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Putting On the LBs at LB Steak

It can’t be helped. Not when you’re at the swank LB Steak in San Jose’s Santana Row, where there are calories galore.

But Chef Roland Passot’s latest creation, run by Chef de Cuisine Chris Joslyn, is a place where you just have to dine with a devil-may-care attitude. All the better to enjoy the numerous meaty and rich offerings.

On a warm evening, the dark, striking restaurant throws open its front, floor-to-ceiling windows, so that you feel like you’re dining al fresco even if you’re seated inside underneath the glittering chandeliers.

The steaks are all USDA “prime.” But this is one steakhouse where you don’t have to indulge in red meat to have a good meal. There’s also an array of fish and pastas, and even a vegetarian burger of oats, bulgar, wheat, brown rice and crimini mushrooms.

I was invited in to dine recently. My companion that evening at LB Steak was — who else — Meat Boy (my husband). As if you think he’d let anyone else go in his place?

The waitstaff brought over an order of the pommes souffle ($9) — thinly sliced potatoes that puff up and get super crispy from being fried twice. Although a little oily, these were gossamer puffs that crackled when bitten. Eat them fast because they taste best while they’re still hot.

I couldn’t resist the dramatic starter of escargot in Pernod garlic butter piled inside a shank of bone with its marrow ($15). The tender snails were enveloped in richness. I don’t even want to know how many calories are in that dish. But it was a dish worth busting any diet for.

I opted for sea bass served atop strands of spaghetti squash in a brown butter emulsion (26.75). The fish was tender, very moist, and with a nice sear on top.

Meat Boy, of course, got his favorite cut — a 12-ounce rib eye ($29.50).  From the options of sauces, he chose the buttery bearnaise. Cooked medium-rare just as ordered, the steak had a really satisfying beefy flavor that just flooded your entire mouth.

The accompanying onion rings ($3.75) were big and tender inside, but perhaps could have been crisper on the outside.

For dessert, choose from offerings on the menu or off the cart that gets rolled to your table.

Knowing my weaknesses already, it’s probably not surprising that I chose a gingerbread cake and an espresso macaron from the cart. The cake was disappointing — a bit gummy and lacking in the requisite hit of winter spices. Far better was the French macaron, which tasted like a smooth cup of coffee.

I’m sure I packed on the lbs that night at LB Steak. But most of them were sure worth it.

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