In a very non-descriptive building at 1131 S E St in San Bernardino (there is also a location in Fontana) California you will find Sundowners Family Restaurant. They call themselves a restaurant but what they really are is an old-school cafeteria. When we were newly married I would often take Denise out to this place because it was cheap and we couldn’t really afford much. This last weekend we were on our way back from going to the temple and I had twenty dollars in my pocket. Twenty dollars will easily get you two fast food or counter service meals, but I wanted a sit-down place, the only place I could think of was Sundowners.
Going into the line at Sundowner there are a bunch of billboards announcing everything they offer. Something on the lunch menu caught both of our eyes. They had an item labeled “The Delmonico Lunch Special.” This caught our eye because when we made reservations to go to Delmonicos in April (which we had to make in January), we were told to expect a minimum of a $200 bill. Here at Sundowners they had a picture of a Delmonico steak, and the price? $11.09!! And that included Texas baked bread, baked potato, soup, and a soda. Denise got a tuna melt (which also included the same things my lunch special had) but I knew immediately what I had to get. We ordered our food and the two meals and the final price was $19.39. I couldn’t believe it I had my sit-down meal for under $20 and I had change in my pocket!
So of course the question is was it any good? I am not going to say it was the best steak ever, but for the price you really can’t beat it. I don’t know if the cut of beef I had was a true Delmonico, but it certainly looked like one. It had the traditional cross hatching, the traditional triangle bone-in cut, and the New York strip steak cut. The meat was tender but the cooking was not optimal. I ordered my cut medium well-done, so I expected it to be thoroughly cooked but was looking for the center to still have some pink, the pink line was not there.
High class dining it was not, but for the price it was great. How can anyone call a $11.09 steak anything less than great. You can’t even go to the store and buy a raw piece of meat for that price, let alone have someone cook, serve, and clean up after you.That has got to be one of the cheapest steaks I have ever had and the funny park is Sundowners sells several other cuts of beef and the “Delmonico Special” is the most expensive.
It will be interesting to see what the real Delmonico has to offer. I expect them to be better, that is without question. The question will be, are they 20 times better? It is gong to be a tough act to follow.