Nestled inside the rather dated and horror movie-esque Hotel Circle is The Hunter, a classic steakhouse covered in wood, taxodermed animal heads and vinyl booths. A steak sounded great...but at 8:30 in Hotel Circle our options were limited...I didn't want to drive far because I wanted a beer or two...and I wasn't going to take our 4 month old into Ruth's Chris or Mortons...Enter The Hunter, frankly I thought it was ""The Hungry Hunter"" a long time staple of Ventura...it turns out they were quite similar. I had the NY strip ordered medium rare, garlic mashed potatoes and the seasonal veggies. The steak was a bit overcooked for M-Rare, yet still retained a great beef flavor. Simply seasoned and broiled at a high temp, the cook did a great job of retaining the classic flavor of the meat without doing ""too much."" I'd guess the meat was USDA choice, a good balance of red meat to marbling. The garlic mashed potatoes were wonderful! Creamy, textured and complete with the red skin left on! Again, understated notes of garlic, butter and salt did a good job of keeping things simple. The veggies were bland...simply sauteed in butter...not bad, just not Earth moving. A neat addition was the ""create your own salad"" the lovely waitress brought out a complete set of veggies and we picked our salads...decent, fresh but again, simple.
Service was pleasant, undoubtedly staffed by college kids...which I appreciate...They were courteous, prompt and even showed some personality.
In the end, I'd never compare this to a Morton's or Ruth's Chris...but for the price, speed of service and overall impression...I'd recommend the Hunter to the no nonsense foodie looking for a decent piece of meat.
Pros: well cut meat, plentiful sides, no going overboard
Cons: I've seen better desserts in the frozen food aisle