30100 Town and Country Dr.
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
It was a boys night out for my friends and I, so we went to the restaurant equivalent of a, "man cave", a steak restaurant. Luckily, I had my steak expert, Matt along with me. This guy has been to almost every steak place in OC. When we heard that a new steakhouse had opened up, we were there. He even brought his brother along to sample the beef. Let's check it out.
Hunter Steakhouse has been around since 1970. That is quite a long time to be in business. They have two other location, both in San Diego county. This is their first foray into OC. They opened this Laguna Niguel location late in 2011. This location used to be an Acapulco a long time ago, but they completely gutted the restaurant, and it is unrecognizable from those old days. The ambiance was unassuming, and the dining area was dark. Let's see if the food will brighten things up here.
The first of our two appetizers was this Ahi. At Hunter's the ahi is served with Cajun spices and seasonings, and paired with a wasabi cream sauce. This meaty fish had a great flavor and presentation. I did not really get a strong wasabi flavor from the sauce, but the spices that were crusted on the outside portion of this added lots of flavor.
It was guy's night out, so of course we had to have an Appetizer Sampler. Here the sampler includes potato skins, calamari, and lump crab meat mushrooms. The best out of these three was the calamari. It was heavily breaded, but the ancho chili sauce that was drizzled over it added a little kick. The crab stuffed mushrooms were okay. It was very hard to taste any of the crab in these. The potato skins were not at all good. Very plain tasting, we have better ones at Friday's.
Entrees at Hunter Steakhouse include Soup, Caesar Salad, or the Tableside Salad Bar pictured above. I have seen this one time before at the Chart House. Our waiter Jay rotated the lazy Susan around, and added the items that we wanted onto our plate. Matt and Reno both opted for this salad. They felt the salad ingredients were fresh, but the dressings were nothing special.
I have been on a real Caesar Salad kick lately, so opted to go that route. The Caesar here featured fresh produce and a good dressing, but there was not enough dressing on this for my taste.
Whenever I go to a steak place with Matt, I can be sure of two things. One, we will have great conversation through the night, and two, he will always get a Filet Mignon. This is the Hunter Cut, which is a little bigger than their standard cut. He got his meat topped with Neil Sauce, which consisted of mushrooms, onions, bacon, and blue cheese. With all of these big flavors, it was no wonder that he felt the sauce over powered the filet. The steak he felt was not the best he has had, but was still solid. Entrees come with two sides, and he had the Onion Rings and Steamed Broccoli. According to Matt, the broccoli was average, and the onion rings were nothing special. I had the onion rings as well, and would have to concur with his opinion. Bland breading, and nothing out of the ordinary.
Hunter's Steakhouse proclaims that they have the best Prime Rib in Town. Not really a crazy stretch in Laguna Niguel, but it was solid. Both Reno and I got the Standard Cut here, which was a three quarters of a pound of meat. He had his medium well, and mine was medium rare. Both were cooked the way we requested them. Reno felt his prime rib was marbled well, without being too fatty. He thought the Baked Potato and the Seasonal Vegetables were average. My prime rib was good, but lacked the wow factor. Again, the onion rings were okay, and the mashed potatoes came out dry, not light and fluffy.
Our Waiter brought out the dessert tray, and we all chose a different one. Matt, who hates chocolate, (even though he admits this, he is still my friend), went with a slice of Carrot Cake. The cake part was moist, but lacked sweetness. There also needed to be more icing here. Matt said he would forgo this dessert next time.
The best dessert out of three was this Mocha Mud Pie. It had a very good chocolate cookie crust and not the best ice cream, but it did the trick. I am not much of a coffee person, so the mocha ice cream did not help endear me to this dessert.
My choice for dessert was this Turtle Cheesecake. It is a little out of character for me to order cheesecake for dessert. Cheesecakes are so hard to get right, and this one was just okay. It was very rich, but not memorable in any other way. They needed more caramel sauce and nuts on this to truly call it a turtle cheesecake.
After eating at Hunter Steakhouse I have come to a realization. that when it comes to steak, you get what you pay for. The steaks and prime rib were not bad here, but they will never be on par with Morton's and Ruth Chris. Of course you do not have to take out a second on your home to eat here either. The entrees are in the $20 to $30 range, and include soup or salad and two sides. The high end steakhouses make you order everything ala carte, and at Hunter's you get a full meal for less than the price of a single steak there. The side items here need some help. All of them were pretty pedestrian. The ahi, salads, and prime rib were the highlights of the night for me. I would sum up Hunter Steakhouse as better than Black Angus, and on par, or slightly better than Lone Star Steakhouse. Our waiter Jay was very personable, kept things moving and gave us great service. Unlike Lone Star Steakhouse, he did not have to dance every forty five minutes. I am sure he appreciates that.
Out of five hockey pucks, (because Hunter Steakhouse was established in 1970, the same year as Anaheim Ducks star, Teemu Selanne was born), five being best to zero being worst, Hunter Steakhouse gets 2.5 hockey pucks.
For more information on Hunter Steakhouse, click here: http://huntersteakhouse.com/home.html