One can generally assume a restaurant that calls itself Steak & Whisky puts out fine examples of steak, particularly if chef/partner Tin Vuong (Little Sister, Dia de Campo) is behind it. When you add John Shaw, the Hermosa Beach restaurant’s executive chef, who came from the legendary Tavern on the Green in New York (a great place to learn a thing or two about American classics), to the equation, you can be further assured that the classic steakhouse offerings will be legit.
All of Steak & Whisky’s steaks are dry aged in a temperature and humidity-controlled room from 21 to 120 days, depending on the cut. Most of the steaks hang out for 30 days, breaking down collagen to get tender and building concentrated flavors. Shaw describes the end product as “a mix of buttered popcorn, caramel, barley, and rare roast beef.” A medium-rare comes out still sizzling with a crispy sear while perfectly pink on the inside.
However, as expertly prepared as it is, grilled meat is merely one part of the story at Steak & Whisky. There are also many other standout items that round out the menu and a satisfying meal at this steakhouse. Here are some dishes you probably won’t want to miss.
Steak Tartare: Yes, it’s still steak, but it’s not grilled and it’s a must—Shaw’s Steak Tartare is a work of art. Fennel lavash crackers neatly fall in line with mixed greens, leading to a skillfully composed ring of coarsely chopped prime tenderloin and dry-aged tenderloin that is mixed with smoked cucumber, shallot, chive, and red curry vinaigrette. It’s then topped with rendered beef trim “crispy beef” and, over that, a coddled egg.
Charcuterie: Changing often during the week, the charcuterie board displays an irresistible array of classic meat preparations like guanciale, duck ham, pate de campagne, and a smooth foie gras torchon—all house made. You never know what you’re going to get, but it’s a safe bet it’ll be delicious.
French Onion Soup: This soup follows a very old recipe that incorporates five different types of onions, which are cooked down for about four hours before the other ingredients are added. Once the soup is seasoned and ready for service, a braised oxtail rilliette, tossed bread, and a very rich Danish gruyere seal the deal.
Ham Hock Ravioli: This outstanding dish features a filling of braised smoked ham hock (which seems to be popping up around town), sautéed escarole, caramelized onion, chopped sage, and lots of butter enveloped by freshly made pasta. Plated with a salt cod-potato fritter, creamed leek puree, and puffy chicharron, this one is loaded with playful textures and flavors.
Crab Cake: You won’t find a crumb of bread in Steak & Whisky’s crab cake because it’s all about the crab. Only ingredients like lemon juice, lemon zest, chopped chive, olive oil, and scallop mousse are used to bind the meat together. After lightly breading, it’s seared in clarified butter and served with a spiced tomato jam, deep fried butter beans, and salad.
Undoubtedly, steak is king at Steak & Whisky, but be sure to make room for other menu royalty that don’t involve a sizzlin’ sirloin. All hail.
Steak & Whisky, 117 Pier Ave., Hermosa Beach, 310-318-5555