555 East: Come For The Steak, Stay For The Lamb.
2010-11-03 · By Chandra Clewley
This economy has really put a damper on date night according to so many couples I speak with now days. While Long Beach’s unemployment rate is staggering, the reality is this is more than just city wide, this is country wide. I would even go so far as to say, worldwide.
My husband and I were staring at each other on yet another “night in” wondering what we should eat. We have been attempting to budget a bit better, but we still feel the need to get out occasionally, and when I mentioned that I could go for a nice big steak, no special occasion required, just live a little and splurge, we both perked up at the thought.
I had heard that 555 East was a great place to get steak, and we were looking for a “pick me up” so we called over and made a reservation. It was an off night, but we were told we still needed the reservation and when we showed up at 7:30 p.m. we understood. The place was packed. What recession? The patronage was mostly business, your typical Polo shirt and Dockers crowd, and I figured it was probably the shipping, port, and refinery squad that work in the fluorescent lit offices overhead.
We were seated at a back corner, which was actually nice for privacy, albeit we were next to a group of about eight of these businessmen who were getting a little more robust and vivacious as the wine flowed forth on their jovial table.
Our waitress was lovely and clean, which is always a nice thing, being that good hygiene is always positively noted in a fine dining establishment. The restaurant itself is of nice décor, with a more intimate patio area, a main dining room that is reminiscent of a turn of the century establishment, with black and white flooring, brass hardware, and a wait staff to match. The room we were in was off the main dining room, and certainly a bit more refined with nicer lighting. I am always a sucker for white table clothes and shiny wine glasses, and 555 East did not let me down. I noticed a room right off of ours that was reserved for private parties and held a large wine cellar that was floor to ceiling and filled. Still battling pregnancy, I made a mental note to come back just to try some of their wine.
The wine menu itself was not terribly cumbersome, which I found nice. So many fine restaurants these days offer tomes with over 5000 wines, and can be intimidating and phone book heavy for the layman. The menu was as expected with various steak, chicken and seafood choices that are served ala cart and then side dishes to go with, such as macaroni and cheese, creamed spinach and mashed potatoes.
We were served a bread basket of delicious sourdough with butter and pondered what we were going to splurge on. In the end, we ordered the Filet Mignon and the Rack of Lamb, upon our server’s recommendation. The Filet was tender and perfect, but not as perfect as the lamb which was delicate, savory and juicy. The only surprise was the mint jelly, which was exactly that, and lacked any flair that one would hope an Executive Chef could infuse into it. Perhaps the classic jelly was in accordance with the design aesthetics of the restaurant, but one would hope for a tad bit more originality on the accoutrements when the lamb was cooked so impeccably. For dessert we ordered the Meyer Lemon Tart which, while good, was perhaps an error of judgment after debating between the Apple Tart which perhaps might have been a bit more home style. The Lemon Tart was exactly what it was supposed to be, a lemon tart.
On our way out several people including the manager said goodbye to us, and that was a nice touch. All in all, we loved the combined ambience, good cooking and awesome service. We will definitely return to this Long Beach staple steakhouse.
555 East is located at 555 East Ocean Blvd. Long Beach (562)437-0626 for reservations, which we strongly recommend making. For more information visit: http://www.555east.com