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555 East Restaurant
555 East Ocean Boulevard
Long Beach, CA 90802
Date of Visit: 24 January 2003
It has been in downtown Long Beach forever -- or at least it seems like it. With its entrance tucked away around the corner on Linden Avenue, 555 East sits amid an office building and copy store. Valet parking is available at the Linden Avenue entrance for $3.50.
We were early for our 7:00 reservation but they seated us quickly. The interior is like an old house with many different dining rooms, large and small. Service was efficient, but not overly warm and friendly. A word of caution if checking their web site: the prices on the web site have not been updated. Prices are higher at the restaurant.
Featuring USDA Prime steaks, their menu offers tempting entrees such as 24-ounce Porterhouse, 18-ounce bone-in Kansas City Strip, a 12-ounce baseball cut Culotte, and a 35-day aged 8-ounch Top Sirloin to name just a few. Not in the mood for dead cow (and we know who you are!)? Try their live Maine lobster, grilled chicken, grilled salmon and swordfish, or oven-roasted Prime Colorado lamb.
For starters, the ChiefMeatInspector ordered the Hearts of Romaine salad with Maytag Blue cheese ($6.95), while the ChiefCowEater opted for a more nautical beginning with the Oyster Half-Dozen Sampler ($9.95). Not straying far from his norm, the ChiefMeatInspector ordered the Porterhouse ($32.95) with a side of garlic spinach ($4.95). The ChiefCowEater decided on the Kansas City Strip ($29.95). Unlike places like Morton's and Ruth's Chris', all 555 East entrees include your choice of potato: garlic mashed, baked, or French fried. We both went for the baked.
The wine list is reasonably extensive. With prices to match. Once again, this happens to be one of the NoCowTipping Points of the Dead Cow Society. We have no influence, clout, or power, but we will always rant and rave against what we feel are excessively high wine prices. Because their wine prices were so high, we decided to stay within "budget" (whatever that is!) and only ordered one bottle of wine: the 2000 Frog's Leap Merlot ($55.00). Their wine list showed the 1999 Frog's Leap, but when the waiter brought the wine I noted that it was the 2000. When I brought this to his attention, he said "Is that a problem?" Dumb question for any waiter to ask. He should have mentioned it to me, not the other way around. This is an automatic reduction of One Dead Cow...and his tip, too. Wine Price Note: Frog's Leap winery lists that 2000 Merlot for sale at $30.00; Hi-Time Cellars in Costa Mesa sells it for $27.99; Wine Xchange in Orange has the 1999 for $25.99.
555 East is worth a visit, but there was something missing and we're not sure what it was. The food was good and well-prepared. Service was adequate, but nothing to write home about. In short: no show-stoppers. But there was no "Gee Wiz" factor; nothing to MAKE me want to rush back. In fairness, we'll return for another visit, but probably not real soon.
ALL RATINGS FOR 555 EAST RESTAURANT