By Charly SHELTON
Michael Mina is a well-known chef whose concepts for restaurants and recipes are renowned for their flair and elegance. Now a Michael Mina restaurant has opened in Glendale for patrons’ dining pleasure: Bourbon Steak.
I was invited to the restaurant, located on the back side of the Americana in Glendale, not long after its opening to enjoy the gourmet food, hand-crafted cocktails and the luxurious dining experience of Bourbon Steak. I brought my girlfriend Sabrina to take part in this dining adventure.
We were greeted by the friendly staff who explained the concept behind the restaurant – the golden age of air travel. Stacks of bundled postcards lined the shelves along the walls, travel bag straps were woven into a unique display in the dining room and images of clouds, photographed from above, floated above us as we settled into the plush booth in the intimately lit restaurant. Sabrina was wearing a dark dress and I had a black suit coat; the hostess asked if we would like black napkins rather than the white ones laid out on the table. This is the level of service and propriety of the staff reflecting their attention to detail.
Our server, Richard, was incredibly knowledgeable about everything on the menu, not only what was in the dish, but why each ingredient worked well with the other. It was as much a learning experience as a dining experience.
We ordered our appetizer, Octopus a la Plancha, at Richard’s recommendation. Before the appetizer arrived, the chef started sending out dishes, compliments of the house. One, a potato truffle soup, was both creamy and earthy with just a slight tang. Truffle has that certain flavor that is so hard to describe, yet is immediately recognized by the palate as incredibly rich and savory.
Next was a flight of duck fat French fries with accompanied dipping sauces. These included pastrami seasoned fries with a deep, molasses style barbecue sauce and fine herb seasoned fries with pickled ketchup.
Then the black truffle rolls, a delicate puff pastry served warm and lightly infused with truffles throughout. These were all offered courtesy of the house, and our table was not just the fortunate one; almost every table received something to try.
Richard came back to take our drink and entree order. Sabrina got the Michael Mina signature dish, the lobster pot pie, and I ordered a Kansas City strip cut 16 oz. Australian Wagyu beef steak. Just ordering it made me salivate with anticipation.
The octopus arrived and, despite Sabrina being a bit squeamish about eating a tentacle, it was incredible. Seedless grapes intermingled with olives and almonds, spooned over a bed of fingerling potatoes crisp on the outside and so soft inside. The tentacle itself was tender – no easy feat with naturally chewy octopus – and the little suckers were crispy, giving it just enough crunch while still having moist meat inside.
Our drinks were served quickly after ordering. Being a bourbon steakhouse, we both opted for bourbon. Sabrina had a Yellow Rose Four with a whiskey globe, which melts more slowly to chill the whiskey without diluting it too quickly. I ordered the one thing I was looking most forward to: the whiskey flight, smoked tableside. The subtlety of the smoke combined with the delicate notes in the whiskey will change the way you think about the flavor of any whiskey you drink in the future.
After much anticipation, our entrees arrive. Sabrina’s lobster pot pie was brought out in the saucepan, covered in a flaky crust and plated tableside. An entire two-pound lobster was inside, swimming in a sea of vegetables and a brandied lobster cream sauce. It was reassembled into a lobster shape on her plate as we watched.
My steak came out, and it was like looking into the face of the divine. Being a fan of both steak and bourbon, this was the perfect meal. Cooked to perfection and grilled nicely outside without a hint of char, this was the best steak I have ever had in my life. After the fries and octopus and rolls and soup and whiskey and huge steak, I couldn’t possibly finish all 16 ounces. Plus I had to save room for dessert.
An adult root beer float, with sassafras ice cream, root beer sorbet and pecan and chocolate cookies served warm, ended my dinner while Sabrina finished with a bourbon caramel cream pie.
We waddled out of the restaurant stuffed. I was more satisfied with the meal than I have been in years. Although it is pricey (the bill for this was more than $200) and something we cannot afford as a regular outing, Sabrina and I agreed that Bourbon Steak will be our anniversary dinner restaurant for the foreseeable future.
The level of luxury in both service and food are unrivaled by any restaurant I have been to in the Glendale area and, in my opinion, are high in the running for best in the L.A. area.
Even if it is only once a year, visit Bourbon Steak and enjoy this unique dining experience. I look forward to December, when we will return to this restaurant on our anniversary, hungry for more.