You have come to APL for steak. Not just any steak, but a prime slab of Midwestern steer, aged in the restaurant’s subterranean meat locker for months until it develops a distinctive mineral tang that sends your salivary glands into overdrive. The chef behind the vintage-look steak house, which sprawls across the first floor of the historic Taft Building at Hollywood and Vine, is NYC native Adam Perry Lang, a meat guru best known locally for hosting elaborate barbecue pop-ups with Jimmy Kimmel.
Bolstering his dishes with techniques picked up during years working under French masters like Daniel Boulud, the veteran grillardin delves deep into the traditional playbook to create a menu that harks back to an era of three-martini meals and robust expense accounts. There’s a wedge of iceberg buried under Danish blue cheese and crumbled bacon, French onion soup sealed under molten Gruyère, and delicate steamed asparagus served with a saucière of pastel hollandaise.
Time travel, however, doesn’t come cheap. Bread and butter here is $10. The shrimp cocktail is $28. Two thick strips of house-cured bacon go for $18. They’re all so good, you may not even mind. It’s harder to forgive the Caesar smothered in too much dressing, or malt vinegar fries that taste too far removed from the fryer. Still, the place knows how to cook a cut of beef. Lang slices his rib eyes, T-bones, and New York strips an inch or so thick and broils them in a high-powered infrared oven, yielding an evenly bronzed crust. It is a marvelous piece of meat, though at nearly $80 a pop, you can imagine certain red-blooded diners balking at an unembellished steak that isn’t novel-thick.
Steak houses, or at least the way we perceive them, are about signifiers: crisp service, waiters in neckties, ritual and pomp to soften the blow of the check. APL cheerily forgoes most of that formality while preserving the prices. If you dig the wall of hand-forged knives, the wine-spiked whiskey sours, and the punchy Stevie Wonder soundtrack, it’s not a bad trade. The barometer for any such place, after all, is the steak, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anything superior to the fat-marbled beauties emerging from Lang’s broiler.
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