It’s steak and seafood with style at Lou & Mickey’s
Lou & Mickey’s
Address: 224 Fifth Ave., San Diego
The Vibe: Upscale Casual, Elegant, Classic
Signature Dishes: Prime Rib-eye “Cowboy” Steak
Open Since: 2002
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, Saturday
Phone: (619) 237-4900
Patio Seating: Yes
Happy Hour: 4-6 p.m. Monday-Friday
By Kelley Carlson
At the King’s Seafood-owned Lou & Mickey’s restaurant, hospitality rules. “Our guests are first here,” said general manager Brian Neal. “The special attention (we give them) … is what makes us memorable enough to be an annual return (trip).”
The warm welcome comes from the heart, and such service helps define the establishment in the popular Gaslamp Quarter setting, he added. Since it’s close to Petco Park and across from the San Diego Convention Center, Lou & Mickey’s (named for the fathers of owners Sam and Jeff King) caters to varying demographics.
“It’s not unusual to see someone in a shirt, jersey and ball cap sitting next to someone in a three-piece suit,” Neal noted.
Some aspects of the restaurant are casual and playful, yet it also offers more intimate, fine dining. The 15,000-square-foot space, which appears much smaller from the outside, features a post-World War II supper club atmosphere, enhanced by jazzy, Rat Pack-type music. The tiled floor is imported from Italy, and every 10 feet contains a different pattern or mosaic. There are hints of the original French décor, from the days when the establishment was known as Royal.
As guests enter, they encounter a raw bar with a variety of seafood packed in ice — from oysters and Cherrystone clams to Dungeness crab and purple sea urchin. Just around the corner is the lounge, featuring a one-piece zinc bar imported from France and a stained glass ceiling. Four high-definition TVs usually focused on athletics are located around the room. It’s a prime place for patrons to consume exotic drinks such as the Horny Monkey, a tropical mix of vodka, coconut, banana and pineapple; or to share a Scorpion for Two.
They can also celebrate happy hour there, or on the Fifth Avenue side of the patio, which allows for plenty of people watching.
Those on a date may prefer the more quiet and elegant indoor dining areas. The majority of seating is in the classically decorated “Salon” area, but there is also the “Sketch” or “Nude” room that is well-lit with tasteful renderings of the human body in charcoal, ink and pencil.
San Diego Padres’ home games are also considered special events, and the restaurant’s crew gets into the spirit by distributing free bags of peanuts and dressing up in mock uniforms that contain the words “Lou & Mickey’s” on the back. In the evening, the look is retained in the front areas, but the dining-room staff dons formal wear.
To begin a meal, a “can’t miss” item suggested by Neal is the buttery Peruvian Scallops with ponzu and chives.
If steak is the entree of choice, the servers are trained to assist guests select from more than a dozen cuts. The “king” is the 20-ounce Prime Rib-eye “Cowboy” Steak, which is tender and marbled.
“It’s a Cadillac, a game-changer,” Neal said.
A large portion of the menu is dedicated to sustainable species of fish and crustaceans. Among the seasonal specialties are the Florida stone crab (claw only), wild-caught salmon and Alaskan king crab.
Besides steak and seafood, other selections include pastas such as the Spaghetti with Tomato & Basil, and salads such as the Roasted Beets & Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese.
Desserts are baked daily, and options include a decadent slice of Chocolate Cake with strawberries and whipped cream.
Reservations are “definitely recommended” at Lou & Mickey’s and valet parking is available after 5 p.m. daily, for $15.
On The Menu Recipe
Each week you’ll find a recipe from the featured restaurant online at lajollalight.com. Just click Get The Recipe at the bottom of the story.
This week: Lou & Mickey’s Nicoise Salad
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