Dallas’ Perry’s Steakhouse: Substance with Alluring Style
It is Friday lunchtime and I am at a media event at Perry’s Steakhouse in Dallas’ Uptown hedge fund ghetto. This is my first lunch visit to Perry’s and we are seated in the large circular bar at the front of the restaurant. It is packed! It is too early in the holiday season for office party season so this must be the usual crowd. Any number of Dallas restaurants would kill for this occupancy.
Down to business. Perry’s ambience is all about upscale appointment and ample room between tables. Great for private business or family meetings. Private rooms with a/v equipment add to the corporate attractiveness. Lunch time is very much a business scene while the evening is more eclectic, with couples destination dining and family and friends treating out-of-town visitors.
Perry’s keeps them coming back with personalized standards of service and an ever-evolving menu. You could start with cocktails (I did). The newly introduced Smoky Rita is built around Hornitos Black Barrel tequila shaken with DeKuyper 03 liqueur, lime juice and agave nectar. Be respectful to the sugar around one half of the rim - that be habanero sugar and is, shall we say, assertively hot. This is a the cocktail to order when you want to be shot, arse first, out of a cannon. Mango Passion Fizz, by contrast, is a demure exotic woman draped in a velvet wrap. Belvedere Mango Passion vodka provides the core. It is blended with DeKuyper peach liqueur, fresh pressed lemon and lime juice, and augmented with Chandon sparkling brut from California. The Mai Tai is a throwback to the old school, before it became drenched in sugar. The Cruzan light rum and Pyrat XO Reserve rum are shaken with fresh lime juice, Orgeat, and a dash of bitters. But the pièce de résistance is the vibrant purple hibiscus blossom adorning the top above a rim of hibiscus sugar.
I wasn’t sure whether I should eat or frame the appetizers, so elegant do they look on the plate. A tower of rich ahi tuna comes mixed with onion, ginger, scallions and avocado, all topped with teriyaki sauce and sesame seeds. Place it on the supplied wonton chips to eat if you wish. It is incontrovertible proof that ahi tuna towers are legalized crack. Tempura Fried Lobster coats its chunks of lobster tail in a robe of batter so fine that the flesh of the lobster is visible within. It is light enough to let the flavors of lobster shine through, unencumbered by oiliness. Pork Chop Bites are a teaser for the smoked pork chop among the mains. The chunks of meat are tossed in barbecue spice and sugar to encase them in a glistening glaze. In a nod to culinary tradition, the landing zone for the vertically positioned kebab is house apple sauce. As if just to gild the lily, each of these darlings gets its own sauce. Barbecue sauce for the pork chop bites, beurre fondue that reminded me of beurre blanc for the ahi, and an indescribably luscious and memorable miso butter for the lobster.
Kale is an ingredient that is switched ‘fad on’ at the moment. I can’t count the number of times I have been served it in the last couple of years. If I ran a restaurant, once a week I would do a ‘Stereotype Night’ and kale, along with deviled eggs and mac ‘n cheese, would occupy pride of place. Good news, chef Grant Hunter’s kale salad is the mitigating argument for keeping it on the regular menu. Cognizant that kale is tough and chewy in texture, he slices it into fine ribbons. To make it sensual he bathes it in a precisely tuned jalapeño mint vinaigrette. The pecorino romano sheets, dash of anchovy paste, and pan fried (in EVOO) micro-croutons don’t hurt either. The whole is resultingly enjoyable and light. Hunter’s taste in olive oil is single press Italian, clouds ‘n all.
Main courses come in depth. In addition to a full line of prime steak cuts there is a pork chop and a strong suite of seafood (favored by twenty percent of patrons, I am told). I am served chateaubriand cooked to a gorgeous rose pink hue and paired with asparagus battered with seasoned bread crumbs and topped with jumbo lump blue crab. Three ramekins of sauce accompany the dish: merlot finished with truffle, a classic béarnaise, and roasted peppercorn. Our three sides consisted of sherried button mushrooms, au gratin potatoes (using smoked gouda and white cheddar and béchamel sauce), and roasted sriracha Brussels sprouts. The sprouts are flash fried and then tossed with a sriracha caramel sauce (presumably honey and sriracha mixed together) nuanced with a little fish sauce, taking a hint from Asian cooking.
As an off-menu item Perry’s features gold label Snake River Farms eye of the ribeye and New York strip as well as Akaushi beef. The lamb on the menu is grass fed New Zealand (for its flavor profile). The ahi tuna is grade 1 (sashimi grade). So pickiness in ingredient selection is very evident. I really enjoyed the earthy, sinuous USDA Choice chateaubriand meat, especially with the bearnaise sauce.
In the event that you have room for dessert, try the Chocolate Crunch. It is basically a solid hazelnut flavored chocolate topped with chocolate ganache and Heath crumble. Don’t complain that it looks too small, it is denser than depleted uranium, but much more tasty.
Perry’s has a great selection of specialty cocktails, in a program created by corporate beverage director Susi Zivanovic, local beers, spirits, and a full wine list. I tried their ‘Perry’s’ label Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, made for them by respected producer Amici Cellars. A good choice for drinking with the meal, it respects the care in the food with its precise marriage of Napa fruit with new French oak. Coming soon hopefully, some Texas wines.
If you live in Dallas and want a special night out and steak takes your fancy. Or if you are visiting town and want a memorable business meal, then Perry’s is a choice where you can’t go wrong. Visitors will be pleased that it is only a 15-minute Uber/Lyft ride from Dallas’ Love Field airport (DAL) and within easy reach of the freeway that goes to Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW).