Every time a new steakhouse opens in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, the natives and longtime denizens among us have to keep from rolling our eyes. Really? We need another steakhouse? There are more than a few parts of the entire stretch of this metro area where you can’t walk a block without tripping over two to three steakhouses.
But because many of them bring in lots of business, thanks to offering legitimately good food, there seems to be no end to the big beef appetite in our part of the world. I’m not complaining, either; my theory is that the abundance of better steak options keeps everyone on their toes. Each steak place needs to work hard to be considered someone’s favorite.
Having written thousands of words about steaks in these parts over the years – the tonnage of fine steak consumed for the 2006 Texas Monthly story remains a vivid memory – I’ve developed a fondness for particular steaks at specific restaurants. I’m a big fan of the New York strip, cooked “black and blue” and swept in butter at both Pappas in Dallas and Del Frisco’s in Fort Worth. When I eat a juicy rib eye at Lambert’s in Fort Worth or Grady’s Line Camp in Granbury, I hope they’re slapping an enchilada on top.
But from a most personal preference standpoint, my family and I have our own go-to when we want the most special experience possible in a steak dinner event. Though it’s not a destination everyone must reserve for a special occasion, Bob’s Steak and Chop – the original location on Lemmon Avenue in Dallas – is the place for me and mine for a celebratory dinner.
The food warrants such a designation, there’s no question about that. But it’s also the overall experience that has made us such fans of this old-school steak joint. Is it as shiny and pretty as newer restaurants? No way. It feels a lot of like your best friend’s dad’s study or the 19th hole at an old-fashioned country club. But I like its lived-in spirit, cultivated since it opened as the original Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House in the late 1980s.
And we particularly love the way the staff greets us at the door, as though we’ve brought a World Series championship with us. (Oh, still too soon? Sorry.) Cristy Rather and Ken Kuczwaj, the honchos running this store, act as though our visit is the only one that matters all week long.
That extraordinary treatment extends to all the service staff. Everyone we encounter on our birthday and other dinners makes each moment a pleasure, from the second we sit until we leave for home.
That said, we wouldn’t be quite as wowed if we didn’t think the food at this Bob’s is the exceptional. When we said that we like shrimp scampi but wish there was a lighter, brighter version of the traditional preparation, the kitchen sent out one that knocked us out: Giant shrimp, sweet and very lightly sautéed, take a delicate butter-garlic-lemon bath that enhances, rather than overwhelms, the crustaceans. (Even the non-seafood person at our table recently begged for a second order of these.)
There’s usually little discussion about which entrees we want at Bob’s. It’s steak or steak, but which one? A few of us always zero in on the prime filet mignon, a wondrous example of pure tenderness, but I’m a sucker for the bone-in Kansas City strip, as I am passionate about a steak with some body and tooth to it. Never has Bob’s failed us here.
On the plate comes the signature glazed carrot (always eliciting a few jokes, due to its size) and a choice of potatoes. We can’t even think of anything other than skillet-fried potatoes, smothered in sautéed onion slices and a rich peppercorn gravy.
A relatively recent addition to the menu is the bone-in veal parmesan, a favorite of management’s Ken Kuczwaj, a New York native who knows what burly but beautiful Italian food is all about. This massive chop is a stunner; you’ll want to share it with someone – or take it home for an encore feast.
Ask Kuczwaj, like we do, for the right wine recommendation in whatever price range you can handle. He’s happy to accommodate, as is Rather and the rest of the crew. And be sure to book a table near the bar area, where the festivities seem to persist. Even it’s not a special occasion, you’ll come to think so.
Bob’s Steak and Chop – 5 locations in North Texas