Best Old Valley Charm (2002)

El Chorro Lodge

In this town, "old" is anything predating the '80s. But when we say old, we mean ancient. Such as the heritage of El Chorro, a local landmark since 1937. Very little has changed over the years at this adobe building, formerly Judson School for Girls and later a restaurant frequented by such celebrities as Clark Gable and Milton Berle. Its current owner, Joe Miller, began as a bartender in 1952, then purchased the property in 1973, ensuring tradition would carry on.

We personally have consumed more than our fair share of El Chorro's signature items, giant sticky buns that are served free with every meal. And while we'll admit that when we were in high school, we scoffed over the "old people's" menu -- loaded with classics like chipped beef on English muffin, shrimp Louie salad, chicken liver with bacon, and shad roe on toast -- now we appreciate the nostalgia.

We really appreciate the refinement, too, with tableside presentation of châteaubriand with béarnaise sauce, and rack of lamb with minted jelly. Quality has survived the ages with grace -- USDA prime aged filet mignon, New York steak, lobster tail and lamb chops are prepared in 1600F mesquite broiler to lock in flavor and juices.

Some things just never go out of style. Thank goodness.

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