As you walk through the glass doors of the Blazing Steaks Restaurant, a 4-foot knight-in-armor statue is there to greet you. Step to the right and you're in the softly lighted dining room.
If you're looking for a family-oriented restaurant with a nice atmosphere and traditional American fare, try this recently opened restaurant in Pasadena.
Located in Elizabeth Station Shopping Center on Fort Smallwood Road, Blazing Steaks has been in business since Feb. 11. My husband and I ate there on a recent Wednesday night and enjoyed an excellent steak dinner.
Although it appears small, the area seats up to 73 guests at either tables of four with upholstered low-back chairs or in hand-crafted, high-back upholstered booths.
The comfortable booths were designed and made by the owner and his father. The high booth backs are reminiscent of a royal throne, and also serve as a buffer for conversations.
To the left of the entrance is a modest pub that can serve up to 25 at either the bar or tables of four. There also is a private room in the rear of the building that serves as a banquet or party room for special occasions.
Although the atmosphere was quiet the night we were there -- there were only five other dining room customers at the time -- the food by a family of veteran restaurateurs is what stood out.
Blazing Steaks is owned by siblings Donna Finn, Eileen Richard and David Finn. David Finn is also the on-site operator and chef.
He and his family previously owned and operated Pearls in Annapolis, where they catered to the boating public and visitors to the city.
The food business is a basic part of David Finn's life. He also owns and operates the Breeze Cuisine Catering Co.
Our meal started with a tasty appetizer of spinach crostini, baguette slices with a spinach pate covered with creamy goat cheese accompanied by a sweet red pepper dip; and lobster Martini soup, a delicious thin cream soup on top of lobster chunks.
For our main course, I chose a 12-ounce New York strip steak, done to perfection with a light marinade, and my husband enjoyed a 14-ounce London broil. The beef was so tender you almost didn't need a knife to cut it. Each meal was accompanied by two side orders.
My husband chose freshly made "smashed" potatoes and a vegetable while I had a large "twice-baked" potato and a vegetable. All the items were fresh and not overcooked, attesting to the chef's skill. To finish the meal, we had bananas foster -- a flambe banana with ice cream that was impressively prepared tableside.
If you aren't a steak lover, Blazing Steaks has many other offerings -- chicken, pasta, seafood and vegetarian meals. Appetizers are $5.99 to $8.99, dinners are $12.99 to $35.99 (for the one-pound lobster tail) and desserts range from $2.75 to $5.99.
Blazing Steaks is at 8894 Fort Smallwood Road in Pasadena. It is open Tuesday through Saturday, with "early bird" specials from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Information: 410-439-4400.