Jump to content

Morton's, a Steakhouse Chain Owned by Landry's Inc. - Wet-Aged Beef in a Formal Setting


Recommended Posts

i went to the bar at morton's on connecticut avenue last night - meeting a freind who works in the building for plans later. until last evening i had assumed that the real differences between the big steakhouses was the service. the menus have pretty much the same fare, the wine lists are all expansive with a few gems and a few clunkers, they each did a pretty good job with a good cut of beef. had i been in the mood for a steak, i most likely would have continued to believe in this general culinary parity.

cold and rainy nights scream for lobster bisque. a soup and the chopped salad was just what i wanted. the bisque arrived and to it's credit it was piping hot and it had the proper consistency, and that is all i can say to it's credit. it had no richness, the sherry influence was also m.i.a., and the two pathetic pieces of lobster claw were boiled for what must have been an interminable amount of time. if you scratched the surface of this soup you got more surface. just bad.

if the only good things to be said of the bisque are that it was hot and liquid, then the only good thing to be said of the salad is that it was cold. it was listless lettuce haphazardly tossed with low grade blue cheese, some way past their prime tomatoes, and something that had the texture of bacon but none of its porkly goodness. the dressing was a thin vinaigrette that would have gone undetected except that i knew something was making the other ingredients slick.

i am very gratefully for the gracious service provided by damian and liz (i think that is her name). but for $45 (pre-tip) for 2 beers, criminally bad soup and salad, i felt violated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Even if they are given away the potato rolls with horseradish mayo and a shred of chard meat remnant for happy hour, it's not worth it.

You should go for dinner. They actually wheel up a cart of raw meat to your table and then a half-trained server begans to lie about the various cuts, aging, pedigree of it all. It's scary. I'm sorry you experienced it. Go get a Manhattan at Cashions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't feel too bad, Danny. You aren't the first to get "snookered" by Morton's. A couple of years ago, Craig received a coupon in the mail entitling him to a "surf and turf" dinner for two for $75 (if I remember correctly). Throw in a bottle of wine, tax and tip and it all came to just about $150. It was no bargain. Mostly just mediocre. The service was fine, if a bit smug. We felt like a coupla right pillocks for being enticed by this "deal." :lol: For that kind of money we could have gone to Ray's, Corduroy, Firefly or (insert your favorite place here) and had some really memorable food and wine.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the past I have enjoyed their burger for lunch once every few months. It is usually loosely packed, cooked as ordered and full of beefy flavor. A few weeks ago I recommended it in a burger thread somewhere, which got me to return after a longer-than usual interval.

It was awful - dense, overcooked by at least two grades and underseasoned. And the above-mentioned chopped salad was as described - lifeless and tasteless.

At least the fries were good in a thin-McDonald's fries sort of way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Grover and I went to Morton's last night for dinner. I'm starting the forum so that I can compare our dinner with dinners of other people who have dined there. I will write a review of or our dinner later today but for right now, your impressions please.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Click

(If you're ever wondering if a thread has been started on a restaurant, an easy way to find out is to go to the Restaurant Guide here. In this case, since Morton's has multiple locations, it is listed here and you can just click on the link to go to the thread. :) )

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been to multiple Mortons, and never impressed by any of'em. Forgettable food, predictable crowd and an utterly ridiculous dog-and-pony show by waiters who insist on showing you a shrink-wrapped piece of beef before taking your order. As if I'm a raving schizo who can't tell her mignon from a prophylactic without visual aids.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey, since this thread is going south fast, might I add that at least their Onion Bread is pretty good. Morton's is a chain steak house that delivers a predictable meal at all of their locations. It's not the worst I've eaten and it's easily not the best, but it works for the occasion at times.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Grover and I went to Morton's last night for dinner. I'm starting the forum so that I can compare our dinner with dinners of other people who have dined there. I will write a review of or our dinner later today but for right now, your impressions please.
At the risk of replying to myself, Grover and I were also enticed by the "Steak and Seafood" special which is now $89. We also had the dog and pony show which was cut short by my handing the server the coupon. I started with 6 oysters on the half-shell for $12. The oysters were excellent. They were fresh and very tasty. The accompanying cocktail sauce had a matching cup of horseradish for additional bite if wanted, as well as lemon and a bottle of Tobasco. I had the caesar salad and Grover had the Morton's salad. Both were large, crisp and fresh, and for the caesar, seemingly lacking in egg, but I don't think that's too unusual anymore. I had the 8oz filet medium rare and Grover had hers medium. Both steaks were cooked to spec. I had the Shrimp Imperial, 3 large broiled shrimp on a spicy cream sauce. Grover had the crab cake. The shrimp were good but a bit chewy. The crab cake isn't going to win any prizes but it was acceptable with a minimum amount of extraneous breading and other non-crab filler. The steaks were tender and moist but a bit deficient in that "steaky" flavor. Desserts were either a vanilla bean flan or chocolate lava cake. We both opted for the chocolate...it came accompanied with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. As a cliche, it was a decent end to the meal. The best part of the meal was our server. Jocelyn was both informative and helpful. She immediately replaced a glass of wine that wasn't to Grover's taste with a better one, she was very attentive without being intrusive and overall was a pleasure to deal with. The final bill with tax, tip and 3 glasses of wine was about $150.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

NotQuickDraw and I have eaten at Morton's a few times, with other people picking the restaurant (and picking up the check). Steaks are decent, caesar salad OK, hot chocolate cake warm and gooey and filling. Nothing great, overpriced, but OK. Drinkable wine. Service has always been good to very good - efficient, unpretentious (but seemingly ready to adopt a more pretentious attitude if the customer seems to prefer it, as some do). The meat display can be seen as either amusing or absurd, and is far more tolerable if you approach it as amusing.

When we've gone there have usually been a few people obviously dining on an expense account, couples apparently hoping for a "fine dining" experience (and if they don't know any better, it's no harm to them), and frequently families. All generally seem to be having a good time. It's easy, it's predictable, everything on the plate is recognizable, it's comfortable and unfussy, it's family- and kid-friendly. As NQD puts it, "It's Denny's for rich people." Not where I would choose to spend my money, but there are worse places. And if someone else is paying, why not?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am, in actual fact, going to a party at Morton's Thursday night and have every intention to enjoy it. It's drinks and desserts - what's not to like about booze and sugar? If someone else is paying, why not?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From Da List - Ya'll Ownit?

A Steak In Success -- Morton's Steak Bible is a new book showing how to select and cook steak and other great dishes from the great steakhouse. According to a Morton's press release, the book "...was coauthored by a restaurant visionary responsible for cooking more than 25 million steaks (Klaus Fritsch, co-founder of Morton's Steakhouses)... (is) lavishly illustrated with full-color photographs (and) features never-before-published recipes and inside lore from Morton's. Also look for 100 recipes for Morton's signature cocktails, steak specialties and other main dish favorites, appetizers, soups and salads, side dishes and desserts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Morton's in Washington is rather special ... it took over the location of Duke Ziebert's ...

for Washingtonians of a certain age, Duke Ziebert's was as important a Washington institution as

the Supreme Court. The stories of a snow storm, when Duke Ziebert and his pals when out in the street

to hit golf balls!

Anyway, now we have Morton's, very respectable, very non-threatening (too much garlic? of course not!)

if you are still following the Atkins diet, and your wife is on the rabbit food diet, not to worry! They have

something for each of you! Nothing will be memorable, but really excellent quality cafeteria food.

I think for some Washingtonians (say, lawyers who bill $1,000 dollars per hour) going to Morton's is

like a trip though the drive-thru at McDonalds.

It has its place. It will survive, because they know their audience. I got a coupon because some computer

thought I was a Morton's kind of person. The computer was wrong.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Morton's in Washington is rather special ... it took over the location of Duke Ziebert's ...

for Washingtonians of a certain age, Duke Ziebert's was as important a Washington institution as

the Supreme Court.

By the time Duke's got to that new, above ground location, it had already lost a lot of it's vibe. The liver steak was never as good, the rye bread was sliced too thin, and the waiters weren't as condescending.

Btw, I believe Morton's is now a public company, with very respectable margins (especially on the Cali Cabs!).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I received an e-mail from Morton's plugging their new "Prime Ocean Platter." The accompanying photo is intriguing, and I am always on the lookout for a plateau de fruits de mer. I have not had a good one in Washington, including Oceanaire (skimpy) and Sea Catch (incomplete). Kudos to the Morton's photographer, but for $87 they're offering 4 shrimp, oysters, lobster pieces, etc. That comes out with tax to about $4.50 per thing. It would be way cheaper to order the ingredients one by one. How can Balthazar in NY provide so much more for only $12 more? To say nothing of Montreal's Au Pied de Cochon or places in Paris like La Coupole and Le Bar à Huitres.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Stephen, have you had any of the seafood platters (I think they're called Orca platters) at Clyde's (including Old Ebbitt Grill)? Especially at the half-off happy hour prices, they can be pretty good deals.

Not yet. But that's on my list, along with Kinkaid's. Ebbitt's is hard to park at, so do the other Clyde's outlets have the same Orca platter?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not yet. But that's on my list, along with Kinkaid's. Ebbitt's is hard to park at, so do the other Clyde's outlets have the same Orca platter?

Most, though not all. And the happy hour half-off hours and policy varies substantially by location, so it's best to call ahead.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

MORTON’S // EBBITT’S

“PRIME OCEAN” // “ORCA”

$87 // $47 (happy hour)

4 LOBSTER PIECES // 1 LB LOBSTER

4 SHRIMP // 12 SHRIMP

4 CRAB LEGS // 12 CRAB CLAWS

4 OYSTERS // 12 OYSTERS

JUMBO LUMP CRABMEAT //————————-

____________________ // 12 CLAMS

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What kind of crab legs do they serve up?

I never get the Ebbitt's Orca platter because those crab claws are a waste of time. But if they had some nice king crab on there...

Actually, last time I was at OEG in season, they were stone crab claws! I think normally they are snow crab legs.

Stephen, the way I'm reading your grid, OEG is the clear winner even at NON happy hour prices, when that platter is $94 not $47!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually, last time I was at OEG in season, they were stone crab claws! I think normally they are snow crab legs.

Stephen, the way I'm reading your grid, OEG is the clear winner even at NON happy hour prices, when that platter is $94 not $47!

Right now the crab claws at OEG are Jonah crab claws, frozen & defrosted by the taste of them. OK. THe shrimp temd to be a little hammered (overcooked and not drunk), but are good with cocktail sauce & horseradish. The lobster, however, is pretty damned good.

Last week, however, we stuck to oysters & more oysters and 6 shrimp. The oysters continue to amaze for the money. Last week they had California Kumamotos (as opposed to Oregon which are much less briney) which were wonderufl and the St Simon were buttery/milky rich and superb. The Wiannos are pretty damned good for very large and very briny oysters. Yum! I also put back several (if you call 4 several) bloody maria's made with a lot of well tequila, a lot of horseradish & tabasco for $6.50 each. This was a decision I regretted the next morning.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Saturday dinner: Morton's, Atlantic City, NJ. (Last bachelor party I'll probably ever go to, since I have no more bachelor friends.)

This was my first time at any Morton's. What the hell is with the song-and-dance routine the waiter gives at the beginning of the meal? My lord, I thought I was going to pass out from the combined effects of boredom, astonishment, and simple aging. He actually held up a tomato so we knew what he was talking about when he mentioned a "tomato." He also held up a potato and an onion at the appropriate moments in his script. Wow.

I ordered a cajun ribeye medium-rare. The waiter acted as though I had ordered an armed hand grenade: "Now that's going to be red throughout, warm in the center. Is that okay?" Yes. Then it came and it was medium (or even, perhaps, medium-well). I'm glad it had the cajun seasoning, as that made it taste fine anyway.

Decent food, but crazy-overpriced and clownish service.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow. I had a totally different experience last evening from most people. Maybe because I was giggling like a high schooler because we had just made a great escape from my first visit to Old Ebbitt Grill. (The decorations, the menu it was all too much. We threw some money on the table, having not ordered anything and RAN.) No dog and pony show. Just the obscenely-sized onion bread, which was a bit lamentable and rather intimidating. And let me tell you, when you drown two slices of likely-Chilean beefsteak tomatoes with bleu cheese and cracked pepper it isn't so bad. I got the nod from the waiter for ordering my ribeye medium rare. It wasn't the most flavorful piece of meat, but it did have a fairly pleasing salt and pepper crust. Would I have paid nearly $40 for the steak myself? No.

I think in a nod to our not ordering our meat burnt to a crisp, our server kindly brought a complimentary Godiva chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream to share. It may have been free because it was the end of the day and it would have been binned... because the cake was a bit crusty, which isn't all that bad. But the ice cream... UGH... had either been frozen way too slowly or refrozen because I could hear the ice crystals breaking as I put my spoon through it. But beggars can't be choosers. It was certainly a memorable evening.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Story here....

http://www.bizjournals.com/baltimore/news/2012/02/02/mortons-the-steakhouse-plans.html

....is just matter of fact, like they're shutting a few here and there, but they like the Baltimore Inner Harbor Morton's enough to expand it.

There were about ten that closed, but the South Florida Morton's were spared....

http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2012-02-03/features/sfl-mortons-the-steakhouse-locations_1_locations-south-florida-landry-s-restaurants

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Had dinner at Morton's Crystal City (someone else's treat) back in May. Salads were so-so. Steaks were thin (thinner than my husband remembered having at a Morton's out in Denver previously) so not much sear for medium-rare. Scallops were not great. Truffled French fries were the highlight of the meal. The service was . . . peculiar. I was handed a list of menu items that were gluten free when we arrived. It had no prices on it. We were given a wine list immediately upon being seated at our table, but after about 15 minutes had to ask for menus. The waiter seemed to think that I didn't need a regular menu (with prices) in addition to the list I'd been given, so I had to insist on it. We got the impression that we were expected to order wine or a drink before even looking at the menu. When we did get our food and were eating it and carrying on a conversation, no fewer than three staff members (waiter, manager, other manager) stopped by and interrupted us to ask how everything was, in the space of 90 seconds. Also, the room was very dark.

I'll be interested to hear your impressions. We have some money left on our gift card, and plan to return and order chicken, rather than steak (and the fries).

Edited to add: Through the whole evening, we found ourselves wishing we were at RTS.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure if anyone knows, or cares, but in 2011, McCormick and Schmick's (which I believe includes all their restaurants, including M&S Grill), succumbed to a hostile takeover bid by the massive restaurant empire, Landry's which also owns Chart House, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Morton's, and Rainforest Cafe. The deal was said to be worth $131.6 million.

My Bro had his 50th birthday observance at Mortons on Conn this past Saturday. He used to be a server there, before he started his present career as a man of leisure. Anyway, I had a discussion with someone in a position to know. He told me that since the take over by Landry's the quality of Morton's has gone downhill -- smaller portions/higher prices, no longer sourcing their beef to the same high quality provider they had used, etc. He said the story with the Landry empire is: there is a right way, a wrong way and the Landry way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No need to worry.

I have it on excellent authority that the only steakhouses that matter, as determined by the attentions of the major food writers, are Jean George Vongrechtin's J&G Steakhouse and Michael Mina's Bourbon.

I can not tell you how relieved I was, personally, to be informed that I no longer bear the responsibility of serving the public in a meaningful manner or of providing meaningful employment opportunities, being of no significance one way or the other.

Such freedom! If only the Landry people would come get me next...

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, Ferris Bueller said:

It appears the Georgetown Location has closed.  Bizarre times for these higher end steakhouses.

Morton's Georgetown will always hold a special place for me. When Matt was in a stroller, I went on a personal challenge to go 10 miles a day on foot, for 7 consecutive days. Some days, I ran it, some days I walked it, and a couple of the days, I pushed Matt in a stroller ten miles. The 7th day I ran it without stopping, and I was *so* tired and hungry after that 7th day (I'm absolutely not a distance runner by any means, and never was), that I got in the shower, took a nap, woke up, and went down to the Georgetown Morton's and treated myself to a no-holds-barred dinner. Anyway, that's my primary Georgetown Morton's memory - it wasn't at all bad.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The acquisition by Landry's, while maybe good for Landry's, did not help the Morton's brand.  You can see the changes in simple things like their bread & butter to start.  We had many good memories and some great times there pre-Landry's ownership - the atmosphere has truly changed, as has much of the staff at many of their locations.  Menu has expanded quite a bit, but I do not know if that a good thing.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, Ferris Bueller said:

It appears the Georgetown Location has closed.  Bizarre times for these higher end steakhouses.  

I take the long view.  I became the leasing agent for the property while the initial lease was being negotiated.  Later I did the first Ruth’s Chris’s deal in Upper DuPont—both in the early-mid 80’s.   There have to be 15-20 quality/expensive/expense account steak houses in the city now.  Maybe there were 6 some 3 decades ago.  Add one or subtract one these days—I don’t see the difference.  

I don’t think I’ve been to Morton’s since the corporate take over.  Can’t speak to the change.  I think the Georgetown Morton’s was the 2nd.  It was very good and carefully operated for a long time—and busy and popular.    But that was long ago.

Rather than a foodie destination with distinctive elements I see steakhouses as primarily expense account restaurants.  There is an element of both but from a marketing and revenue side they thrive off corporate expense accounts.  

Me—I like Ray’s:  same quality;  killer prices.  I don’t miss the fancy flourishes from the expensive places.  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since we have restaurant week upon us, you can dine there for little $$, and experience the Corporate twist.  Decor has changed and the music is terrible.  Long gone is the Sinatra-era ambience.  Now it is thumping and the constant beat that is just consistent enough to be really annoying - I feel like I am in South Beach at a club.

Huge Ray's fan as well, but we live just far enough away to make it a chore to get there.  I agree Ray's has all the quality and is more reasonable.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

27 minutes ago, Ferris Bueller said:

Since we have restaurant week upon us, you can dine there for little $$, and experience the Corporate twist.  Decor has changed and the music is terrible.  Long gone is the Sinatra-era ambience.  Now it is thumping and the constant beat that is just consistent enough to be really annoying - I feel like I am in South Beach at a club.

Huge Ray's fan as well, but we live just far enough away to make it a chore to get there.  I agree Ray's has all the quality and is more reasonable.

Good idea.  Just scanned restaurant week participants for the region.  I only saw the Morton’s in Reston participating.  A fair number of other steakhouses and seafood /steakhouses are partipating though both in the city and burbs.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, DaveO said:

I take the long view.  I became the leasing agent for the property while the initial lease was being negotiated.  Later I did the first Ruth’s Chris’s deal in Upper DuPont—both in the early-mid 80’s.   There have to be 15-20 quality/expensive/expense account steak houses in the city now.  Maybe there were 6 some 3 decades ago.  Add one or subtract one these days—I don’t see the difference.  

I don’t think I’ve been to Morton’s since the corporate take over.  Can’t speak to the change.  I think the Georgetown Morton’s was the 2nd.  It was very good and carefully operated for a long time—and busy and popular.    But that was long ago.

Rather than a foodie destination with distinctive elements I see steakhouses as primarily expense account restaurants.  There is an element of both but from a marketing and revenue side they thrive off corporate expense accounts.  

Me—I like Ray’s:  same quality;  killer prices.  I don’t miss the fancy flourishes from the expensive places.  

I miss Blackie's.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, DaveO said:

Good idea.  Just scanned restaurant week participants for the region.  I only saw the Morton’s in Reston participating.  A fair number of other steakhouses and seafood /steakhouses are partipating though both in the city and burbs.  

Because it is the only location left....just kidding

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 3/27/2020 at 4:22 PM, Ericandblueboy said:

Thought it might give each other ideas based on where and what you're ordering for take-out or delivery.  

Mortons delivered to our doorstep, USDA Prime burgers for $11.

They also had Filet Sandwiches for $1/each....could not beat that, kids devoured them (so did I).

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Ferris Bueller said:

Mortons delivered to our doorstep, USDA Prime burgers for $11.

They also had Filet Sandwiches for $1/each....could not beat that, kids devoured them (so did I).

Which location was this? Is this delivery menu online somewhere?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, Rhone1998 said:

Which location was this? Is this delivery menu online somewhere?

I believe it at multiple locations, but this was at Reston. They are offering USDA Prime burger today, curbside pick up with a bottle of Pebble Lane, for $19.99.  Specials change and are not every day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...