Home » Restaurant Review » Selanne Steak Tavern in Laguna Beach – A Winner, but with Penalties
Selanne Steak Tavern in Laguna Beach – A Winner, but with Penalties
Rib Eye Steak

Selanne Steak Tavern in Laguna Beach – A Winner, but with Penalties

Review of Selanne Steak Tavern in Laguna Beach

Selanne Steak Tavern was delicious, but with penalties

Selanne Steak Tavern was one of the biggest restaurant openings for Orange County in 2014, mostly because it is partly owned by Anaheim Ducks star Teemu Selanne. The track record of sports stars being successful in the restaurant industry is bleak, so I was skeptical of Teemu’s Orange County venture. Although I learned that this is not Teemu’s first rodeo, he is an experienced restaurateur with four restaurants in his native Finland.

Selanne Steak Tavern Exterior Sign

Selanne Steak Tavern Exterior Sign

Selanne Steak Tavern is a high-end steakhouse, so expect very high-end service, food and especially high quality steaks. As with all fine dining steakhouses, their steaks are ordered a la carte. This means that for $36++, you are just ordering just the steak. Sides are extra, so are sauces and accoutrements.

Without wine, but with dessert, expect to pay at least $75 per person. If wine is on the docket, budget $100 per person inclusive of tax.  Is it worth it? Let us find out.

Selanne Steak Tavern Entrance

Selanne Steak Tavern Entrance

What we ordered at Selanne Steak Tavern

Our dinner started with an amuse-bouche, a small cup of  lobster bisque. It was a great way to ramp up appetites and excite the table. 

Amuse-Bouche-  Lobster Bisque

Amuse-Bouche- Lobster Bisque

Steak is a must order item, since it is part of the restaurant’s namesake. Each steak is served with a roasted trumpet mushroom and roasted sweet onion as garnishment. The steaks are each topped with a bone marrow infused butter and coated with bordelaise sauce.  

What is Bordelaise Sauce?
Bordelaise sauce that originated in the Bordeaux region and is made with dry red wine, bone marrow, butter, shallots and sauce demi-glace

A common, although minor, issue with all of the steaks is that they came off a little salty. The steaks are brushed with the Bordelaise sauce and then sprinkled it with extra salt. I could see the kosher salt crystals on my plate. If you have sensitivity to salt, ask them for no extra salt.  

Selanne Steak Tavern Bread

Bread is always a good omen for the rest of the meal. It was delicious

12 oz.  A5 Wagyu Skirt Steak Perfection

Although Rib-eye is my all-time favorite cut of steak, our waiter was able to sell me on the A5 Wagyu Skirt Steak from Imperial Farms. He told me, “I am normally a rib-eye fan, although the Wagyu skirt steak is amazing.” He saw the look of skepticism on my face, but he reminded me that an A5 Wagyu cut of skirt steak would be amazing. Our waiter explained that since it is Waygu, it is very marbled and tender.  I took his advice and I am extremely happy that I did.

Wagyu A5 Skirt Steak

Wagyu A5 Skirt Steak

The steak was served pre-cut against the grain to ensure tenderness. Although skirt steak is normally a tough cut, this Skirt Steak was tender and flavorful. It was cooked to a perfect medium-rare and very juicy with each bite. I would highly recommend this steak at Selanne Steak Tavern.  $36

The skirt steak is located on the “Plate” of the cow, which is situated below the rib. Although this cut is very flavorful, it can be tough. This cut of meat is normally associated with fajitas and arachera. 

Meat Cuts - Skirt Steak

Meat Cuts – Skirt Steak

What is A5 Wagyu?
Wagyu means “Japanese Cow” and refers to Japanese Style Cattle that are genetically predisposed to have heavy fat marbling in the muscle.  Wagyu beef has intense marbling of softer fat, with higher percentages of monounsaturated fats, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. This fat combination provides a rich and tender flavor compared to commodity beef.

The standards of grading beef consist of yield grade and quality grade. “A” of “A5″ means the yield grade, while “5″ shows the quality grade.


14oz Rib-eye – Delicious

As I said before, the Rib-eye is my all-time favorite cut of meat. Fortunately, one of my tablemates ordered this dish and I got to taste it :).  It was cooked to a perfect medium. It was pink throughout and was very juicy with each bite.

Selanne Steak Tavern Rib Eye

Rib Eye Steak

The rib-eye was very meaty and had deep flavors in the muscle.  If you are a fan of rib-eye, this is a great cut to order at Selanne Steak Tavern. 

Meat Cuts - Rib Eye

Meat Cuts – Rib Eye

12oz Filet Mignon in the Penalty Box

Unfortunately this match was not a clean win.  Everything was perfect with our meal, until my wife cut into her Filet Mignon ($48). She wanted her steak medium-rare, although the waiter said the Chef cooks his steaks a little on the rare side. As a result, she ordered her steak cooked medium. Unfortunately, it was prepared verging on well.  This was a clear foul that sent my wife’s steak to the penalty box for most of the dinner.

Selanne Steak Tavern Filet Mignon

Filet Mignon – The troublemaker dish of the evening

Our waiter was attentive and noticed an issue and sent it back to the kitchen. The second time the steak came out it was cooked Rare+, with 80% of the steak’s  interior cool, red, and bloody. The waiter sent it back one more time to make it a medium-rare. My wife ate the sides while the rest of us “oohhh and ahhhhed” over our perfect steaks.

 I will make a very clear statement about paying $48 for a beautiful cut of steak; the Chefs should have the skills to cook a Filet Mignon within a very narrow window of perfection at such a high-end restaurant.  In much the same way I would expect Mr. Selanne to score a goal against a Buffalo Sabre Goal Keeper.  Three attempts to cook a $48 steak is unacceptable.

When the steak was cooked correctly, it was beautiful in flavor and appearance. The meat was tender and had great flavor.

The management team corrected the issue by not charging for the steak and providing several desserts to apologize.  We all really appreciated our waiter’s attentiveness and Management’s willingness to correct the issue. Unfortunately my wife’s experience was dampened in comparison to the rest of the party. Because of this experience, it will be hard to convince my wife to go with me on a future visit. 

Meat Cuts - Filet mignon

Meat Cuts – Filet mignon

Sides for Sharing

Since this is an A la Carte restaurant, sides are extra. The good thing is that they are very delicious and large enough for sharing.

The Maui Onion ($8) was a simple preparation of a  roasted sweet Maui onion,  that let its natural sweet flavors shine through. It tasted great with the steaks.

Selanne Steak Tavern Maui Onion

Maui Onion


The Baby Eggplant ($10) was prepared nicely, although it was my least favorite of the sides. The egg plants were soft and tender. The pistou, which is a sauce made with garlic and basil, provided a deep contrasting flavor.  The 25 year old balsamic provided a refreshing level of acidity to break up the garlic.  

Selanne Steak Tavern Roasted Eggplant

Roasted Baby Eggplant with pistou sauce

Everybody agreed that the best side was the Chef’s “Signature” Mac and Cheese ($12). The Mac and Cheese is very rich and creamy, as it is made with a five cheese fondue. The mac and cheese is topped with a crunchy brioche crumb, confit Maui onions and minus8 vinegar. The pasta itself is imported from Rustichella in Abruzzo, Italy. This is the must order side dish when you visit…

Selanne Steak Tavern Chef’s “Signature” Mac and Cheese

Chef’s “Signature” Mac and Cheese


The desserts were all delicious and creative, although there were some very clear winners.  

The Chocolate Decadence ($10) is homage to a hockey puck, with dense chocolate mousse coverage in chocolate and topped with a hazelnut praline. It is served with a house made raspberry sorbet on the side to compliment and break up the richness of the chocolate.

Selanne Steak Tavern Chocolate Decadence

Chocolate Decadence

The Strawberry Shortcake Popsicle ($10) is made with sorbet filling covered with shortbread crumble and formed around a stick. It is served with a scooped of vanilla bean ice cream, strawberry pearls and a delicious tropical fruits sauce.

Selanne Steak Tavern Strawberry Shortcake Popsicle

Selanne Steak Tavern Strawberry Shortcake Popsicle

The Monkey Bread ($10) was the best of the desserts. Even though this is technically a simple dessert to make, the pastry chef made it classy. It is made with brioche sticky buns and topped with banana foster style caramel pecans and served with banana ice cream.

Selanne Steak Tavern Monkey Bread

Monkey Bread

My Final Thoughts about Selanne Steak Tavern

Overall Selanne Steak Tavern was good experience; although it could have been great without the filet mignon cooking temperature drama. These types of issues disrupt the overall table experience for the entire dinner party. Although Selanne Steak Tavern is on the upper limits of cost, $100 per person, I do believe you are receiving a very high quality culinary experience.

Tom’s Foodie Blog recommends Selanne Steak Tavern to my readers. With that said, I would ask my readers to leave a comment below if they had issues with their steaks being cooked incorrectly. I would like to see if our Filet Mignon issue was a rare fluke or a trend.  

Selanne Steak Tavern

1464 South Coast Hwy Laguna Beach CA 92651

Phone: (949) 715-9881

Selanne Steak House Website

Selanne Steak Tavern on Urbanspoon

About Tom Holmberg

Tom grew up in a cultural diverse neighborhood and a culturally diverse family, so he has learned to appreciate all types of food. "I am not a Chef, nor do I play one on T.V., but I have learned to appreciate food from years of eating and cooking." Tom also spent 10 years in the restaurant industry in various roles, from Prep Cook to server.


  1. Wow – sounds like a great steak house. Thanks!

  2. That looks like a lot of great food. What a nice review of this restaurant. My BF loves steak, so he would have a blast there

  3. As soon as I saw the name I wondered if Teemu had anything to do with it. (I’m a Finn so it’s like he’s the neighbor’s kid, in a very non-literal way) I’m not a huge steak fan myself, so this would not be my first choice. Although sounds like you had a lovely evening. I also mostly eat Fileg Mignon when in a stake place, so another faul.

  4. Nice review, I really like the way you lay things out here… The Maui Onion looks especially delicious. If I owned a restaurant I would definitely have you eat for free just for the review, that is a really great gig you have….

  5. My favorite is the Monkey bread, I am so amaze on how the dishes is so tempting.

  6. Wow, this food looks so good! You are one lucky person to get to eat all these delicious foods.

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