Saturday, May 14, 2016
I profile entrepreneurs across America. Some are knee deep in their first serious business venture. Others are future entrepreneurs and I see greatness in that future. Let's call him Jackson at Greystone The Steakhouse in San Diego. Mid 20's, polished with apprenticeship in chic hotels on Martha's Vineyard. Jackson treated my daughter and I to an evening of elegant dining which reminded me of earlier dining experiences I have had in the past 35 years of eating at the best places in America. It was July 1982 and my brand new tan Cadillac de ville was pointed to California or bust. I was on my own entrepreneurial journey. First stop was dining at great American steakhouses. We began with Bern's in Tampa, Florida. Hodges became our private maître di and set the bar for an evening of unparalleled service. Remington's in San Diego had reminded me of Hodges in future years but fact is I was jaded more by steak flavor than the quality of service. Although I could smell a rat in the kitchen and would not recommend a place where the customer was not treated like a king. An exception might have been the Palm on Santa Monica Blvd in West Los Angeles with its iconic sawdust on the floor, no menus and waiters who glowered at you if you asked a single question. After all, this was the Palm. It might have worked in LA and I went back often since in those days a great steakhouse coming to San Diego would have been as likely as landing a man on the moon. OK, I recall we did that. The point is that the Palm didn't decide to come to San Diego until the city built Petco for the Padres in 2004 and I guess that San Diegans weren't impressed. After a few up and down years, it closed and we have never heard of the Palm again. Fact is that most restaurants don't blow you away with their service like Bern's Steakhouse did 35 years ago and still does today 35 years later! I had heard Greystone was the kind of restaurant that prided itself on service. I heard correctly. Misha met us at the door and management couldn't have found a better hostess. Misha handed us off to Sarah and Jackson. It was from Jackson that we learned that Greystone was not positioning itself to only be the greatest steakhouse in San Diego but to be the greatest dining experience one can find when visiting paradise. I liked Jackson's pedigree studying at Forbes and managing the Charlotte Inn a legend on Martha's Vineyard. He is the perfect choice at a challenging time to be in the restaurant game in San Diego. Now enough with the verbiage. Let's eat! First up was a sausage and peppers and onions appetizer which was both unique and very tasty. Taoos followed and being a New Yorker, Mexican food and I have remained strangers despite the fact that I have now lived here far longer than my New York days. But stuffed with blue chees these babies were calling my name and voila--instant love! It was Calamari next and this dish woke up the stoic Lindsey who joined the feast at this juncture. In the cleanup spot (4th course for non ballers) was a delightful green salad with fresh croutons, apple slices and my crumbled blue cheese favorite. Gabriel was pouring the wine and I opted for house White and my very adult daughter (when did that happen) sampled the Rose. The piece de Resistance was steak of course and Jackson brought his papers as if Trump was guarding the Border crossing. The certificate hereby verifies the meat as 100% Wagyu Beef. This document attests that the product meets all the standards and criteria for the quality grade in Japan. It was like the animal's birth certificate had come to light and if I wondered if some patrons would shed a tear at this point in the repast. For me, I dug in and loved this Wagyu Beef. At this point, I almost took a standing eight count. Gabriel had piled up more doggie bag packages than seemed possible and when he left the table to go back for more boxes, I was afraid he was calling the FDA to see if it was OK that I was taking home more food than I was consuming. I explained to Jackson that my small stomach was to blame and either he thought I was an idiot or he accepted my lame excuse. Still, he refused to let me leave until cheesecake and chocolate black out was serv3d in the parlor. Lindsey and I went home very full and very happy. Although I must admit that I felt I was carrying luggage home when in actuality it was only my dinner extras. The next day while this article was marinating in my mind, I took to Twitter where I am determined to make Greystone grow on Social Media and teased my readers. Yes, the steak is great but the service is priceless! I challenge you to visit Greystone and see if I am wrong. Steve Tarde plays the baseball legend Casey at the Bat on stage and has performed for audiences for 50 years! See him on Fox Television at youtube.com/stevetarde and BOOKMARK this blog which is ten years in the making!
Posted by Steve Tarde at 12:24 PM