by Patrick Gilliland
Jill's Place doesn't disappoint
Roll call 6:15am. Good morning. Our task today: patrol steakhouse in the Santa Barbara County precinct. The Filet Mignon will be used as a basis for comparison in each report. Only steakhouse that deserve an A grade are to be reviewed. Filet Mignon ratings will be range from A- to AAA+
Jill's Place Shalhoob's Restaurant
632 Santa Barbara St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 963-0378
Filet Mignon Rating: AAA
My little group's first outing took us to Shalhoob's, which is also the name of the local butcher. This is not a coincidence, but a fine arrangement between butcher and restauranteur.
1) The filet was proper thickness, about 6 ounces, cooked to perfection and tender, not soft.
2) It was juicy. It was not overly seasoned. It was not overly charred. It was lean. It was not sporting a tail of some unknown, untrimmed beef. It was just right in all respects.
3) Service was friendly. Service was prompt, but not intrusive.
4) I got spaghetti with my steak, which is a bit of heaven for me. Loved it as a side dish. Comes with the meal.
5) I got grilled vegetables. Again, not overcooked, and nice produce to start with. Comes with the meal.
6) They started us off with a flavorful bowl of split pea soup. Comes with meal.
7) They brought us a nice plate of toasted garlic bread. Comes with the meal.
8) They brought me a nice, freest, green salad with dressing on the side. Comes with the meal.
I had a very nice glass of Pinot Noir to start with; their house brand. I don't even recall the name of the vineyard. Who cares? It was slightly dry, slightly fruity, and just a little bold. Loved it. Finished with Shalhoob's signature desert dish: a simplified version of Bananas Foster. Delicious. All of this was about $30 and change. I tipped the waits $5 and felt good about it. Owner Jill Shalhoob may greet and seat you, and her personal approach seems to carry over to her attentive staff.
Jill's has all the hometown ambiance one anticipates, with the colorful locals seated at the bar, dark wood paneling, and black leather booths. I give this restaurant my highest AAA rating for true steakhouse, on the strength of its taste, service, quality, price, and ambiance.
Patrick Gilliland's column appears every Saturday in the Daily Sound, Send email to