Sunday, June 17, 2007

June 14: Saddle Ranch Chop House at Universal Citywalk

After enjoying our fun day at Universal Studios, we decided to meet up with some friends at Citywalk for dinner. It had been a while since I had been to Citywalk and I had remembered it being a fun place for dinner, with some stores to look at and overall have a nice dinner/night.
Once I began perusing the menus of the different restaurants in Citywalk, I soon realized that I may have made the wrong choice. Chain restaurants...chain stores closing at 9pm... what was I thinking???
But my friends were driving down from Santa Barbara and someplace off the 101 to hang out was a reasonable choice, I suppose. Of course after hearing about all the traffic they had to get through to GET to Citywalk, I felt quite bad...

So after looking through most of the restaurants' menus, we decided that we would go eat at the Saddle Ranch Chop House - none of us had been there before and it had a nice patio dining area and why not watch people fall off the mechanical horse?

The original Saddle Ranch Chop House is at located on Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles

Fun decor... wagons on top of the roof with fake cowboys!

The patio area was quite nice on this beautiful So Cal night

So we went inside and asked for a patio seat and got a nice seat right by the lamp heater and with the perfect view of the bar, the mechanical bull and the overall area. We looked through the menu and were instantly intrigued by the list of appetizers! They have your average appetizers as well as.... a kettle of steak chili! So we ordered the steak chili and we each ordered an entree.

The first thing that came out was a basket of buttermilk biscuits and cornbread muffins with a side of honey. Yum.. I love cornbread muffins with honey!

Our basket of buttermilk biscuits and cornbread muffins

Then as we were waiting for our kettle of chili to arrive, we saw another group of people at table near us getting their chili. Their kettle was about 5 inches in diameters, served with a side of some onions, cheese and sour cream. We watched the waiters give the guy his chili and started to get worried... what if our kettle of chili is that? Maybe its not as exciting as we want it to be???
So, we flagged down our waitress and asked her if that was the size of our kettle... She smiled and reassured us that our kettle was MUCH larger and would be about 10 inches in diameter and about 3 inches deep! Ahhh... that made us very happy =)
A few minutes later, our waitress brought out our chili and she was not lying when she said that our kettle would be huge! Served with a side of cheese, onions and sour cream, it was also topped with some tortilla chips. It was filled with beans, steak and ground beef as well and was delicious! My friends said that they were hoping for some more heat, but since I don't like things too spicy, I was totally fine with the very mild chili.

Here's our kettle of chili!

Our kettle of chili - the tortilla chips were the perfect
accompaniment to the thick, rich chili

After feeling very satisfied with our steak chili, we waited for a few minutes until our entrees came. Most of us were pretty full by that point already but we were enjoying the beautiful night and the occasional bull rider!

Tri-tip sandwich with fries

Steak and eggs with sausage and potatoes

The Cowboy Cut - Prime Rib with garlic mashed potatoes

Our entrees were good - nothing to RAVE about but nothing too bad. My tri tip sandwich was a little bit dry but my friends' prime rib was HUGE and was served with what looked like a whole broccoli =) and some garlic mashed potatoes. My friends were only able to finish about half their food and then our waitress was back to ask us about dessert.

We had all agreed before the start of our meal that we were going to be having some dessert. Interestingly enough, the dessert menu was what made me want to try this restaurant. They have a "create your own smores platter" on their dessert menu! The menu said that we would be roasting our own marshmallows in their outdoor fire pits and it was quite an exciting prospect. But then when we looked over the dessert menu, we saw that they also have a "deep dish cookie." The waitress said that the cookie was PHENOMENAL and way better than the smores so we decided to trust our waitress and order the cookie.

Here's the cookie!

The warm cookie was served in a small cast iron skillet with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and whipped cream on top. It was the perfect way to end dinner! It was warm and gooey and sweet and just perfect.

Overall, Citywalk is not the place for gourmet food. The prices on the menus reflect their location in Citywalk - its a high-tourist area, you can't really help it. But Saddle Ranch was fun... they were a little short-staffed it seemed (our waitress was serving about 3-4 tables outside on the patio as well as some tables inside). It was fun watching people fall off the mechanical bull and we were able to enjoy the beautiful night... its not somewhere I would go back to, if I could help it but it served its purpose for the night.

Saddle Ranch Chop House
Universal CityWalk
1000 Universal Studios Blvd.
Universal City, California 91608

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