A meat and potatoes meal was on the mind, so a call to Pappas Bros. Steakhouse was made. Even though this venerable bastion for carnivores has been open in Dallas for a while, I had heard good things but never experienced it.
It was bustling when we arrived for our 7 pm dinner reservation. As it was Father’s Day weekend, the crowd was larger than predicted so we were asked to wait in the lounge. This side step to the bar was actually a wonderful way to start a leisurely evening. In this rushed world of 60-hour work weeks and nonstop inundation of news via our smartphone, computer and television sometimes we must force ourselves to slow down a little.
At this point, it was our realization that there was nothing on the docket for the evening except hopefully enjoying a great piece of meat. I understand now why our table had a slight delay as the dining experience at Pappas is not a rushed one.
The bar area was well-appointed with a knowledgeable staff. A look at the libations menu made us realize that this was a scotch drinkers heaven, or at least purgatory. The decor of the lounge, as well as the rest of the restaurant, was cozy with warm wood tones which seemed even warmer due to the dim lighting.
Isn’t that how you want your classic steakhouse? Dark enough so that some wine spillage on a white shirt might not be immediately recognizable? Almost like a sophisticated man cave with some Cole Porter or Sinatra playing in the distant background.
The decor was also punctuated by framed quotes. This was also the case in the bathrooms above the urinals. Who doesn’t love a good Freud quote when relieving oneself? My favorite little ditty, however, was from my fantasy dining companion, Fran Lebowitz: “My favorite animal is steak.”
Don’t be off-put by the fact that Pappas is technically a chain. Far too many millennials refuse to eat at widespread franchises or shop at big box corporate department stores. That said, this steakhouse is not your standard-fare chain (it’s no TGIF or Red Lobster). Pappas has been nationally recognized with numerous awards — and earned a spot on the Food Networks’ Top Five Steak Restaurants.
We decided to go with the porterhouse (dry aged, 26 ounce) and the grilled double lamb chops and share between us so that we experienced a variety. Pappas’ secret to mouth-watering steaks is their dry-aging process.
Apparently, there are only three written copies of the formula: one with the brothers themselves and one at each location. My dining companion commented that he always makes sure to rest his steaks between cooking and broiling. He swears that this would be a difficult process in a restaurant this size if they want to keep the tables turning.
However, when asking our server he was pleasantly surprised to hear that Pappas rests their steaks as well to ensure their highest quality meats shine through.
As we went through our courses and the evening we were assisted with our wine pairings by Pappas sommelier Simon Kenward. The selection is off-the-charts and he made sure we were always venturing out slightly from our standard choices and comfort zone. Pappas was just included on Wine Enthusiast’s list of America’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants of 2019 and were nominated as a 2018 and 2019 James Beard Award semifinalist for Outstanding Wine Program.
A Manly Meal?
Normally I’m not that meat and potatoes kind of guy as I generally steer towards chicken and fish. However, once and while one needs an almost bloody piece of meat. I had a conversation with some of my colleagues at the office (BTW: if you haven’t guessed I’m the only boy in the PaperCity Dallas crew) about the idea of a “manly meal.”
Does that sound sexist in today’s day and age? I aspire to always be politically correct and not err towards any stereotypes, however many of them shared that it’s true. As women, they did enjoy steak, but usually, it was a precise cut of meat — like a filet. Not the large, almost Flintstones–like portion that was the porterhouse we were indulging in at Pappas Bros.
I’m not going to suggest that the meat, the marquee star, wasn’t the highlight of the evening, but I do feel it necessary to give much-deserved kudos to one of the supporting cast: the lobster deviled eggs. These might now need to be on my death row last meal list (alongside French fries, of course). The devil truly is in these de-tails (yes, its meat from the lobster tail) that make up the dish found on the appetizers portion of the menu. The lobster, layered with bacon created a sweet and savory and definitely sexy pairing.
The appetizer options are all enticing, but I would suggest leaning towards the seafood offerings as we struck up a conversation with the couple at the table next to us and they were raving over the bacon wrapped scallops.
Deciding upon some shared side-dishes is often quite fun when dining at a classic steakhouse. For our evening at Pappas, we went with the fresh jumbo asparagus, jumbo lump crab mac and cheese, and of course creamed spinach. I honestly don’t think I have ever had that last dish outside of a steakhouse. The two are just always meant to be together, like David Rose and a high-end, Balmain sweatshirt (if you don’t get this Schitt’s Creek reference, then shame on you).
Pappas Bros. Steakhouse makes the claim to “put immeasurable care into everything we do.” The food was all that was promised but more than anything it was the pace of the meal that made for a thoroughly satisfying evening.
I didn’t save room for dessert, which wasn’t to say that I wouldn’t want some after getting home to savor while watching a few episodes of The West Wing, my new binge-watching obsession. The key lime pie and chocolate midnight cake both looked extremely tempting, but I decided to go with the chocolate “turtle” pie with crème anglaise. It was the fitting ending to a thoroughly indulgent evening.
I knew as I headed to bed that I would be paying for this meal for days to come at the gym. But it was oh-so worth it.
Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, 10477 Lombardy Lane, 214-366-2000, pappasbros.com.