Big and Bold: Bob’s Steak & Chop House
Posted on Nov. 1, 2016
Some restaurants exist solely as monuments to their founder’s preferences. Some spots convey personal peeves via idiosyncratic rules: automatic tipping, no ketchup, no clear spirits, and the cutting-off of ties. However, in the best cases, they’re the things a restaurant owner truly loves that make it succeed and help patrons feel that same love. That is the case with Bob’s Steak & Chop House, a new addition to Carlsbad’s Omni La Costa Resort & Spa.
This location is the 15th link in a 13-year-old chain tethered to its Dallas flagship. It follows a defiantly Texan love for the big and bold. Bob’s, in its own words, is all about big portions and stiff drinks. This is not particularly unique for a steakhouse concept; they are the basic tenets the model is based on. What’s different here is a lack of pretension delivered with as much gusto as thick cuts of beef and long pours of bourbon and rye.
A warm loaf of bread arrives gratis upon sitting down at the table, accompanied by the rarest of rarities: a utilitarian centerpiece. Instead of a fancy vase of flowers or perfumed candles, each table is equipped with a glass jar filled with pickled cucumbers and red bell peppers. The chain’s founder believed every meal should be kicked-off with something pickled, so these more-salty-than-sour, still-firm veggies are a constant. Other venue-specific touches come at a cost but by and large prove worth it.
Cocktails and wine pours generally come in 10 to 20 percent larger than most restaurants. Salads, including a classic wedge with lusciously thick and nicely acidic blue-cheese dressing and a dusting of crisped, finely chopped bacon, are so gargantuan, half-orders are allowed. Instead of a bland steamed-vegetable medley, entrées come paired with a single, giant, glistening, honey-glazed carrot. The onion rings, with their thick, crunchy, nicely salted exteriors, are served in a towering stack so high, they’re enough to make a meal on their own.
Bob’s house was built on serving plump, well-seared, heavily salt-and-peppered, 9-, 12-, and 16-ounce beef filets. Those craving large, well-marbled cuts would be advised to get the 28-ounce porterhouse. A highlight of the menu, one relegated to obscurity by most West Coasters’ unfamiliarity with its name, is the “Kansas City strip,” a bone-in New York-style steak. All of Bob’s cuts are “prime” and sourced from the Chicago stockyards. Best of all, they come in at slightly smaller price tags than many of San Diego County’s other popular steak houses.
The lobster tails served here are large enough to look as though they were severed from the tail end of a kraken. Oxymoronic jumbo shrimp and other quality seafood are available for those wanting a beef break. Classic rich sides include creamed corn, creamed spinach, and mushrooms bathed in a mixture of brandy and clarified butter. Nothing is prissy. This is classic chophouse fare that looks just like you’d expect it — only larger. Desserts are simple and direct. Chocolate cake with fudge frosting and the carrot cake with whipped cream-cheese icing remain true to their name with delicious simplicity. A warm brownie topped with mountainous scoops of peanut butter cup ice cream and covered in pecan chocolate butter nut sauce takes the cake for “most decadent.”
Arrive with a big appetite and be open to carrying a large doggy bag to your car, and you will be ready for this straightforward center of simple pleasures. 760.929.6346, bobs-steakandchop.com/carlsbad Brandon Hernández