First Look

For Perry's Steakhouse Media Preview, We Should have Packed a Lunch Pail and a Hard Hat

Although opening day is weeks away, the folks at Perry's Steakhouse gave us a glimpse yesterday of the Houston-based chain's first location in Dallas.

Set in the flashy 2000 McKinney Avenue high rise adjacent to the Ritz-Carlton, Perry's Steakhouse is still a work in progress. Painters are putting the finishing touches on the five private dining rooms while the design team is still installing booths and lighting fixtures in the bar and wine cellar. But don't let the lack of an interior fool you, Perry's says it will be serving dinner to the Uptown crowd on April 26.

When we arrived, we were perplexed as to how we'd actually get into the restaurant since there's no entrance door outside. We figured maybe the entrance was somewhere in the building's main lobby, so we parked in the garage and headed to the lobby for some help. A security guard escorted us past the elevator bank and through an emergency exit. Suddenly, we were back in the parking garage, heading toward the back entrance of the restaurant. We entered the kitchen and made our way to the front of the restaurant, avoiding the occasional nail in the carpet, freshly painted wall, and other construction site hazards. We've attended soft openings and seen restaurants that aren't nearly finished, but this is the first where we've needed hard hats!

The main dining area looks nearly complete, save for a floor-to-ceiling, glass enclosed wine display case borrowed from the restaurant's Austin location. It's installed, just not yet finished. There is still much to do in the bar area as a large circular booth, the focal point of the room, has not arrived. But the bar itself has been built, and a large, presumably geometric light fixture dangles from the ceiling, glistening in its bubble wrap. A handful of the private dining rooms are waiting for their giant flat screens of course, but most only need a little paint, table linens, and light bulbs.

The most interesting design element is the wine cellar, a small room that sinks into the main dining room like a shell on the beach. The circular room is enclosed by glass and will feature curtains for added privacy. Unique to the Dallas location, the room is lined with mosaic tiles and the wine barrel lids, which lend a rustic charm to the glossy walls. A shot staircase circles the exterior of the room and leads to an upstairs seating area where a handful of tables will offer the best views of the handsome steakhouse.

Owner Chris Perry wants this location to be unique, and he's aware of the differences between Houston and Dallas. The Uptown crowd hasn't met a patio it didn't like, and those Houstonians can't stand the humidity long enough to build a patio. The restaurant's patio will feature fireplaces, and one private dining room has its own patio. The menu will also feature items that aren't served at the Houston and Austin locations. The focus will be on purees of root vegetables, cauliflower, and the like that will add some color and kick to the traditional steak fare. Of course, their famous pork chop will be on the menu, along with a Monday night special, a three-course dinner including their new herb-stuffed filet for $30. Hey, the economy is still rough and we still need our red meat, and at that price, we'd happily don hard hats any day.