First Look

A Butcher, a Pricy Steakhouse and a Retail Spot: Cooper's Meat Market Is Trying To Be Too Much

Cooper's Meat Market opened in April next to Cox Farms Market in Sylvan Thirty.
Cooper's Meat Market opened in April next to Cox Farms Market in Sylvan Thirty. Paige Weaver
Cooper’s Meat Market is the newest addition to Sylvan Thirty, the food-heavy mixed-use development at the intersection of West Dallas and Oak Cliff.

Facing Fort Worth Avenue and next to Cox Farms Market, it bills itself a custom meat market and steakhouse. Cooper’s is the second location of this family-owned San Antonio business.

“We can’t wait to give Dallas residents a taste of what my family has been perfecting since 1997,” said Michael Johnson, the second generation in the family business. “Additionally, as an Oak Cliff resident, I’m excited to be part of the great things happening in this whole area.”

Cooper’s is trying to do a lot; not only is it a butcher, but it's also a high-end steakhouse and offers prepared food to go, retail shopping, catering and delivery. Chef Kenny Mills, formerly of Chop House Burger, Capital Grille and Dallas Chop House, is the executive chef of the operation.

It’s a very large establishment with a lot of empty space. Beyond the entry is a glass room where the butcher cuts meat to order. Around the corner is the 50-seat dining room, and toward the back, refrigerators full of prepared food line one wall. Across from the refrigerators is a retail space with some spices, jarred items and a whole lot of Yeti coolers for sale.

click to enlarge Cooper's retail. - PAIGE WEAVER
Cooper's retail.
Paige Weaver
Cooper’s doesn’t have a website, so you won’t be able to check out the steakhouse menu ahead of your visit. You can find its daily retail menu, an expansive list of the meats and prepared foods offered, on Facebook.

Once you’re seated in the restaurant and handed a menu, you’ll see straightforward steakhouse classics. Appetizers include roasted bone marrow ($8), steak tartare ($12), Akaushi beef carpaccio ($16) and a wedge salad ($8).

We tried both the carpaccio and steak tartare. The quality of the meat was apparent. It was beautifully marbled, but we wished it was seasoned a bit more; the flavor fell flat for the quality.

click to enlarge Cooper's beef carpaccio, $16. - PAIGE WEAVER
Cooper's beef carpaccio, $16.
Paige Weaver
Cooper’s has three burgers — a ChopHouse burger, ground chuck mixed with brisket and topped with bacon and white cheddar; a black and blue and bacon burger, ground chuck rolled in Cajun seasoning and topped with blue cheese sauce and bacon; and a six-pepper burger, ground chuck with minced jalapeños, habaneros, poblanos, red bell pepper and New Mexico chiles. We tried the six-pepper, and it is appropriately spicy for its name. If you can’t handle heat, definitely skip it.

The menu lists the burgers as $10, but we were told as we sat down that that was an error and they are, in fact, $15, but we were charged $10 for our burger. In general, service was confused, which will hopefully improve with time.

click to enlarge Cooper's New Mexico chile burger, $15. - PAIGE WEAVER
Cooper's New Mexico chile burger, $15.
Paige Weaver
Unsurprisingly, the meat of the menu is the steak section. There are 10 cuts, from a 40-ounce porterhouse ($60) to a dry-aged 20-ounce rib-eye ($48) to a 12-ounce American Kobe filet ($60). Get your steak topped with Cabernet goat cheese butter, lobster butter, blue cheese or Courvioisier cream for an extra $8.

Non-steak meat offerings include items such as a 12-ounce veal chop ($24), a smoked 24-ounce bone-in pork chop ($35) and Colorado lamb chops ($46). Also served are Scottish salmon ($37), Teriyaki tuna ($44) and a 10-ounce lobster tail (market price).

Cooper’s offers nine sides (all of which are $9), including Marsala mushrooms, mac and cheese, grilled asparagus, sautéed spinach and tomatoes, and roasted garlic mashed potatoes.

In an area with very few grocery stores, Cooper’s brings a much-needed fresh retail food option, but we were left wondering if Cooper’s is trying to be too much. The food items we tried were made with high-quality ingredients but lacked flavor. The space is not very well organized. The service was jumbled. Cooper's need to refine its focus and execution.

Cooper's Meat Market, 778 Fort Worth Ave.

click to enlarge Cooper's menu. - PAIGE WEAVER
Cooper's menu.
Paige Weaver

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Paige Weaver
Contact: Paige Weaver