When is the last time you visited Pappas Bros. Steakhouse? I stopped into the Dallas location of the Texas institution recently, and was reminded why it’s one of my absolute favorite places to dine in Dallas, and not just for a special occasion … but even to watch a Mavs game at the bar after work.
This may SEEM like a man’s paradise thanks to the thick-cut steaks and cigar and rare spirits collections, but it’s also mine.
This Texas institution with locations in Dallas and Houston is best known for its award-winning wine program and premium dry-aged steaks, but we went to revisit their famous holiday cocktail feature, the Christmas in Kentucky Manhattan. This beauty was created by GM Rick Turner and has returned year after year because, well, it’s delicious. Beautifully combining Buffalo Trace, Giffard Vanille, Cointreau, and St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, this cocktail warms you from the inside-out.
We also tried out the new chef’s newest appetizer offerings, and each was better than the last. My favorite was the Hudson Valley Foie Gras served with a fermented blueberry reduction. I’ll be returning soon for that alone.
The Dallas wine program boasts more than 3,900 selections and an inventory of 35,000+ bottles. If you’re not having at least one glass of wine at this institution, you’re doing it wrong.
They’re all spiffed up for the holidays right now, so stop in for a tummy-warming Christmas in Kentucky Manhattan and stay for a steak and a song!
Dallas’s Ocean Prime just hit its 10th Anniversary in the heart of Uptown, and to show their gratitude to all of the thirsty (and hungry) Dallasites that have showed them the love the last 10 years, they offered a 10 Years, 10 Items, $10 special menu during the month of January in the OP Lounge and on the newly renovated terrace.
The Ocean Prime favorites that graced the menu were their best-sellers, and for a good reason. The OP experts I’m sure could rattle them off … but for those that are less familiar with their steak- and seafood-heavy menu, we’ll list them so you can seem like you know JUST what you’re doing next time you visit.
> Cocktails: Berries & Bubbles, Black Orchid, Cucumber Gimlet, Pine Fin Martini
> Food: calamari, goat cheese ravioli, sushi, ahi tuna tartar, 10 layer carrot cake, peanut butter torte
Although everything on the 10 Years, 10 Items was delightful, The Berries and Bubbles cocktail shines as the MOST INSTAGRAMMABLE in the lineup. The secret ingredient is dry ice that creates a bubbly, misty and energetic drink that not only tastes delicious, but will have everyone in the bar asking what it is so they can get one, too. (Susie’s note: Make before you set the trend to let all the dry ice smoke off or be VERY CAREFUL sipping it … because that s**t’s dangerous if ingested.)
> BLACK ORCHID (14): Three Olives Berry, St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur, lemon, white cranberry juice > BERRIES & BUBBLES ($14): Belvedere Citrus Vodka, marinated berries, house made sour, Domaine Chandon Brut, dry ice
Ocean Prime recently unveiled a new spin on their calamari appetizer. The calamari is still marinated in buttermilk for 24 hours before crisping up in the fryer, but now they’re using a special blend of chili, hoisin and light soy sauces to add extra, deep flavor to the seafoodie favorite. The addition of julienne carrots, scallions, red bell peppers, Mung bean sprouts and candied cashews on top is unlike any calamari we have tried. THIS IS A MUST ORDER!
If you have room (I mean … you kind of have to save room), then you can’t pass on the 10 Layer Carrot Cake. This is another OP fan favorite. With just the right amount of sweetness to satisfy your sweet tooth, this cake will guarantee you go home with a smile on your face.
Ocean Prime is a PRIME spot for happy hour or even just a quick glass of red to wash down their ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY DELICIOUS TRUFFLE POPCORN. No need for reservations, just pop in during happy hour after work to eat, drink and enjoy the mild Dallas winter on the newly renovated enclosed terrace oasis! (Susie’s note: Make sure you say hi to the Marcos at the bar … both will show you some really incredible hospitality.)
Carnivores, rejoice! The Dallas-Fort Worth area will now boast a brand new Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille. Perry’s third DFW outpost, a stunning 10,000 square foot restaurant in Grapevine that will accommodate 400 guests, opened on February 5.
Upon entering the restaurant you will immediately recognize Perry’s signature restaurant style, but will also be treated to a vibrant new color palette, lighting, textures, sweeping sight-lines in the dining room, and dazzling use of glass throughout. Thanks to the lovely layout and always stellar service that one is to expect from Perry’s, the venue is the perfect location for a romantic dinner, business dinner, or simply a happy hour to decompress.
I was the lucky one who attended their “sneak peek” media dinner last week where we were treated to a bevy of Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille favorites.
Pork chop bites: Small skewered, bite-sized morsels of their famous pork chop. Paired with the Straight Paloma
Chateaubriand (Beef Tenderloin): Carved tableside and served with truffle merlot demi-glace, Bernaise, and Peppercorn reduction sauces Paired with 2015 Perry’s Reserve Cabernet
Perry’s Signature fried asparagus: Asparagus topped with jumbo lump crabmeat
Chocolate Crunch: Crunchy milk chocolate covered with a dark chocolate ganache served with homemade whipped cream, toffee, and peanut brittle. Paired with Jameson Mocha Old Fashioned
The standouts were the pork chop bites, the chateaubriand, and the fried asparagus topped with jumbo lump crabmeat. The bites have a savory-sweet caramelization on all sides and are served with a house made applesauce. (Susie’s note: get a little applesauce in every bite. It’s the perfect pairing!) The chateaubriand comes with a choice of sauces—the truffle merlot demi-glace, bursting with rich umami flavor, was my personal favorite.
Grabbing a seat at the bar for Perry’s popular Social Hour (their happy hour, available in the bar only) is always a fantastic idea. There, you can revel in the view of Bar 79’s towering wine wall which includes hundreds of wines, including Perry’s private label reserve Chardonnay and Cabernet, that perfectly complement the menu. During Perry’s Social Hour, you can wind down from a day of work and enjoy an array of bar bites, as well as wine, craft beer, and cocktail specials.
While tackling the famous 7-finger pork chop seems like a worthy culinary feat, knowing I can walk into the bar at anytime and order the bite-size version feels like an indulgence all its own. Make sure and order the “Strait Paloma” to enjoy alongside it. It’s an exceptional cocktail that pairs with the bites beautifully. You can also taste-test the martini menu with their “Pick Three” martini flight which is always fun. Social Hour is held Monday-Friday from 4-7 p.m. and Sunday 4-9 p.m.
And every Friday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Grapevine (and all Perry’s Steakhouse locations) will offer their Perry’s Signature Famous $14.95 Pork Chop lunch special which includes whipped potatoes and applesauce. This is truly a deal. (Susie’s note: This is a full lunch for me, and at least an additional meal. There has never been a better quesadilla made than one with leftovers from Pork Chop Fridays!)
With their competition reinventing their menus with less items, there’s a new fire under TGIF’s behind. Their answer: do what they do, just better and for less cost to the consumer.
Friday’s is overhauling their entire menu, meaning new apps, entrees, sides, drinks, and more. TGI Friday’s new Choose Two menu dropped today and it’s all about fire-grilled meats … and good ones, at that. There are 15 different combinations for you to try, each for just $14.99.
First up: Philly Cheesesteak Egg Rolls and the Philly Cheesesteak Burger. We have yet to find someone who doesn’t love egg rolls (we held a poll in the tasting to prove ourselves right), so it only makes sense to American-ize them into a Philly Cheese-take (pun intended) appetizer. The burger’s patty is juicy and topped with a cheesy pepper concoction that you’ll fork off the plate after it falls off the burger. Don’t worry – if you order the burger, you get an egg roll on top. (Because burgers are better with an appetizer on top.)
As for the new Grilled Meats menu … all of Friday’s meats are grilled fresh on the fire and never frozen, and they’re moving to higher quality cuts that give the guest a nicer amount of meat with less effort cutting around the less desirable bits. We won’t go through all the different meat and side combinations you can get—they’re all pretty damn good, so just pick your favorite(s). We will, however, tell you about all the juicy, fire-grilled meats you can now get …
Premium Center Cut Sirloin: 6oz seasoned with hickory smoked sea salt, topped with parmesan butter. Dragon Glazed Salmon: Atlantic salmon fillet brushed with sweet and spicy Korean BBQ sauce, topped with mango pico de gallo. Big Ribs: 30% meatier, bolder, tastier premium pork back ribs, cooked low and slow in house. (The new ribs launched in October and have been a hit.) Parmesan Crusted Chicken: topped with a white poblano queso and toasted with crispy parmesan bread crumbs. Bacon-Wrapped Grilled Shrimp: two skewers of three large jumbo shrimp, wrapped in hardwood smoked bacon and brushed with parmesan butter sauce. 14-ounce Bone-In New York Strip: this cut is ridiculously juicy and flavorful … not to be missed. It’ll give some steakhouses a run for their money.
New sides were also recently introduced to accompany these delicious meats—crispy Brussel sprouts, baked mac & cheese and giant onion rings. All of which were equally “souped-up” recently. Their standard mashed potatoes aren’t anything to shy away from, though … they fold in cheese to make them rich and they’re nearly impossible to hold yourself back from eating the whole pile.
The important thing to remember here is your eyes may be hungrier than your stomach, but that’s okay because they have to-go boxes for you to take things home.
Along with the new entree options, they’ve released two new cocktails, the Magic Lemon Drop Martini and their take on a Hurricane. They’ve been making efforts to move their bar to a “clean bar” concept—no fake colors or ingredients, just good, clean, quality ingredients.
The Magic Lemon Drop is cool on many fronts—visually, because of it’s greatly contrasting purple and yellow colors; experientially, because you get to be your own mixologist with the garnish by dropping it in and watching the color change; and Boomerang-worthy, because they use butterfly pea tea extract. The BPT extract is a new, trendy cocktail ingredient that makes a cocktail blue, and then changes color when some ingredients are added—purple with acidic ingredients, pink with a high pH ingredient. Less new, but still a stunner, their take on the traditional hurricane is fresh and delicious, made so partly because of the fresh passion fruit puree they use.
Some people say you haven’t done Dallas if you haven’t been to The Perot, or a Cowboys/Mavs/Stars game … others would say that you have to visit Reunion Tower, the Dallas Zoo, or Pioneer Plaza to genuinely do Dallas right. While all of those experiences are uniquely Dallas, I would argue that you haven’t really done Dallas right until you’ve eaten at Y.O. Ranch.
Currently the oldest steakhouse in the city following the unfortunate closing of The Palm (we know Wally and Bruce will be back in even more legendary fashion before we know it), Y.O. is quintessential Texas. It’s chef-owned with a menu offering some of the best meats and game Texas has to offer with a Hill Country twang and a bar offering creative takes on classics.
The restaurant has all the romantic charms of ranch life; think antler chandeliers, brick arches, supple leather seats, a hostess stand wrapped in cow hide … it’s basically Texas in a restaurant. Soak in the ambiance as classic country plays and head to one of their two bars to try the new set of cleverly crafted cocktails.
I started with the cocktail of the month, a riff on an Old Fashioned, the El Jefe; a bold Anejo tequila-based drink with orange zest, agave nectar, and a dash of cinnamon. The Anejo is complemented well by the cinnamon and orange zest for a taste that has that familiar tequila zing, but the richness of a whiskey based drink. It starts to transform into something slightly sweeter that actually leans towards an Old Fashioned as the melted ice, orange oils, and cinnamon dovetail with the tequila at the bottom of the glass. Next up was a Black Manhattan. It’s an interesting new take a on the classic—rye whiskey, vermouth, and black walnut bitters. Smooth, sultry, and draped in rye; it’s a solid way to start and end an evening. Thus, I opted for another drink since the night was just beginning. The last spirit I imbibed before diving into dinner was the Dirty Marshall, arefreshing cocktail bristling with citrus from the lime garnished grapefruit beverage made with Herman Marshalls’ excellent rye whiskey mixed with mint simple syrup, The Dirty Marshall is an exceptional summertime sidekick.
After enjoying my spirited visit to the bar, I decided it was time to take the plunge into Y.O.’s renowned cuisine. The meal started with the Wild Game Mixed Grill, a wild boar sausage link, venison with mozzarella and jalapeño-wrapped in bacon, and chicken fried quail breast all resting on a bed of wild rice made me wonder why they led with a winner. The boar was spicy, juicy, and cooked just right. The bacon-wrapped venison hid cheesy, peppered, elk under its salty crunch; and it was delicious and exciting like the nostalgia of finding the hidden toy inside a box of Cracker Jacks. Finally, the chicken fried quail was an surprise with its eager crunch blanketing a moist and flavorful breast. All of this masterfully made game framed by precisely prepared wild rice was a superb way to start the meal.
The Tomato Burrata Salad (fresh buffalo burrata, beefsteak tomatoes, and fresh basil drizzled with EVOO and balsamic reduction) was a refreshing palate cleanser to prepare for the Chilean Sea Bass. Caramelized and crusted for the perfect crunch and served with a sweet miso glaze, it is buttery, flaky and flavorful. Done a la carte, the Maple Dijon Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon were astonishing. Lightly roasted and wilted on the outside with a savory, earthy crunch on the inside; these are hands down the best Brussel sprouts I’ve ever had, and I usually hate the little green monsters. Not to be outdone, their Buffalo Filet Au Poive, YO’s signature dish, is served crusted with black pepper and crowned with a green peppercorn cognac cream, this is a truly memorable dish. Lean, rich, and flavorful, I enjoyed every bite.
Resting in a nearly comatose state, I didn’t think it could get better … until they brought out their Lemon Brittle topped with Prickly Pear Sorbet and fresh berries. Beautiful, tart and bitingly sweet, I could only handle a few bites before a brain freeze/sugar high kicked in.
My time at YO was a revelation. After a meal that made dining a borderline religious experience, it’s easy to see why US News and World Report were such big fans. The new dinner menu is fantastic and the specialty cocktails are well balanced and creative takes on classics.
While there are many ways to experience a city, I’d like to offer a close-minded word of advice: Don’t come to Dallas if you aren’t planning to go to Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse. Otherwise, you won’t be authentically visiting the southwest, you won’t be genuinely visiting Texas, and you definitely won’t be legitimately visiting Dallas; you’ll just be simply be wasting your time.
I love a classic steakhouse, as any decent Texan (or honorary Texan, thankyouverymuch) should. That said, feasting on a 22oz ribeye … in a suit a tie … with the smokiest, oldest scotch on the menu … in a dimly lit cave of masculinity isn’t for everyone. The Grill on the Alley at Galleria Dallas realizes this; enter their decision to introduce some fresh, new menu items that extend beyond the requisite Porterhouse and baked potato. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that … it’s a thing of beauty, really.) Also in the works: a new, more contemporary look and feel. (The first thing to go will be the white table cloths.)
New seafood starters with a decidedly exotic flair have been added to the lineup. The Crab & Hamachi Roll (avocado, mango, tobiko, lime, $17) and Ahi Tuna Poke (onion shoyu, tobiko, avocado, wonton, $18) are fresh, light and delicious. Looking for something a bit more indulgent? (OK, absurdly more indulgent.) Check out the Nueske’s Slab Bacon ($15) with a maple bourbon glaze. Holy meat candy, Batman.
Other lovely options that have been added to the lineup include a beautiful Sea Scallop entree served pan-seared with a smoked carrot puree ($36) and a bone-in Pork Tomahawk Chop ($35)with apple compound butter … and at 14oz this bad boy chop is well-suited for sharing. (Or, not. Being selfish is cool, too.) If The Grill’s new offerings have you wondering, “Where’s the beef?”, fear not. A 14oz Prime New York Strip ($49) has been added to the menu, too. All praise the god of red meat.
You won’t want to miss out on The Grill’s side dishes, with offerings like Roasted Vegetables (sweet potatoes and brussels sprout leaves are the star performers, $11) and Lobster Mash Potatoes ($25).
And by all means, save room for dessert. Stacked 6 layers high, The Grill’s Coconut Cake is glorious, if also a bit intimidating.
The Grill On the Alley offers Happy Hour Sunday through Friday, 4-7pm, and Sunday from 11am-7pm, with special prices on cocktails, beer, wine, and bites. See details here.
The Grill On the Alley- Galleria Dallas 3270 Dallas Parkway, Dallas, TX 75240
During a recent staycation at the Hilton Anatole, I was delighted to try their steakhouse, SĒR Steak + Spirits, on the 27th floor. This is one button I enjoyed pushing entirely too much. But I pushed it … and I pushed it good. My girl Tiffany joined me for dinner and we were absolutely blown away by each and every one of the courses presented by Executive Chef Kevin Spencer and every drink by Colin Silva.
The drinks kept us on our toes (and put us on our asses) thanks to the unique flavor profiles and the unexpected extras. This is one of the places I’d suggest handing the reigns to the bar team; they’ll make you something intriguing and unique. The scotch cocktail we were treated to (below) was delightfully smoky thanks to the peatiness of the spirit, but was still surprisingly light. The preparation for the cocktails was involved and completely worth the short wait.
SĒR’s kitchen offers reimagined versions of some basic options and quite a few all-new dishes. The perfect example is their Steak Tar Tar that closely resembles a deviled egg but brings so much more to the table. Be ready for a rich mouthful here.
The Caesar Salad was such a stand-out that I ended up visiting a second time in just one weekend to have it again. It’s perhaps the coolest salad … ever. This thing is a slab of leafy greens with “deconstructed croutons”, flowers, and even Pop Rock-like crystals that keep your mouth more than entertained. The best part of this salad was the dressing. Through some sciencey process, Chef Kevin creates egg yolk-like pods of dressing so you control your dressing to lettuce ratio. I like being in control.
The entrees were just as enticing. The seafood was fresh (the fish was light and flaky) and the steak was as tender as it could be. The Texas Caviar accompanying the steak we were served gave it a delightful, spicy snap.
Dessert was just as unique as the preceding dishes. One dessert (not yet on the menu) boasted grapes prepared three different ways accompanying ice cream and a buttery crumble. The Millionaire Pie was also a delight with the perfect balance between the tartness of the raspberry sorbet and the creaminess of the vanilla ice cream.
Being from Arlington, my family ventured over to Fort Worth often. But visiting Dallas was a trek. It felt like we packed a lunch and asked our neighbor to feed the dog when we came over here. One of the first meals I recall having in Dallas was a perfectly cooked steak at Pappas Bros. with a side of their famous scalloped potatoes. While I felt quite pretentious telling people my favorite restaurant was Pappas Bros., I’ve never been much of a liar.
For this reason, when I heard that they were releasing their new seasonal cocktail menu, I jumped at the chance to meet a buddy for dinner and try all of the new offerings. And kids … they’re damn good.
COFFEE OLD FASHIONED (Cognac, coffee simple syrup, bitters) How do you make an Old Fashioned better? Well … you shouldn’t really f**k with them … but if you do, change as little as possible. Their coffee simple syrup added just a bit of intrigue to the standard cocktail, which they have always done quite well here.
SWEDISH CHAMPAGNE ELIXIR (Absolut Elyx, Grower Champagne, vanilla liqueur, pineapple, lemon, strawberry, Angelica, cinnamon) Guys … this cocktail is somethin’ else. If you read my first #DrinkingWithSusie, you’ll know the significance of the badass copper pineapple from Absolut Elyx, but the delicious potion inside is a different story. It was like dessert in a cup. I think (read: I know) it’s meant to be shared as it holds about three standard cocktails, but I killed this all on my own.
FINE & DANDELION (reposado tequila, apricot brandy, lime, cinnamon, Burdock Dandelion Soda) Being one who doesn’t love tequila, I have to admit that this cocktail is quite well done. The soda itself is incredibly flavorful, lending a touch of ginger spice to the cocktail while the apricot brandy brings in a hint of sweetness.
NEW YORK SOUR (bourbon, lemon, cabernet) I have to say that my favorite thing about a New York Sour is the perfect simplicity of it. They did this classic drink very well … and it looks sexy as hell.
PEAR COBBLER (Manzanilla Sherry, pear, lemon, grapefruit, black pepper) This slightly remixed cobbler (sherry + fruit) is light and perfect for the warm weather ahead. The fresh pepper milled on top adds just a bit of spice to make this drink delightfully well balanced. (Want to try this at home? Check out the “Cocktail of the Week” feature of it on DallasObserver.com for the recipe.)
We snacked on some appetizers to get us through all of the cocktails–the Fried Oysters and their Texas Selection of Cheeses. I always miss the chance to get appetizers (or know better than to order them) as I know I’m going to eat my weight in steak and potatoes shortly. It’s something I need to remember, though, because both were absolutely incredible. I think I’ll need to make this an after-work stop for a cocktail and app more often … and you’re all welcome to join me if you don’t hog the sharp cheddar.