Gaslamp Strip Club: A Steak Place
has been in Downtown
San Diego for five years, but it’s still causing a stir.
The concept isn’t exactly cutting-edge—“grill your own”
restaurants have sprung up around the country in recent years. But besides
attracting a loyal clientele, the Gaslamp Strip Club has even generated
national attention – the white truffle macaroni and cheese is Rachael Ray approved.
Initially, the buzz around the Gaslamp Strip Club centered on
the name. Before the restaurant opened, a billboard was posted off the 163
freeway, asking “What’s your beef with the San Diego Strip Club?” General
Manager James Stephenson laughs when recalling the plethora of phone calls
about the billboard, some concerned, some irate. “I called everyone personally
and reassured them that we were a steakhouse and then they were better about
the whole thing.”
If the restaurant
received so many angry calls, then why not change the name?
“It’s a poke at San
Diego,” James explains. “You’re actually not allowed
to have a cabaret in downtown so it’s very tongue in cheek.”
Fortunately, the restaurant’s classy Fifth Avenue façade speaks for itself.
Floor-to-ceiling windows, open French doors, and a large grill near the
entrance reveal an upscale and lively restaurant. Sensuous velvet, sexy
leather, and semi-nude drawings by artist Alberto
Vargas play to the restaurant’s provocative yet whimsical theme.
“It’s a great way to grab attention, especially for all
those at the nearby Convention Center,” James says.
But isn’t the name
still confusing to some?
“There’s a certain look that we see, when guests come in,” James
explains. “They take a lap around the restaurant, and look a little confused. Then
they’ll ask if there’s an upstairs part of the restaurant. We always know
exactly what they’re looking for, and we just explain that we’re a steak
An affordable steak house, at that. Filet mignon, the most expensive
cut of meat offered, rings up at $24, while the flavorful strip kabobs total $14.
All come with salad and garlic bread. Additional sides are served family-sized,
meaning one side can comfortably fill two guests. If you are craving dessert,
James suggests the “Two-Timing” chocolate cheesecake. Wines can be found in the
walk-in cellar. For an extra giggle, be sure to check out the double entendre
descriptions of the wine’s body and character.
The entire restaurant is fun and lively, offering a uniquely
interactive dining experience. Sure you could dust off your old barbeque and
grill up something at home—but then you wouldn’t be in the heart of the Gaslamp
Quarter and you wouldn’t be able to brag to your coworkers that you went to
a strip club the night before.
Top Five Tips for
Grilling the Perfect Steak at the Gaslamp Strip Club
1. Don’t let the steak catch on fire!
Sounds basic, but Stephenson, a
chef by trade, says that he sees patrons purposefully let their steaks stay in
the flames. “Fires are inevitable as fat drips through the grill,” he explains.
“But don’t let your steak stay in the middle of a flame unless you want it to
taste like a carbon fire.
2. Don’t “over” anything.
Don’t over-season the meat. Don’t
overcook the meat. You can always add more seasonings to taste; it’s harder to unspice your steak. The same goes for
cooking—no one has yet figured out a way to uncook something.
3. Move your steak around.
Start the steak in the middle of
the grill where it’s the hottest in order to get those nice grill marks. Once
those are in place, move the steak to the edges of the grill to cook more
thoroughly. Leaving the steak in the middle of the grill can char the outside,
while potentially leaving the middle of the cut raw.
4. Prioritize your grilling order.
Thicker cuts should be placed on
the grill first, along with those who want their meat medium-well or well done.
Garlic bread should be the last item to toss on the grill. This way, everyone
can enjoy their meal at the same time.
5. Remember every steak is different.
Each grill has instructions to
help you with figuring out the perfect grilling time for your cut and your
preparation preference, but the most important thing to remember is that each
steak is different, so you really have to be concentrating while cooking. Steak
negligence could result in a less-than-tasty dinner.
Insider’s Info: Check out the letter from Girl Scouts of
America in the glass case behind the hostess stand. It’s a letter to the
Gaslamp Strip Club, asking them to rename their “Naughty Girl Scout” martini –
a signature drink made of light crème de cacao, dark menthe, and a dark
chocolate rim on the glass – because the term “Girl Scout” was trademarked. The
Strip Club acquiesced, and you can still order this alcoholic Thin-Mint – only
it’s simply listed as the “Naughty Scout” now.
James with Rachael Ray at the Gaslamp Strip Club