I don't know about you but I'm ready for a big, juicy steak I can dig my teeth into after years of nouvelle cuisine baby food.
And I'm not talking about melt-in-your-mouth hybrids that cost $12 a bite. I'm talking about unpretentious steaks you find at places like Edwards Steak House on Alvarado and 7th near downtown Los Angeles.
I'd go back anytime. For the steaks, the steak fries or even for the homemade apple butter sitting on the table along with the catsup, steak sauce and Worcestershire sauce. It reminded me of the apple butter I had lost touch with since summer camp days when I was 9.
Edwards has been around since 1946, first as a steak counter then as a full-fledged restaurant and bar. And I can't figure out how I've missed it all these years. Was it red meat blackout?
Good Dollar Value
Anyway, it's the dollar-for-dollar value that will bring me back. The most expensive steak, a 12-ounce New York cut steak named John L. Sullivan, is $10.85. There is also a 9 1/2-ounce version for $9.60 and a 6 1/2-ounce New York cut for $8.25. There are Choice grade sirloin cuts ranging from 12-ounces to 6 1/2-ounces that are even less costly. Roast beef and one of the leanest and tastiest ground beef steaks I've tried also are offered in varying sizes and prices ($6.15 to $7.50). A light eaters 6 1/2-ounce steak platter that comes only with fries is just $6.50.
All items on the dinner, however, come with a soup of the day or clam chowder (good but not exciting), an excellent and ample salad with an old-fashioned Russian-type French dressing that should be forced out of retirement now that good, old American cooking is in revival, steak fries or baked potato served with butter, sour cream dressing or mushroom sauce, a wedge of cheese or cottage cheese.
The salad, I must say, was the crispiest, freshest, simple, old-time green salad I've enjoyed in a long time. There is also a choice of blue cheese or herb-oil-vinegar dressing, which I found just OK. The fries, however, are terrific.
Ah, yes, there is liver and onions (1/2 pound thick cut) that comes topped with a mountain of smothered onions for $6.60, and salads and sandwiches that should satisfy those eaters.
Special Fish Menu
For fish lovers there is a special menu of broiled fish entrees offering channel catfish from Louisiana, orange roughy from New Zealand and Pacific halibut at decent prices.
Another unexpected surprise--a wine list offering Sutter Homes white Zinfindel, Petrocelli Chenin Blanc, Robert Pepi Vineyard's Fume Blanc and Parducci Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Varietals are offered by the glass, as well. A glass of French Beaujolais comes at no charge with ground beef steak entrees.
So much for the food, which is, I must say enough reason to go. However, the place has charm, too, with its turn-of-the century brocade embossed wallpaper, dark-panelled booths, Tiffany lamps, sawdust on the floor, waitresses in the-upstairs-maid costumes, portraits of everyone from Teddy Roosevelt to Charlotte Bronte on the walls.
There is one serious criticism: no apple pie a la mode, no tapioca, no bread pudding. In fact, Edwards doesn't offer any desserts except ice cream, which doesn't count. How about it, Edwards?
Edwards Steak House, at two locations: 733 S. Alvarado St., Los Angeles, (213) 385-0051, and 9600 Flair Drive, El Monte, (213) 442-2400. Open daily 11:15 a.m. to 10:15 p.m.; Saturday 3 p.m. until midnight; Sunday 3 until 10:15 p.m. Parking lot with attendant on premises in each location. MasterCard and Visa credit cards accepted.