By Amy McCarthy
By Scott Reitz
By Scott Reitz
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Alice Laussade
By City of Ate
The restaurant operates on a fixed-price model. The meat-coma portion, along with salad bar, a side of modest mashed potatoes and sweet, palate-cleansing fried bananas, runs $34.95, no matter how much you choose to ingest. Such a system invites blind culinary avarice: the scarfing of red and white meat, bits of green things and slabs of cheese without concern for artistic flair (or lack thereof). Another buffet area, crowded with desserts, runs an additional $6.95 for more all-you-can-eat abandon. Although created in-house--an ambitious endeavor--most desserts deserve only a passing glance. There was a dust-dry mocha hazelnut torte, flan lacking in subtlety, watery and unimpressive rice pudding, and such. Passion fruit and chocolate mousse should tease the palate with an ethereal double shot, not sit lifeless on the plate like a tart pudding. It's all so anticlimactic until one encounters a surprising and stunning sweet pear in red wine. Tannic depth mingles with natural fruit into something rich and challenging, a perfect dish to savor with a bitter cup of coffee.
Now back to the point. If eternal damnation or a day of bellyaching because, well, your belly aches from an overdose of sodium and roasted muscle tissue are the only payoffs for a night of indulgence, is Rafain worth the cost? Up to you, really.
We appreciate Rafain's courteous service, the welcoming and friendly manner of each staff member. There's something to the understated elegance of the space. And once you learn a few tricks, the food easily meets the relaxed standards of Dallas diners. But we don't sell our culinary souls that cheap. One or two memorable cuts, several equal to those served in a mid-range steak house, a salad bar wasteland--no, gluttony should at least be fun.
And $34.95 doled out for prime beef at Al Biernat's or Bob's or Del Frisco's or any other upscale steak house will accomplish that rather nicely. 18010 Dallas Parkway, 972-733-1110. Open 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 4 p.m.-9 p.m. Sunday. $$$