Sunday, January 27, 2008

'Hoity' ...

I had to fly down to Dallas on Thursday for my company's annual meeting. Well, it's not my company. It's the company for which I work. My boss lives in Dallas and our accountant lives in Dallas, and Chicago in January is no bargain, so everyone convened in Dallas.

Friday, it was 40 and rainy. Alas.

Thursday night, though, Ethan picked me up at the airport. We had made plans to have dinner, me and Eth and his wife, Marlena. Sadly, she was tied up with a last-minute work thing, so Eth and I were left to fend for ourselves. As we sat through some of the most ridiculous traffic I've ever seen, he asked where we were having the company dinner the next night.

"Um, it's a steakhouse. Starts with a P?" I said.


"Yeah, that sounds right," I said.

"Wow," he said. "It's hoity."

Hoity. I filed that away. It didn't surprise me that my boss would pick a hoity place. He's quite the oenophile, and if you're going to drink good wine, you want good food to go with it.

Thursday night, my colleague Kelley filled me in on the dinner plan. Turned out, we weren't just having dinner. We were having a wine tasting first. And there would be twelve of us. And we had the private dining room.

Huh. OK. We walked into the restaurant Friday night and I thought it looked nice, but "hoity" didn't register. A group of us headed to the bar to wait for the rest of our party. I ended up with a glass of 21-year-old scotch. Nice stuff.

When everyone had arrived, we filed through the restaurant to the private room. (Here's where it starts to get hoity.) What must have been every member of the staff stood to the side, lining the path to the dining room, welcoming us. Ooo-kay.

The room was beautiful. Very dimly lit. One wall, which must not be fixed, was covered in beautiful beveled mirrors. The opposite wall, the wall behind where I sat, was a large window overlooking part of the wine cellar. One wall was bins and bins of wine. The fourth wall, the wall with the door, also featured a large oil painting of someone who I presume was named Pappas.

Our sommelier for the evening was tall and dashing, charming and funny. Pretty much everything you want in a sommelier, beyond his knowledge of wine.

I don't know a lot about wine. I know what I like. I know what I don't. But I'm not versed on what years are great for what varietals in what region and all that.

The full name of the restaurant is Pappas Bros. Steakhouse and it's been voted the best steakhouse in Texas. So even though the lamb chops were the first thing that caught my eye on the menu, I thought I should opt for beef. When in Texas, after all ...

You'll note that the online version of the menu doesn't feature prices. I'm sure that's a practical decision, so the site doesn't need to be updated every time the menu changes, but I believe the 8 oz. filet was the least-expensive entree. If memory serves, it was $34.95. And what did it come with?

The plate. Side dishes hovered around $10 each. "Hoity" was starting to come into sharper focus.

I opted for a cup of lobster bisque to start. Lobster velvet. Very nice.

Our server informed us that there was a special that evening of a petite filet and a lobster tail, served with mashed potatoes and asparagus.

There was no need to continue looking at the menu once I heard that.

The steak came napped with bernaise sauce, presumably because more fat is always better.

I must say, it was the finest piece of beef I'd ever eaten. The flavor was incredible. The texture was incredible. Really. Perfection.

Someone ordered lobster to be served to those who might want a little lobster with whatever they ordered. And several sides came along, including the roasted wild mushrooms, which easily could have been my dinner. They were sensational. I passed on the haricot verts and creamed spinach, though.

The wines that were selected to pair with dinner were both really lovely. I don't remember the names of either, but the one I liked best was from 1996. The bottles were large. Several liters each. My boss had each of us sign them with a silver Sharpie.

When we were in the bar earlier, I noticed many desserts coming out of the kitchen, specifically the New York cheesecake. So when it was time to order dessert, I had to go for it. I only ate two bites (and it was a mammoth piece of cheesecake) but one of my co-workers ate a good portion of it for me. I still had a few sips of my scotch waiting for me, a very nice finish to a sensational meal.

We were there for about five hours, I'm guessing. At the end of the evening, our sommelier gave a few of us a quick tour of the wine cellar. I can now say that I've seen a $70,000 bottle of wine.

So, in the end, Ethan was spot on: Pappas Bros. is hoity, but not in an ostentatious way. No one put my napkin in my lap for me. But the service was top-notch, the food was exceptional, the atmosphere was beautiful, and it was all very relaxed.

If you ever find yourself in Dallas, do yourself a favor and visit.


Anonymous Alison said...

OK, this post made me drool.

*licks chops*

11:03 PM  
Blogger Mercurie said...

Wow. It sounds like it was a good place to eat. If I ever get back to Dallas, I'll have to stop by there.

6:51 PM  
Anonymous Mikeachim said...

The good kind of Hoity. Like the good kind of Elitism. Check. I hate it when good quality feels ashamed that it stands above the rest. Let's celebrate it, dagnab it. Let's aspire.

$70,000. *huge gulp that starts in my boots*

Mind you, I was reeling a little from seeing an exclusive shop in York that had a watch in the window for sale for £4,500/$9,000.

(One of those Omegas that Daniel Craig wore in 'Casino Royale', in fact).

I'd rather have a hundred hoity meals, personally. :)

5:21 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

Okay, I'll go there if I am in Dallas, but only if you're buying :)

Seriously, it sounds delectable, but I could never spend that much on one meal! Of course if someone else is paying, then by all means.

4:55 PM  

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