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Restaurant Review: La Jolla Strip Club

+ shameful
++ mediocre
+++ delightful
++++ amazing

La Jolla Strip Club +++
4282 Esplanade Court, La Jolla, 92122

Hours: Lunch served from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday; dinner starts at 5 p.m., daily.

Cuisine: Steaks and contemporary sides

Budget impact: Moderate to high

You needn’t flash dollar bills to soak up the sensual pleasures of the La Jolla Strip Club. A basic understanding of meat grilling and a lust for vodka is all it takes.

The cook-your-own-protein steakhouse marks the restaurant’s second location, opened recently by Cohn Restaurant Group as a fraternal twin to the long-established Gaslamp Strip Club.

The concept is simple: Choose a steak or kabob or the double chicken breast from the menu’s raw section; flop it onto one of three indoor grills; season to taste; mingle over cocktails while cooking; then cozy down in a black leather booth to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Accidental undercooking is easy to fix. Overcooking means, well, you’re stuck with it.

Cohn’s Strip Clubs operate similarly to the unrelated Riviera Supper Club in La Mesa and Turf Supper Club in Golden Hill. Though neither of them can take claim in a bar inventory possessing 100 different vodkas produced from nearly every sector of the globe.

Ultimat vodka from Poland, for instance, tasted smooth and restrained in a namesake martini constructed with pineapple juice and pineapple-chipotle syrup. Delish. We became tongue shocked, however, over the Bodacious martini that mixes Three Olives Bubble vodka from England with a cloying blend of Rockstar, Sprite and grenadine. The end word of the liquor should’ve been our clue that we would be faced with a resemblance of Bazooka Bubble Gum turned liquidly rather than something that has anything to do with olives. Our bad.

While “awesome” could describe our steaks – the signature New York Strip and a hefty bone-in Porterhouse that are each corn-fed and wet-aged – it’s a grating, insincere adjective when used prolifically by people serving you. Was it really “awesome” that we requested an appetizer of fire wings be cooked extra crispy, or that we chose asparagus and mushroom side dishes with our steaks?

The wings were spot on, and the sautéed mushrooms with onions and bacon scored high in savor. But our waitress began losing points from the moment we were seated, asking us for our drink and appetizer orders before we could even fingerprint the menus. In her erratic flybys, she failed afterwards in providing us with plates for a family-style salad while overlooking spent dishes littering our table. A casual approach in service is one thing. Perky disengagement ala San Diego style is another.

La Jolla Strip Club has nonetheless been born with good genes. The layout is conducive for small and big groups and includes an enclosed billiard porch. Flat screens and hip music pervade. The grills are kept hot and promote conviviality. And the food that you don’t cook matches in flavor your very best piece of grill work.