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Restaurant Review:

Lawry’s provides cheap red-meat fix

October 29, 2008|By John Reger

About twice a year I get a craving for steak, and I usually reserve those times for an authentic steakhouse.

My friend Mark, though, gets a craving for red meat about every two days. I knew he would accompany me for some steak.

When I get these urges I usually bite the bullet and go to a high-end steakhouse and pay $25 to $30 for prime rib or filet mignon and then bemoan the fact that if I want some vegetables I am going to have pay $5 to $9 for the side order.

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This time I tried a new approach. I lowered my expectations of both quality and price and went to Lawry’s Carvery in South Coast Plaza.

My first visit here was for a lunch while shopping for a birthday present for a friend a few months ago. They serve a wickedly delicious Prime Rib Bleu sandwich, which comes on ciabatta bread and features meat cooked to order with blue cheese dressing and arugula. Crispy onions are served on the side.

The prime rib was very tender, and for this dinner visit I chose the prime rib platter.

It is one of four platter meals the restaurant serves. Rotisserie turkey, barbecue beef brisket and roast beef au jus are the other three.

The prime rib platter came in three sizes, 6 ounce ($15.99), 9 ounce ($20.99) and 12 ounce ($25.99). I selected the 6 ounce and it was more than enough. The meat was cooked medium rare like I had asked and had minimal gristle. I was disappointed with the au jus and creamy horseradish. There wasn’t enough of the au jus, and the horseradish wasn’t tangy enough.

The meal comes with coleslaw and a choice of one of five side dishes. You can also substitute the coleslaw for something else for an additional $1.50, which was what I did. I wanted creamed corn and macaroni and cheese. The corn was much better. It was light and not too doused in cream and was quite good. The macaroni was thick and almost chalky.

I would have been better off with the vegetables they offer. The asparagus with lemon basil aioli was cooked al dente and very flavorful. The steamed and buttered broccoli was also cooked slightly crisp.

Mark got the barbecued beef brisket platter and was quite pleased with it. The entrée was a healthy portion of tender beef with just enough sauce. The crispy onions served on the side are a nice touch.

Lunch, though, might be the better choice for this restaurant. The salads and sandwiches are more reasonably priced and there was a large selection of both.

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