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Beef Stake

Pasadena's remodeled Spencers will serve Kansas City steaks.

June 05, 1997|JUAN HOVEY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

You know what steak is if you've ever eaten one in a Kansas City stockyard restaurant--the best steak in the world, and hard to find anywhere else.

But if Georgia Eisler has her way, Southern Californians will soon find Kansas City steaks on the menu of Spencers, the Pasadena restaurant she runs with her husband, Ron.

Eisler cut her restaurant teeth in a stockyard restaurant in Kansas City, which straddles the Missouri-Kansas state line, and she hopes to revise the Spencers menu to make steaks the big attraction. The restaurant has featured Continental cuisine since it opened 18 months ago.

Will she bring her steaks in from Kansas City?

"Absolutely," Eisler says with a laugh. "You don't think I'd get them anywhere else, do you?

"Just like out here," she adds, "in Kansas City and Denver and places like that, every other restaurant now makes some version of Italian food, but steaks are coming back big.

"I grew up in that kind of restaurant, and that's what I'm trying to do here."

Eisler remodeled the restaurant's patio last spring, adding big dollops of color--pinks, reds, greens, blues and yellows--to everything in sight, including the dishes. She also installed a fountain and two big swamp coolers to beat back the force of the summer sun, plus trellises for privacy.

Executive chef Domenick Medina runs the kitchen along with his son, Domenick Jr. The restaurant is at 70 S. Raymond St., Pasadena, (818) 583-8275.

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If you like a fine cigar--not to mention fine food and fine movies like "Casablanca"--another old-town Pasadena restaurant, Twin Palms, is the place for you on June 16.

On that date, executive chef Tony Zidar hosts a prix fixe dinner harking back to the great Humphrey Bogart-Ingrid Bergman movie about war, love and loyalty.

For $60, Zidar will give you "A Night in Casablanca" consisting of a four-course meal, wine, the freedom to smoke a good cigar without offending anybody, and even a piano player who knows how to play it again.

On the menu: an appetizer of minced duck in phyllo with cinnamon and cumin, a salad of curried couscous with pine nuts and dried fruit, a leg of lamb with toasted coriander, apricots and dates, and an assortment of Mediterranean pastries for dessert.

Zidar, who took over as executive chef in April, recently overhauled the menu at Twin Palms, named after the graceful palms in the restaurant's big patio.

His signature dishes: gazpacho topped with an avocado creme fraiche, a salad of warm medallions of lamb over couscous with watercress, feta cheese and a roasted-fig vinaigrette, and a veal loin chop encrusted with herbs and stuffed with spinach and wild mushrooms topped with a puree of smoked tomato and white truffles.

Entree prices range to $20, as a rule.

Twin Palms is at 101 W. Green St., Pasadena, (818) 577-2567.

Juan Hovey writes about the restaurant scene in the San Fernando Valley and outlying points. He may be reached at (805) 492-7909 or fax (805) 492-5139 or via e-mail at JHovey@compuserve.com.

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