Many critics and bloggers alike don’t think much of Restaurant Week. They bemoan the fact that newbies have crowded them out of their favorite tables during prime dining hours, and the fact that some establishments, even some with stellar reputations, have taken on an assembly-line, move-‘em-through quality that ensures maximum turnover of tables.
Happily, such is not the case at The Place at Perry’s, one of Dallas’ better steak palaces that prides itself on Niman Ranch beef, fresh seafood, and quality ingredients. Still, while the food was mostly excellent and the wine outstanding, service can often make or break a place during RW. In this case, our server came through with flying colors.
Kristen seems to have learned the fact that the fine art of service comes through correctly reading the table---that is, to be able to tell by often-subtle nonverbal cues whether to keep everything moving at a brisk pace, or slow it down just a tad if the customers seem to want to linger. My dining companion and I clearly showed that we were fine with a goodly pace early in the meal, but wanted to take it easy for a bit after dessert.
The Place at Perry’s denotes simple elegance, with basic foursquare tables, wall sconces, and tasteful celebrity photos on the walls for decoration. We especially liked the semi-enclosed, high-walled booths that conveyed intimacy without making us feel squirreled away from the rest of the room.
Wisely, we decided to order our RW repasts with wine pairings at $65 a person. Perry’s wine list is one of its most impressive features, designed to sate the palate without busting the budget. We began with salads (I wish Perry’s had offered a soup option, but such was not the case); my dining companion choosing a very good wedge with Maytag bleu cheese and crispy bacon bits. The salad was not overdressed, which is often a problem with a wedge, and it paired wonderfully well with Piper-Heidseick Brut champagne. My Classic Caesar sported some of the best house-made croutons I’ve had in a long time, and my companion so enjoyed her sip of my glass of accompanying Rodney Strong Sauvignon Blanc that she chose it as her nightcap later.
She also was delighted with her entrée, the Herb-Encrusted Rainbow Trout, which proved both flaky and buttery, paired with an old friend, Masi Mansianco Pinot Grigio. Meanwhile, my Niman Ranch New York Strip Au Poivre (an old-school preparation currently enjoying a comeback) was quite good although a bit fatty and cooked just a tad beyond the requested medium rare. In this case, the steak was saved by the gorgonzola topping and the outstanding Oberon Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine worthy of Shakespeare. Best of all were the desserts: A simple chocolate fudge cake for my companion and a creamy house made cheesecake with espresso topping for myself.
True to her calling, Kristen let us linger longer at the end, while we enjoyed glasses of the sauvignon blanc and the superb Bodega Norton Malbec Reserve. She also managed to work in a subtle pitch for Slider Saturdays, Perry’s promotion featuring gourmet mini-burgers, without making us feel like we were being sold. In any case, we were sold on The Place at Perry’s, and figure that we might just have to take her up on the offer.
THE PLACE AT PERRY’S
2911 Routh Street