Pala Casino Spa Resort seems to be in competition with itself.
Its flagship restaurant, The Oak Room, specializes in elegantly presented beef.
But at the Pala Café, just around the corner from the Oak Room, you can get filet mignon with grilled asparagus for $19.95.
You could, but I didn't. I ordered a New York strip steak topped with bleu cheese and onions for the same price. And it came with asparagus.
It was a satisfying and generous cut of meat.
The Oak Room is a place to go for special occasions, but I found the café to be special, too. The dining room has a warm, wood atmosphere with a touch of California Craftsman. (There is also seating in the food court.)
The café is always open, so there is a menu for every time of day. The breakfast menu includes the two-egg dishes for $5.95-$8.50 but also cantaloupe stuffed with cottage cheese or raspberry sorbet and served with fruits and fresh spearmint. The cost is $6.95.
Lunch options include a range of burgers for $7.95-$8.50.
There is also a range of specialty martinis for $6.
Desserts cost $4.95, and most diners seem torn between the cheesecake with strawberries and the strawberry shortcake. I'd go with the cheesecake.
Reach Fielding Buck at 951-368-9951 or fbuck@PE.com
What: Pala Café
Where: 11154 Hwy 76, Pala .
Type of food: California cuisine, features hamburgers, salads, sandwiches and steak.
Beverages: Wine list, beer and signature drinks.
Information: 877-946-7252, http://www.palacasino.com/dining/pala-cafe/