When my father visits he wants two things when dining out; a respectable California steak and a full liquor bar. For him I chose Jocko’s in Nipomo, with its incredible steaks, ranch style atmosphere with branding implements on the walls and a full bar with requisite gruff bartenders. With its down-home atmosphere, surly waitresses and lines out the door everyday, this is a mystery to most. What is not a mystery is the quality of the meat. People come from all over the country to sample the world’s best steak and they are never disappointed. My Dad is now one of the converts.
Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week, this restaurant is always busy but is worth the wait with huge portions and savory flavors. When I say huge, I mean Fred Flintstone sized meat servings. We were a party of fifteen on a Wednesday night when the special is Roast Turkey with all the trimmings. This is my favorite meal, like a mini thanksgiving. The turkey is heaped on the plate including white and dark meat, delightful mash potatoes, stuffing, cranberry, green beans, and rolls. Every time I order this,
I have leftovers to take home. If you want this special, you have to call 24 hours ahead and reserve it as they run out every week.
The table is set with a relish tray remnant of a 1950’s meal. Olives, celery, banana peppers, green onions, celery, and carrot slices are served with a try of single wrapped crackers and salsa. The salads are simple iceberg lettuce, carrot shavings with a big beet on top (which I promptly give to my Dad) and a healthy portion of dressing. Each huge serving of meat (the pork chops were bigger than my head) is served with baked potato or rice pilaf. The steaks are all cooked over a big oak barbeque pit out behind the restaurant. They are magnificent, aged perfectly and seasoned for flavor. All steaks come medium rare, anything more requires extra cooking time according to the menu. (They post a nice warning about this for extra sized items and pork chops). A thick filet will always take longer than an equal sized New York steak. The Spencer was amazingly tender, and cooked to precision. The flavor was superb. As was the extra sized New York, also cooked flawlessly. The pork chops were remarkable. I have never had better, fully cooked yet juicy and a great barbeque flavor. The sweet breads are a dying delicacy that is hard to find anywhere else and the finest I have had.
Jocko’s also has an Italian favorites menu, seafood and sandwiches. But go there for the steaks. I have traveled the world over, ate my way through most of it and never tasted a steak this perfect. Call for reservation and be prepared to wait even with those, but it is worth it. Locals learn to sit in the breezeway, as it is a bevy of activity, but no waiting. Another trick is to have a drink and a Stall Barbeque steak at the bar. The chopped steak is cut for you and served with bread and salsa, making it a perfect quick meal. Jocko’s is steeped with tradition and family- a perfect place to celebrate.
Located at the corner of Tefft and Thompson in Nipomo, call for reservations at (805) 929-3686. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday.