About two decades ago, my wife and I had a great steak at Trabuco Oaks steakhouse. She couldn't finish hers, so she was looking forward to eating steak the next day except, she left her "doggy bag" in the restaurant! In 20+ years, she had not forgotten the regret that came with that experience. So, we were passing through the other day and we decided to stop in. Got there early and had the place all to ourselves. The rib-eye was perfect. So was the martini (double olive) and the massive baked potato with all the fixings. Our waiter, Mark, could not have been more attentive. So, what kept them from getting that elusive 5th star? Well, part of the history of Trabuco Oaks is that, for years, if you showed up wearing a tie, it was cut off and mounted somewhere in the restaurant. After years of doing this, the place is covered in ties!!! As you might imagine, all those ties are hard to dust and impossible to clean and, the result is a musty order that made me wish the owners had found something else to do to build a unique tradition around. Maybe the ties would have been less noticeable if the place was full of people. End the end, we had a GREAT meal that I would easily rate at 5-stars!
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