by Tom Gatch
After decades of political correctness, it has once again become socially acceptable for a person to admit that relishing the sheer primal delight of sinking teeth into a tender piece of steak, a juicy chop or a succulent slice of roast. And, to our good fortune, Ensenada diners have been blessed with a gourmet quality purveyor of premier quality grilled and roasted meats that will delight even the most jaded gringo palate at Sano’s Steak House.
While it was certainly possible to enjoy a decent steak at a restaurant in Baja California during the later part of the 20th Century, finding a truly satisfying chunk of prime grade beef south of the border was not a given. In fact, up until the past decade or so, it was virtually impossible for restaurants in Baja to match the exquisite quality of beef found in high profile stateside steakhouses. But, luckily, that is no longer the case.
Around these parts, the Hussong family name has long been associated with their world famous downtown cantina and a few other successful local businesses, but without a doubt, their Sano’s Steakhouse has now become one of their most revered operations; at least in the eyes of carnivores.
Situated at the end of the toll highway, just before Ensenada’s commercial maritime basin, its mission style design invites visions of old Mexico. Once beyond its rustically arched wooden doorway, guests find themselves in a beautiful Mediterranean-like garden that is burgeoning with bursts of color from a variety of foliage that abounds therein, and also festoons an antique horse cart that sits in the middle of the courtyard.
As in many other fine steakhouses, the interior décor of the dining room is darkly elegant and features a high staff to diner ratio, which helps to accommodate the impeccable service that Sano’s has gained the reputation for consistently delivering over the years. But for a vast majority of their regular clientele, it is the quality of the meat that brings them back here again and again.
For starters, the house tortilla soup is rich and toothsome, with just the right density of chili and seasoning to awaken the taste buds for the wonderful meal yet to come. Likewise, the spinach salad with its imported goat cheese and excruciatingly fresh greens is hard to beat if you are in the mood for something a bit lighter.
One of the most regularly ordered entrees at Sano’s is the rack of lamb. Tender and expertly cooked to order, these succulent clusters of cutlets are topped with a densely flavorful demi-glaze that might prompt Emeril Lagasse to weep with joy.Also magnificent, are the generous cuts of New York and rib eye steak, which come with a fresh vegetable and your choice of potato. But perhaps the best value in the house is their mouthwatering filet mignon. Virtually fork tender, this thick, heavenly piece of tenderloin is wrapped in bacon, grilled to your specifications and covered with a luscious crème and mushroom sauce.
When paired with one of their fine Baja wines, like an L.A. Cetto Nebiolo, guests are set to enjoy an elegant, world class dining experience that would be difficult to match anywhere in the region. But be sure to call Sano’s well in advance of your intended time of arrival to make a reservation; otherwise, you and your dining party may end up being unnecessarily disappointed.
Where is Sano’s Steak House: Sano’s Steak House is located at Km. 108.5 on Highway 1, the scenic road to Ensenada, near the Hotel Coral and Las Rosas Hotel. Open daily, between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. For reservations, call (local) 646-174-4061. MC & VISA accepted
What to expect: Expect outstanding service, consistently excellent food, and upper-end prices (but worth every delicious peso). This is a beautiful location and an elegant environment…a great special occasion restaurant.
Hooked on Baja author & columnist, Tom Gatch, is one of Baja’s foremost writers with a focus upon outdoor and recreational topics in Baja and southern California.
Is your mouth watering for a juicy steak, right about now? Find out where to stay and taste when you’re in Ensenada! And don’t forget to subscribe to Baja.com’s newsletter to learn more about deals and opportunities available to Baja Travelers!
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