I have visited a bunch of steakhouses together over the years, but we’d never dined at Morton’s before, so this was going to be a first for us.  Started in Chicago in 1978, Morton’s The Steakhouse was the brainchild of Arnie Morton and Klaus Fritsch.  Having worked together at The Playboy Club in Montreal, the two met when Klaus Fritsch cooked a hamburger which was sent out to Arnie Morton.  One bite of the hamburger and Arnie stormed into the kitchen demanding to know who cooked his burger, as it was the best hamburger he’d ever tasted.  From that day, to today, Morton’s The Steakhouse has grown to over 69 restaurants worldwide.  As one of the most recognizable steakhouses in the world, Morton’s serves only the finest prime aged beef and other meat using the same meat purveyors today that they’ve used since the opening of their first restaurant in Chicago.  Prime aged beef that my husband and I couldn’t wait to sample.

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To start off our meal, we chose the short rib steak tacos for an appetizer.  Served on warm corn tortillas topped with short rib steak, fresh salsa, some sort of chipotle cream sauce and some salsa verde along with fresh sliced avocado, onions and cilantro, these tacos were a flavor punch of goodness wrapped up in about 4 bites.  The short rib steak was tender, flavorful and fantastic.  The flavors of the fresh salsa and the salsa verde combined with the warm corn tortilla and the buttery flavor of the sliced fresh avocado were a perfect compliment to the short rib steak.  I easily could have eaten 5 of these tacos for dinner, they were that good.

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For his meal, my husband ordered the 16 oz center-cut prime ribeye.  Bone in prime ribeye grilled to a nice medium rare is my husband’s steak cut of choice when we dine at steakhouses and one bite into this beauty of a ribeye and my husband declared that this was easily the best tasting steak he has ever had.  The steak was cooked perfectly, it was juicy and moist, and incredibly tender, all packed full of rich flavor.  It was so tasty that my husband, who isn’t the steak lover that I am, devoured his whole ribeye rather quickly because he couldn’t get over how flavorful the meat was.

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To go with our steaks, we ordered a couple of sides to share at the table.  The bacon and onion macaroni and cheese was absolutely delicious.  The dish was packed full of cheesy flavor that was perfectly melted and created a nice cheesy crust on the top.  The bacon flavor of the dish really shined through and the onion flavor was much more subtle mixed in with the pasta so as to not be overwhelming.  This may have been the best macaroni and cheese side dish I’ve enjoyed at a steakhouse.  The other side dish we ordered was my husband’s personal favorite, the onion ring.  Large sliced onion rings battered and deep fried to a nice crispy golden brown and served alongside a couple of dipping sauces.  However, the onion rings were so flavorful on their own that the dipping sauces were completely unnecessary.  The rings were perfectly deep fried to a perfect crispy consistency, and yet the onions inside were piping hot, tender and sweet.  Exactly how you want onion rings to be.

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For my entree, I chose the special surf and turf dish with the 8 oz center-cut filet mignon and the 6 oz grilled lobster tail served with drawn butter.  I liked the touch of the grilled lemon to help draw out the smoky flavor and the juices from the sliced lemon.  Grilled lobster tail and drawn butter are a terrific combination that always works with steak.  The seasoning on the lobster tail was terrific, though the lobster tail itself was just average, with the meat not being as tender and buttery in texture as I had hoped.  My medium rare center-cut filet mignon was fantastic and more than made up for the slight disappointment with the lobster tail.  As soon as I took a bite of my filet, I could see why my husband called this the most flavorful steak he’d ever had.  There is a rich flavor and tenderness to the steaks here at Morton’s that I just haven’t found at other steakhouses.  The meat is so tender that you feel like you could almost cut it with a butter knife, how they manage to keep it so juicy and moist is a thing of beauty.  This 8 oz filet was everything I was hoping it would be.

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Halfway through dinner, our waiter came to our table to let us know that one of the restaurant’s dessert specialties was the souffle, but that if we were interested in ordering that, we should place our orders right away as they take some time to cook.  The minute I heard the word souffle, I knew that’s what I wanted for dessert as I can never pass up an opportunity to have a good souffle.  After hearing of the souffle selections available that evening, I surprised my husband and didn’t choose the obvious chocolate souffle for dessert, instead opting for something a little different and going for the lemon souffle instead.  First off, when it came to dessert time and we saw the souffles come out to the table, my husband and I both thought that we were going to die since the souffles were huge.  I don’t think I’d ever seen a bigger individual souffle in my life.  I was already full from my dinner that I was groaning internally since I had no idea how I was going to finish this monstrosity of a dessert.  With eyes bulging, our waiter assured us that it wasn’t that bad as the souffle is really nothing more than air inside and that while it looked huge, it wasn’t really that bad.  Topped with a little lemon zest and served alongside a goblet of Creme anglaise, I really like how the souffle was baked until it had a nice golden crust atop it.  This crust is like creating a nice shell that protects the airy inside of the souffle.  And our waiter was right, when you dig into the souffle itself, it didn’t seem nearly as big inside as it looks from the outside as it truly was very airy inside, which was perfect.  This was one of the best cooked souffles I’ve had, as it seemed that they whipped the egg whites just right and they baked it the perfect amount of time for it to rise to the right height and be the perfect consistency inside.  The lemon flavor of the souffle was also very well done with just the right touch of citrus and tang, but without overpowering the entire dessert.  The combination of the lemon flavor and zest with the vanilla in the Creme anglaise was just the combination I was looking for when I decided I wanted to go with the lemon souffle instead of the chocolate souffle I normally would have ordered.  And I’m glad I made this choice for my dessert.

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When I chose the lemon souffle, my husband was forced to choose a different souffle since he didn’t want to order what I had ordered.  So, he chose the grand marnier soufflé.  Forced is probably too strong of a word, though I know he would have considered the lemon soufflé if I hadn’t chosen it.  However, he was more than happy with his grand marnier soufflé.  Like mine, it was also served alongside a goblet of Crème anglaise to be poured into and over the soufflé once you use your spoon to scoop out the middle of the soufflé.  Again, piping hot and perfectly baked out of the oven, the outside of the soufflé formed a nice skin while the inside was incredibly airy and light.  Flavored with the perfect amount of grand marnier it had a nice orange flavor combined with the vanilla in the Crème anglaise, this soufflé was heavenly.  Even though both of my husband and I figured there was no way we would each finish our soufflés, we ended up having no problems finishing them at all; that’s just how good they were.

Dining out at a chain restaurant on Thanksgiving evening, you don’t really go into the restaurant expecting to be wowed, or come out being impressed.  More than anything, you just want a decent meal that will fill you up.  Well, Morton’s The Steakhouse went beyond both mine and my husband’s expectations.  We walked out of the restaurant more than satisfied with our meals.  Each part of the meal was fantastic, from the appetizer to the entrees and sides all the way through dessert.  And our service from our fantastic waiter was excellent as well as he was very attentive to our needs.  After having made our rounds through some of the more well known steakhouses, it’s taken awhile before we tried Morton’s The Steakhouse.  But, the wait was well worth it.  Our Thanksgiving evening meal at Morton’s hit the spot for us and was exactly what I was looking for.  You can be assured that we’ll be back to Morton’s again before long.

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