Every August, Dallas diners eagerly anticipate the coming of KRLD Restaurant Week. This charity event is argueably the premier culinary event of the Metroplex, as patrons salivate in anticipation of dining in some of the cities high-end palaces, such as III Forks and Ruth's Chris, for just $35 per person for a set menu. Most participant businesses see this event as a loss leader: a chance to do something good for charity and maybe pick up some new customers in the bargain. My lovely wife the Rock Star and myself were looking foreward to revisiting one of our favorite places and made the much-sought-after reservations accordingly.
To our horror, this establishment (which I will not name) sent back a response saying that the time we had selected for our reservation (7PM Saturday night) was unacceptable for the Restaurant Week menu, and that if we wanted said menu, we would need to rebook before 5:15PM or after 8:30PM, or else pay the regular price. I feel that while such a request is understandable (they want to accomodate patrons who wish to pay full fare), it seriously violates the spirit and intent of this charitable gala, and regulates such patrons to the status of second-class citizens. Therefore, my wife and I shrugged our collective shoulders, vowed that this businesses loss would be another restaurants gain, and accordingly resolved to try Steve Fields Steak and Lobster Lounge, which accepted our booking without reservations (pun intended).
Steve Fields is the brainchild of the owner of the same name, a 23-year veteran of the Dallas restaurant wars. His head chef is Johnny Carino, best known as the creator of the chain of quality, affordable establishments known as Johnny Carinos Country Italian. After dining there on a recent Saturday evening, I'm pleased to report that Steve Fields has gained two new customers.
The decor of Steve Fields can best be described as contemporary steakhouse, clubby yet surprisingly intimate and informal. Sinatra (what else) was playing, although a first-rate female piano/vocalist started her set shortly after our arrival. We settled comfortably into a two-person booth along the wall, and perused the menu.
Like many Restaurant week places, Steve Fields offered the guest a choice between a few soup-or-salad choices, half a dozen beef or seafood entrees, and a selection of three desserts, with an optional appetizer for a nominal charge.
If the charity menu is indeed representative of the main menu, then its clear Steve Fields is a top-tier restaurant in the area. My wife and I started with the appetizer, a delightful mini crab cake with plenty of real crab and little filler topped with a spicy saffron tartar sauce similar to remoulade. We quickly inhaled it in a few bites and eagerly awaited our next dish. The Rock Star has become particularly fond of Caesar salads; how appropriate, since she is married to a Caesar (Czar)! Hers contained plenty of excellent romaine, cheese, dressing, and just a touch of anchovies. Bellisimo! As a newly-converted soupaholic, I opted for the lobster bisque, a sumptuous blend of real Maine lobster with more than a touch of carmelized sweetness. Since both steak and lobster are mentioned in the name, I tried to convince my bride to opt for the lobster tail, but to no avail. (It seems women have minds of their own. Imagine that!) She instead decided on the Atlantic salmon, which came topped with a plethora (wow!) of lump crabmeat. She was very satisfied with its flaky-fresh taste, although she confessed she would have preferred her own beloved Alaskan variety. (In her other life, she is a frequent visitor to Anchorage.) For myself, I could not pass up the filet, which was six ounces and perfectly cooked medium as requested, in its own juices and fork-tender. Both entrees were accompanied by tasty smoked cheese mashed potatoes, and julienne vegetables (yellow squash, zuchinni, and red pepper). For an extra $15 per person, our courses each came with wine pairings, which included a pinot grigio, Moet White Star champagne (the dryness of which cut the sweetness of the bisque very nicely), chardonnay, and cabernet sauvignon (I WAS having steak!): all were simply marvelous. We finished our marvelous meal with a delightful raspberry cheesecake and a butter, caramel, and chocolate cream cake, whose buttery, brown-sugary goodness rivaled any dessert we have ever tasted, both for flavor and intensity. In fact, the Rock Star was quoted as saying, "It was so good, it was almost inedible. Almost." That may sound strange, but I knew exactly what she meant. (We husbands are sometimes good at that!)
Throughout our meal, our waitress Sammie balanced our needs with her responsibility of turning over the table very nicely. This gracious welcome was in sharp contrast to our treatment at another well-known Dallas establishment during Restaurant Week several years ago, where a very rude and condescending waiter turned us against the place, probably for life. We have not been back since.
The site should be www.stevefieldsrestaurant.com, but my recent attempts to access it met with failure. Perhaps you'll have better luck, or call 972 596-7100, and ask if this is a temporary situation.
Steve Fields has definitely earned our repeat business. Also, if you'd like to see the concept of Restaurant Week in your town and none is in the offing, why not pester your local radio station or newspaper to start one? In the meantime, while in the Dallas area, visit Steve Fields Steak and Lobster Lounge, and remember:
LIFE IS TOO SHORT FOR MEDIOCRE FOOD!!!