Sunday, October 15, 2006

Lazar Charcoal Grill

I went to Lazar Charcoal Grill on Johnston Street in Fitzroy with Dennis and Patrick to eat some steak. Lazar was voted as the best steakhouse in Victoria by The Age Good Food Guide in 2004 and 2005.

On approaching the front of the building, you are met by this middle age looking building. Even the front door was this heavy wooden door with cast iron handles. You then go through a second set of doors before you get inside the building. Once inside, there wasn't really a welcome counter and we stood around waiting for a waiter to see us. When he finally spotted us, he escorted us to a table.

The building is cavernous inside, with wood panelling everywhere. You definitely cannot play any annoying background music here, just the sounds of people enjoying themselves

The customer service was really great here. The waiter was an older gentlemen who clearly knew how to make the customers relax. Upon escorting us to the table, he said "Do you know those people over there" to which we replied "No", and he said "They were looking this way so I thought you knew them, No, then they must be looking at me, I'm so good looking you know". That definitely broke the ice and we were all relaxed and laughing. Then while we were deciding what to order, he said "Boys, what's taking so long, there really isn't much choice on the menu, just steak". He was so funny. All night he kept coming up with funny things to do and say and was like a father joking around with his kids. The only time when we saw him serious was when Dennis asked for some tomato sauce to go with the chips, to which he sharply replied "No" and walked away. We thought he was joking but I guess they don't like using tomato sauce at Lazar's. Apart from that, he was a great waiter who made the night a lot of fun.

For dinner, obviously we ordered steak. I chose the scotch fillet medium while Dennis had the eye fillet medium rare and Patrick the eye fillet medium. We also got one beef broth and the sausages and chips. Salad and bread is complimentary. The salad was very nice actually, it comprised of a mixed lettuce salad with capsicum and tomatoes, but mixed in it was also a potato salad with capers and some sauerkraut.

I was enjoying the food so much that I forgot to photograph most of it. But trust me when I say that it was all very good, starting from the bread with extra delicious butter. The soup was like a tomato base with very strong beef flavours and egg inside. The two types of sausages, one a pork and beef one and the other a beef mince were totally delicous. I've never tasted better sausages.

My steak was cooked to perfection and was full of flavour. I didn't need to put any salt or pepper or the mustard and horseradish sauce offered. It was beautiful as it was. It was also huge, and I struggled to finish the last bite. I felt that the scotch fillet had more flavour than the eye fillets. The eye fillets were definitely tender but due to having virtually no fat, lacked that extra oomph that my scotch fillet had. We polished down all this food with a strong tasting Fox Creek 2004 Shiraz.

For dessert, there was only three choices, strawberry with ice cream, lemon crepes or strawberry pancakes. We went for the strawberry pancakes and Patrick said they were the best he had tasted. I also thought they were very good, but not sure about the best. The strawberries were large and plump, covered in a strawberry sauce wrapped inside a flavoursome crepe. The ice cream was good quality vanilla ice cream. Once again, I totally forgot to photograph it since I was too busy eating it.

When we had finished and were about to leave, the waiter asked how everything went. We said it was great. So he asked if we would be coming back, and we said yes. Then he asked when we were coming back, which I thought was putting us on the spot. We said some time soon. He asked whether it was before or after November 4th. We said probably after. He then told us that Lazar's is not going to be around after November 4th. The owner, Mr Lazar was packing up shop. The restaurant was going to be demolished to build apartmentss after opening for 35 years. Mr Lazar himself was 75 and was ready to retire. The waiter himself had also worked there for 30 years. I could see the genuine sadness in his eyes. The restaurant was probably a second home for him, and now it was all going to change. So if you read this post before November 4th, I definitely recommend you go and have a good steak there. I will be going back for one last time as well. It's such a shame, just when I find a good steakhouse and it is going to close. Below is a picture of me with Mr Lazar at the grill cooking away all the steaks.

Overall Rating: 15/20, Great food and atmosphere. It is also great value with a steak costing only about $25. There was also no charge for corkage, which was a shock as well, a rareity in todays restaurant industry. The service was outstanding and genuine.

Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20: Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.


  1. i sure hope the soup tasted better than it looks :S

  2. It did. I must admit that the photo really didn't look so good when I looked back at it. It sort of looks like someone threw up, but it was delicious. I guess presentation isn't their expertise.

  3. Or maybe food photography isn't you expertise.