La Cienega Boulevard in Beverly Hills is quite the restaurant row, boasting such high-profile restaurants as, among others, Lawry's The Prime Rib, Matsuhisa and (to a lesser degree) The Stinking Rose. But there are other restaurants in the area which might not be quite as common but are certainly worth the visit.
I'd heard about Ted's of Beverly Hills Steakhouse from a number of people who raved about the food. Now, I've got several places where I can go for good steak and good prime rib, so I wasn't exactly needing a good steakhouse, but even though I'd heard the occasional odd comment about this place, the praise really piqued my interest, so the husband and I decided to try it out on a Saturday night.
Like most other restaurants on busy La Cienega Boulevard, there's no parking lot, and your only option is to valet your car. I am decidedly not a fan of valet parking, but there was no parking lot nearby, so we really didn't have a choice. I had heard comments that the valet parking people can be a bit snobby about what cars they take, which seemed odd to me. As we pulled up, I did notice that all of the cars parked out front were all fairly expensive cars. The husband generally drives when we go out to dinner, so the valet folk seemed ok with taking his nice truck, which we had made a point of getting washed earlier that day. While we were being helped, I did see other people drive up in more moderate cars who ended up getting into discussions with the valet people who didn't seem keen on taking their cars. I decided not to stick around to hear the rest of those conversations.
The decor of the restaurant is very nice, a combination of old-fashioned wood paneling and modern fixtures. We were seated at a booth at the far end of the restaurant and then given menus to peruse.
Ted's is a steakhouse in the true sense of the word. Most steakhouses offer other items like chicken or seafood, but the only thing on Ted's menu is different kinds of steak. You pretty much just pick the cut and size you want. Each steak entree comes with the daily steamed vegetable as well as their famous baked potato, as well as unlimited visits to their salad bar. I've had baked potatoes in a lot of places before, but I never knew that the custom of wrapping the potato in aluminum foil before baking it was invented at Ted's. There was a whole story on the menu about how Ted Bell, who owns the restaurant, came up with the idea, and it's a pretty funny story. I don't want to spoil the surprise, so you'll have to make a trip to the restaurant yourself to read the story in person. It was a little weird though, because I noticed that on the menu, it's referred to as The Baked Potatoe with a little trademark symbol next to it and a little note that they seriously defend their copyright. I didn't get a chance to ask about that because the server came to take our order, and I got distracted and didn't remember that until after we'd left. I wonder what that was all about.
The husband and I both ordered our cuts of meat, and then we made our way to the salad bar. They had a nice selection there, though the salad plates were pretty small, which was kind of weird, considering it was a salad bar. The plates themselves probably weren't much bigger than a normal side-salad plate that you'd get in any other restaurant. It was maybe slightly bigger than a normal bread plate. While I was filling my plate as best I could, I did notice the occasional bell sound. I looked around to see what it might be, but I couldn't see anything that would explain it.
The husband and I each enjoyed our salads. Since it was an unlimited salad bar that came with the price of the meal, and since the plate was so small, I thought about going back for a second helping, but I figured the steak I ordered would be pretty filling, so I decided against going back after all.
After we were done with our salad, our entrees were brought to us. The meat was definitely as amazing as had been advertised. As I mentioned, there are a number of places I can go to for good steak, but their steak was just really tender and delicious. When we had ordered, the server had said that they only serve their steaks cooked medium rare because to cook it any more than that would ruin it, and Ted refused to have his steaks ruined. I thought it was a pretty weird rule (I know people who prefer their steaks cooked more than that), but it didn't bother me because that's how I normally order my steaks cooked anyway.
And as delicious as the steak was, the baked potato was just as amazing. I don't know what secret they had in cooking it, but while others might imitate the aluminum foil wrap, no one else can duplicate the taste of their potatoes.
When I had ordered, I had thought about having a drink to go with dinner. I had noticed that they had a special drink invented by Ted himself which he called The Ted, which contained rum and Coke. That sounded interesting, so I asked the server about it. He said it was very popular but was otherwise non-committal, so I decided to try it. It was quite tasty, but I did notice that it didn't seem particularly alcoholic. I was surprised during dinner to overhear a group of women at a nearby table, obviously out for a bachelorette party dinner and who had each ordered The Ted, say how strong they thought the drink was. I think over the course of dinner, they each had two or three drinks each. I'm usually a lightweight and so notice even when there's a little alcohol in something, so it was weird that mine didn't taste that strong.
As I had thought, dinner was quite filling, so both the husband and I skipped dessert.
Ted Bell himself was there that night, making the rounds of the tables, though he never actually made it to ours, which disappointed me. I really wanted to meet him. However, he does have a blog that he occasionally posts to.
Overall, I enjoyed our dinner, though the prices are a bit on the high end, even for really good steak. Service was adequate. Oh, one thing I did want to mention. That bell sound that I'd heard while at the salad bar was something that I heard periodically all throughout dinner, and when our server came to bring us our bill, I couldn't contain myself anymore, so I asked him what it was. He said that there was someone in charge of watching the salad bar, and if someone came back to the salad bar too many times or piled too much on their plate, especially if the person was particularly heavy, the person would ring the bell, which was actually a cowbell. He said that the tone of the bell subliminally signaled to the appropriate person that they really didn't need any more food from the salad bar. I thought that was a little weird, but I didn't say anything to the server. But I'm glad I didn't make that second trip to the salad bar.
Ted's of Beverly Hills Steakhouse
We wanna put our meat in your mouth.
78 N. La Cienega Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90211