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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Morton’s The Steakhouse - Woodland Hills - Mediocre at Best

A couple of weeks ago Ashley and I visited Arnie Morton’s Steakhouse in Woodland Hills, California for our wedding anniversary. This particular Morton’s location is relatively new and we welcomed a location that was much closer to us than the Beverly Hills location. I made our reservations a few weeks in advance and was excited to try it out – expecting great things.

Arnie Morton's The Steakhouse, Woodland Hills, CA
Arriving at the Warner Center / Woodland Hills location both parking and valet are available. However, the entrance is through a little tunnel that is tough to spot if you have not been to this Morton’s Steakhouse location before. We wandered in a few minutes early and was greeted by the hostess at the front desk.

After a quaint greeting is when things went downhill quickly. We proceeded to wait the next 20 minutes or watched a few things transpire that should never happen at a restaurant, let alone any high-end steakhouse like Morton’s.

First, the hostess decided to go talk to a patron at the bar for about fifteen minutes leaving the front desk completely unattended. Numerous couples and parties came in only to crowd around without being greeted or checking into the restaurant. For some reason this hostess was either oblivious or did not care about the customers that were coming into the restaurant.

Even worse, several managers, what appeared to be the general manager and other staff came to the front to either check the computer, grab menus or answer the phone but did not help any of the customers. As you can imagine, the conversations we had with out frustrated patrons. It even got to the point where we were giving directions to a couple of customers looking for the patio or other areas – we also considered walking out.

But we did not. Finally, after about 15 minutes, the hostess returned to the front desk at Morton’s and we were seated a couple minutes later. From there, with the customized menu for our event, the night really picked up – but remained tarnished from the front desk and bar experience we just had.

The atmosphere is very similar to other Morton Steakhouses, albeit a little more modern in décor and a little brighter lighting wise. Our server was excellent and we really enjoy the visual menu presentation accompanied by the live lobster – ours was quite active. We made our selections, enjoying a variety of filet mignon, rib eye, green beans, and garlic mashed potatoes. We even selected the raspberry soufflé, which takes 30 minutes to prepare – and is always excellent.

Overall, the food was excellent, our steaks were prepared as expected, and our table service was good. Still, I have to give this Arnie Morton’s location mediocre rating in my book. When you go to a nice steakhouse like Morton’s, you expect that the service end-to-end is of high quality – and when you experience what we did in the first 20 minutes, it really takes away from that experience.

Our advice? If you are looking for a high-end steakhouse to enjoy a great evening out, we would recommend several others far above Morton’s in the Woodland Hills Warner Center area. For instance, our favorite by far is Mastro’s in Thousand Oaks, followed by Ruth’s Chris in Woodland Hills. With Flemmings now being located in that same area, we will be sure to try that before even considering a return to Morton’s.