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Food Travel

Dallas: Pappas Bros. Steakhouse

N32° 52.0213′, W096° 53.8537′

As much as I like Newark as a city-ish town, Newark is not that great when it comes to food. There are no steakhouses around the area besides some usual chains, let alone any proud family owned restaurants. There are a couple of restaurants that I am willing to travel to enjoy a great meal, including the infamous Peter Ludger’s in Brooklyn, but so far I had not have those opportunities. During my short stay in Dallas, my friend decided that we should get what he thinks is the best steak in town and that made me ecstatic. This is also one that has a fierce family tradition and nothing beats the same old when it comes to food.

Pappas Bros. Steakhouse.
Pappas Bros. Steakhouse.

Pappas Bros had come a long way. There is a sign at the entrance that says “proper attire required”. I assume that meant suit and tie for the guys, and dress for the ladies. It is obvious that these rules are not reinforced anymore because the family standing in front of us were dressed in Hawaiian shirts and shorts. I didn’t feel that underdressed considering that I at least have a button down; Albert, on the other hand, is taking advantage of this opportunity and wore his jacket. It made little sense to make everybody dress in suit as I assumed that the weather here is usually pretty hot.

The restaurant has some history.
The restaurant has some history.
Another view.
Another view.

The lobby and the restaurant in general is rather fancy. It reminded me of a grand 5 star hotel, except this place does food only; sorry, no lodging options available. There is a cigar shoppe in the restaurant itself with a large selection available to purchase, but I don’t think this is a smoking establishment. As I walked into the dimly lighted restaurant, my eyes fixate on the freshly cut meat proudly displayed in the fridge next to the bar and kitchen area. The color of the meat were so vibrant, and the marble on the meat matches that. They also make sure that the cuts are as large as possible, as it seemed like all of them are on the order of a pound each.

I bet heaven looks like this.
I bet heaven looks like this.

As I excused myself to the bathroom, I saw a shoeshine service just around the corner. It didn’t seem like anyone was working there, but I’m sure somebody can get their shoes done if needed. It seemed excessive these days, but such a service is mandatory for a restaurant this fancy.

In-house shoe shine service.
In-house shoe shine service.

We were led to our table by our server Garvin (?), who explained to us the menu and the specials, as well as advised us against getting individual sides as they are meant to be shared. He also wished me a happy birthday (I assumed that Albert noted it on the reservation), which was kind of a surprise to me. Nobody wanted any liquor but I can’t miss the opportunity, so I asked for a selection of scotch. I accidentally hit the jackpot, because I was rewarded with a dedicated menu with only scotch and whiskey of different age. To be frank, I don’t know much about these liquors except I like them, so with the randomness of my finger, I selected a 10 year old, one of the youngest on the list. No, I’m not a pedophile.

10 year old whiskey. No idea the name.
10 year old whiskey. No idea the name.

On the food front, we shared a bacon wrapped scallops appetizer and mashed potato side. On top of that, he got the New England clam chowder. I opted for the bone-in dry aged filet mignon while he ordered the large bone-in dry aged prime rib for 2 people. Usually, I would had asked for the ribeye; rumor has it that the filet mignon is great here so I decided to take a “risk”. Besides, I had never seen a bone-in filet mignon before. (P.S. I also never had dry aged steaks but I do know that they taste better than non-dry aged steaks.) The appetizers came out pretty quickly – bacon wrapped scallops has a crunchy outside and scallop melts right in my mouth. For some reason, the garlic bread was very soft and delicious, and stole the show from the more expensive scallops. I guess price isn’t a good indicator on taste.

Bacon-wrapped scallop with Texas Garlic Toast.
Bacon-wrapped scallop with Texas Garlic Toast.

While I waited for the others to finish their soup, I wandered around the rather big restaurant and stumbled upon a glass door that says “wine cellar authorized personnel only.” As I walked away, an employee shoo me into the cellar and shown me around. Just a reminder, I was in jeans and a button-down, and I don’t look like a potential customer who could afford a single drop of anything in there. He was very professional, explaining to me the different sections which were filled with wines of various regions around the world. It seemed like Pappas Bros jumped on an opportunity of good exchange rates and now have a huge supply of imported wines – so much so that there are a couple of rooms just to keep these bottles at ambient temperature. There was also a stack of unassuming cartons next to the neatly arrange shelves, and those turned out to value of upwards in the hundred thousand dollars range. At the end of the room, there was a desk and he mentioned that that is probably the best job in the restaurant, and I asked if he had the job. Sadly, he said he was the manager (oops) and lead me out of the place.

Food paintings alongside cozy booths.
Food paintings alongside cozy booths.
Servers were waiting for dished to come out.
Servers were waiting for dished to come out.
Even the bar is fancy.
Even the bar is fancy.
Dessert tray. Look at the size of the cheesecake!
Dessert tray. Look at the size of the cheesecake!

By the time I got back to my table, they were almost done with their soup. We chatted a little while longer before the entrees were brought to the table. It is weird to say this, but my steak did not look like 14oz – weight of the bone probably added 10oz to the steak; the bone-in porterhouse was gigantic in comparison. The cut of the steak was a bit weird, but that’s probably because I’m not used to seeing filet mignon, let alone the bone-in version of it. As promised, the mashed potatoes were enough for a family. I plunged my teeth into a slice of meat, and it was both succulent and juicy. I was worried that medium steak was too well done for this cut, but it turned out to be absolutely fantastic. Dry-aging the steak did tenderized the meat, making the best cut of beef even better. I have been converted.

14oz Medium Bone-in Filet mignon
14oz Medium Bone-in Filet mignon
This smashed potato side may look tiny but it is gigantic.
This smashed potato side may look tiny but it is gigantic.

This would have been a great ending, but I still got to get the dessert (birthday treat!). I scanned the menu and picked the chocolate turtle pie, which was basically molten chocolate in a chocolate cake with a scoop of ice-cream, and since it is my birthday, I got a candle and a happy birthday sign. There were a couple other tables celebrating birthdays too, and everybody asked for the same exact dessert. Three of us huddled around this huge cake – it is definitely not for one person, if anyone was wondering. On top of that, I actually wondered who would save some stomach space for desserts at such an awesome steakhouse.

Chocolate turtle pie with crème anglaise
Chocolate turtle pie with crème anglaise
Free birthday Chocolate turtle pie with crème anglaise!
Free birthday Chocolate turtle pie with crème anglaise!

Pappas Bros is easily the best steakhouse I have been to. That’s not to say it is the best in the world, but it does mean that I need eat more mouthwatering steaks. The service was great, atmosphere was cozy, steak was phenomenal and their wines could easily trump even specialty stores. Yes, it does hurt the wallet a bit, but I didn’t pay for it. :P Don’t get me wrong, I would gladly pay up for such a fantastic meal. Now, I’m kind of jealous – there is definetely a bit of me wishing that I could move to Dallas just to have access to a great steakhouse.

Visited: May 30th, 2015 for dinner at 630pm
Address: 10477 Lombardy Lane, Dallas, TX 75220
Website: http://pappasbros.com/location/?id=92

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