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Old building, new Penthouse in Beverly Hills

April 11th, 2013 No Comments

Chef Josef Morphis

Mastro’s Steakhouse, an institution in Beverly Hills known for it’s butter-slathered steaks (my favorite in LA!), second floor piano lounge, and working girl bar, has decided it’s time to restore it’s youth.  Back in my college days, you would find twenty-something celebs, agents, and scensters dining there or downstairs begging for a reservation.  Such is no longer the case.  The average age of the male clientle seems to be about 60.  So one day, the boys said, let’s do something with our crowd and this third floor.

They built “The Penthouse,” a more modern fine dining experience with a small bar and spacious outdoor terrace.  The terrace is  the best part because it’s hard to find nice outdoor dining in Beverly Hills unless you go to a hotel.  Another bonus: they stay open until 1am if you’re looking for a nice late night snack.

Mastro's Penthouse

While you can get the entire Mastro’s menu there, Chef Josef Morphis (with me above) has gone to great lengths to offer you a lighter fare in his appetizer and sushi menu. Our group devoured two seafood towers of about 8 unique dishes. The tuna on some sort of Parmesan cracker you see below was awesome.  Prices are a little lower than the steakhouse, but not by much.  I’m sorry my picture sucks…

Mastro's Penthouse Sushi Tower

I guess I’ll have to go back and get a better one to replace it.  You’ll find me on the terrace, martini and hand. Feel free to join me!

(Full disclosure: Mastro’s offered a media discount in exchange for the review.)


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It’s possible to make a light steak

September 22nd, 2011 No Comments

Ladies, how long has it been since you simply broiled a steak?  After the summer grilling season, I’m sure you can’t remember. The New York strip steak above is a refreshing reminder steak doesn’t have to be heavy and overbearing.

Meet the Chef who made the lovely dish – Karl Benko, the national consulting chef for Del Frisco’s. I watched him whip it up at The Cadillac Iron Chef-esque Cookoff.

His competitor was Food Network’s “Chopped” judge Geoffry Zakarian. Do you recognize him from the show?

Honestly, I didn’t until after I left.  Admittedly I was a little embarrassed because he’s such a memorable jacka$$ on the show.  The meticulous judge prepared this super tender bahn mi.

Unfortunately it was super salty as well, and takes two days to make.

Benko’s steak, on the other hand, was delicious and easy, my favorite two adjectives when it comes to cooking.  It’s nothing inventive, but it was refreshing to eat a steak that wasn’t overwhelming.

Strip Steak with Tomato Salsa

You’ll need:

  • 8oz NY strip steak
  • cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • olive oil
  • basil, chiffonade
  • balsamic vinegar
  • salt and black pepper
  • lemon

For the steak:

  1. Set the oven to broil.
  2. Season the steak with generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Broil the steak, turning once.  For a rare steak – 3 minutes per side, med rare – 5min/side, medium – 7min/side
  4. Pull steak off and let rest.
  5. Slice steak on the bias.
  6. Spoon salsa over steak.


  1. Zest lemon into  a steel bowl.
  2. Put in cherry tomatoes and basil. Dash with olive oil, vinegar,  salt, and course black pepper.

Both Alfred (aka HtownChowDown) and I loved it!

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The Great Steak Debate: What is the best way to cook it?

July 7th, 2011 No Comments

I think 9 out of 10 men would agree grilling a steak is the best way to cook it.

Celeb Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio (of the famed Craft restaurant amongst others) is one man who disagrees. He told Esquire roasting is his preferred technique. Interesting…and helpful! If you’re like me and want nothing to do with a grill, then having a roasted steak recipe that delivers tender meat is a treasure.

Below are the two methods, the first roasted steak is from Andrew Carmellini of Locanda Verde, one of my favorite restaurants in NYC right now. The second is a video of Robert Del Grande (famed Houston chef and restauranteur) showing you the proper way to grill a steak. It seems amazingly easy after you get the fire going.

Roasted Steak

–Andrew Carmellini, Locanda Verde (NYC) via Esquire

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Place a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot.
  3. Lightly film it with oil and add the steak, generously seasoned with salt and pepper.
  4. Sear for 2 ½ to 3 minutes on each side. Lightly sear the edges using tongs to rotate the meat.
  5. Transfer steak to a baking sheet and place in oven. Cook for 8 minutes, then flip and cook for another 8 minutes for medium rare (internal temperature 115 to 125 degrees).
  6. Remove pan from oven. Let meat rest for at least 15 minutes before slathering with roasted-garlic puree.
  7. Return pan to oven to heat steak, about 3 minutes. Carve away from the bone into thick slices.

Roasted-Garlic Puree

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Slice the tops off of two heads of garlic and place each in the center of a square of aluminum foil.
  3. Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and seal the foil to make an airtight packet.
  4. Place the packets in a shallow baking dish in the oven and roast until the garlic cloves are soft, about 1 hour.
  5. When the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze out the soft cloves into a bowl. Add 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp sherry vinegar, 1 tsp honey, ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper, and ½ tsp coarse salt. Whisk to a paste.
  6. Slather on steak.

Grilled Steak

Robert Del Grande of RDG + Bar Annie and Ava (Houston)


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