Monday, October 19, 2009

The Chop House

Sometimes when plans fail, things work out better, to wit . . .

My first choice for the wife's birthday dinner was Aventino's. I have been hearing good things and Jake gave it a romantic thumbs up on Twitter, so I thought, perfect . . . well no, not perfect. Aventino's was booked for the night.

Second choice, Ellerbe's. Closed. 

Lili's. Closed. Nonna Tata. Closed.

It's Monday night, the slowest night in the restaurant business and Magnolia street restaurants proved it.

Seeing that my best laid plans were failing fast, my wife suggested the Chop House downtown, which had been a favorite of ours, so Chop House it was, and as it turned out, an excellent choice.

Our favorite special night entree is Beef Oscar, a filet topped with crab and a Bearnaise Sauce, and usually served with asparagus. We both ordered the Chop House version of this favorite. The steaks were cooked perfectly, hot all the way through, and the Bearnaise Sauce was smooth and tasty. The crab was a little hard to find but I don't take any points off there. The asparagus was crisp.

The appetizer was the beef kabobs. Very good.

We both chose the Chop House Salad which was not cold enough and very wimpy. The sauce was supposed to be a Roquefort but it tasted more like Ranch. The blue cheese was hard to find and the bacon was uniformly grease encased. I have had better salads at Denny's. Every restaurant should be able to do the following: serve lettuce cold in a cold dish, never mix the dressing into the salad until it is ready to be served. And if you call anything Roquefort make sure its good.

The side was a scalloped potato dish which we split and it was delicious.

Dessert: Bread pudding with ice cream and fruit. Not the best bread pudding I have ever had, but it was good.

Conclusion: Chop House is still a good restaurant with a good steak, a comfortable setting, good service -- and it is downtown, which is always a plus.
Final only slightly related note: I am old enough to remember when most fine dining restaurants required appropriate attire. I do not blame any restaurant for moving with the times and not requiring a coat and tie for men, but I do wish that at least one restaurant in Fort Worth would have a more formal dress requirement. Am I alone in this? Out-of-touch, or on to something?


The Whited Sepulchre said...

Someone could make a KILLING by opening a moderately priced restaurant that required formal attire.
Think about it.....the guy gets points for dressing up, the lady gets to dress up, and no one has to spend a fortune just to eat in a place that requires a tie.

It could happen.

RJG said...

Haha - yes, I remember having to dress up to go to places like Lawrey's on Maple as late as the 1980s. In the 60s/70s, my parents, on their anniversary, would always go to what they called a "hoo-haa" restaurant and dress to the nines. I had to stay home with a babysitter...

Do I want to see it again? Ya know, when you watch a show like Mad Men, it sure does seem like a good idea. But dressing up is a PITA, if I'm honest about it.

BTW - probably not the best thread to post this, but since this is your most recent restaurant blurb: I did get over to Smashburger (who are based here in Denver), and it is indeed quite good. I think you should try it out. Probably closest to Five Guys in taste and execution. I also went over to Fatburger, a fast growing Southern Cal chain, and it too is well worth your time if you see one (not exactly In-N-Out, but not altogether different). For some reason, Fatburger has no plans to expand to Texas at the current time.

Whited Sepulchre: My wife ENTIRELY agrees with your point. She hates fancy schmancy, but does love to go out looking good (and that she does).

We're back in DFW in one more week!


Francis Shivone said...

Allen/TWS -- I think you are right. I would like to go somewhere knowing the attire is semi-formal.

RJG -- when my father visited in the 80's he always took us to that Lawry's. The Prime Rib serving apparatus was enjoyably over the top.

It took me a minute to translate PITA. I know many guys feel that way but I still like the coat and tie. And once a year when I am looking for fine dining I don't want to be sitting next to a guy in a tshirt and sneakers, as I was at Chop House. It's nothing personal against him, I'm just getting old and crotchety.

Thanks for the Smashburger/Fatburger updates. I will be looking for them. I still need to get up to the Five Guys in Southlake. I loved the one in Philly.

Jake Good said...

edit: deleted previous because of dumb spelling mistake...

5 Guys in Southlake... it's not bad at all, quite a burger for the price...

But to the topic at hand... I think that you might not make a "killing"... but you'd get a lot of attention in Fort Worth. There's a lot of money and folks who are from generations older than mine (note the nice way I said that)... that wouldn't mind such a trip.

But fast forward to someone in my age range (I'm 28 btw). A sport coat is definitely doable, in fact, it's preferred in a fashion sense, but I'm not sure how much further I'd push it over a sport coat, nice jeans, and a long sleeve button down shirt. Hell, that's what I wore downtown to Del Frisco's and I there were people in Cowboy jerseys, oh wait, *any* place in DFW would allow that :P

T-Shirt and sport coat is trendy and you could get by, but what is wrong with a dude wanting to have a nice meal on his terms? :)

I say go forth, dress for dinner how you see fit and what makes you comfortable... be kind to patrons, enjoy the time with the people directly at your table... and enjoy life! Worrying about what the other people are wearing at the joint distracts you from a good meal and good company.

:: shrugs :: Maybe I'm being too pragmatic...

Jake Good said...

and by deleted because of bad spelling mistake, I mean, *MY bad spelling mistake...