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LARSEN’S STEAKHOUSE ★★�ress: The Village at Westfield Topanga, 6256 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Woodland Hills.Information: 818-704-1226, www.larsens restaurants.com.Cuisine: Steakhouse.When: Dinner only, every...

Shopping for steaks? Bag great ones at Larsen’s in the Village at Westfield Topanga

LARSEN’S STEAKHOUSE ★★�ress: The Village at Westfield Topanga, 6256 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Woodland Hills.Information: 818-704-1226, www.larsens restaurants.com.Cuisine: Steakhouse.When: Dinner only, every...

Shopping for steaks? Bag great ones at Larsen’s in the Village at Westfield Topanga

LARSEN’S STEAKHOUSE

★★★

Address: The Village at Westfield Topanga, 6256 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Woodland Hills.

Information: 818-704-1226, www.larsens restaurants.com.

Cuisine: Steakhouse.

When: Dinner only, every day.

Details: Full bar. Reservations essential.

Prices: About $75 per person.

Cards: MC, V.

★★★

Address: The Village at Westfield Topanga, 6256 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Woodland Hills.

Information: 818-704-1226, www.larsens restaurants.com.

Cuisine: Steakhouse.

When: Dinner only, every day.

Details: Full bar. Reservations essential.

Prices: About $75 per person.

Cards: MC, V.

Downstairs at The Village at Westfield Topanga, there are casual, jolly restaurants with such names as Joey, Jimmy’s and Lucille’s. They’re noisy, perhaps a bit nutty, and fun for the whole family.

But head upstairs and you’ll find a restaurant aimed directly at grown-ups. Kids are welcome, but they might get a bit twitchy. Adults, on the other hand, should be relieved to find a refuge for a proper martini, some serious old reds, and some of the best steaks around, certainly the best steaks served in a shopping mall, which is not traditionally where steaks are served.

No lunch, just dinner

It should be noted that they are not served for lunch. There is no lunch at Larsen’s Steakhouse, so those filling their SUVs with oversized bags of chocolate covered berries and vinegar-flavored potato chips at the Costco inside the mall, can’t celebrate a successful shopping experience with a 12-ounce prime dry-aged filet mignon, a 22-ounce prime porterhouse, or a 20-ounce wet-aged Angus rib eye. They’ve got to come back at dinner and ascend the stairs from a lobby that makes me feel as if I’m entering a mixed-use condo complex, from which the doorman has temporarily stepped out.

Once upstairs, the sense of a solid, proper steakhouse, with low lighting, a busy bar, tufted chairs and banquettes, and snow- white napery on the tables, is clear and obvious. The noise level is a bit of a buzz, but sufficiently sedate. Servers are in constant motion; the folks at the front desk are ever so happy to see you. There’s a glassed-in room at the back that’s available for private parties, but otherwise used for diners who don’t want to be in the main room. As a rule, I do like to be in main rooms. It’s where the action is.

If you look online at the website, you’ll find the menu, which is short enough to be studied without having to get up and walk around for a bit and which does not include prices. (Neither does the happy hour menu. Wonder why?)

There are a dozen-plus appetizer options, plus a bit of sushi, most priced in the high teens and well into the $20s. The seafood tower, considering which one you choose, can run well more than $100, but it is impressive, and impressively good, though I’m not sure it leaves much room for a steak. Of which there are some steaks for under $50 but more over $50.

Fine time for wine

The wine selection, visible on walls all over the place, runs from reasonable for some perfectly good bottles to special occasion prices for older vintages of big names. There are craft beers on tap, if you want to keep the cost down. There aren’t a lot of wines by the glass. But there are enough.

And, like I said, they make a most excellent martini, along with old-school house classics, such as a Rob Roy, a Tom Collins, a Negroni and an old-fashioned Old Fashioned. This is a fine place to drink, reached by walking through legions of underdressed teens on the mall below, and many folks there to walk their dogs.

The steaks, like the cocktails, are classic works of culinary art: prime dry-aged meat of sublime quality, perfectly cooked, with an excellent crust, and a mouth feel that reminds me that there’s really nothing better than a real American hunk of beef. (There’s Japanese A5 Kobe on the menu, which some adore. And about which I wonder why the fuss?)

The filet mignon is near obscenely tender, the New York strip beautifully marbled. The choice is between dry-aged and wet-aged — dry-aged costs more (always does), but you get a more intense burst of flavor. But, hey, the wet-aged is no slacker.

And as ever, it’s the rest of the menu that sets any steakhouse apart for me. I wish I could grill an artichoke as perfectly as they do. The combination of steamed clams and mussels obviates the quandary of choosing one over the other. The Caesar salad is right out of the Old Hollywood Restaurant Playbook; I can see Clark Gable chewing on one before digging into his steak. The blue-wedge salad is big enough for two.

And I’m so happy to find both creamed corn and creamed spinach as sides. Good onion rings too — though the lobster mashed potatoes seems an ingredient too far. Still, modesty is not becoming in a steakhouse. Larsen’s is both understated and for living large at the same time.

And if you’re feeling quirky, finish up with a madcap ice cream cone at Sloan’s down below. You can always diet tomorrow.

Merrill Shindler is a Los Angeles-based freelance dining critic. Send him email at mreats@aol.com.

Larsen’s Steakhouse

Rating: 3 stars.

Address: The Village at Westfield Topanga, 6256 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Woodland Hills.

Information: 818-704-1226, www.larsens restaurants.com.

Cuisine: Steakhouse.

When: Dinner only, every day.

Details: Full bar. Reservations essential.

Prices: About $75 per person.

Cards: MC, V.

Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.

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