Even in 2016, the steakhouse still seems to be an entity targeted at men. The Hall, which opened last week in Trinity Groves’ concourse of smart restaurants, remains true to its masculine form with a sports-bar-meets-steakhouse concept. A project inspired by Bob Sambol's iconic Bob’s Steak and Chop House, The Hall is a self-described 100-seat saloon but feels more like a visit to a suburban dad’s utilitarian rec room. Everything from the rustic oak tables that look as if they were cut in a garage to the unadorned presentation of plates feels like Dad invited you over for dinner.
The Hall is named for the College Football Hall of Fame, a concept that is further pursued in a border lining the restaurant with 8-by-10 photos of once-glorious North Texas players. These frames, three TVs above the long bar and a simple candle on each table constitute the man cave-like decor.
The crowd reinforces the "Dad’s place" feel — on our visit, most of the guests were men in polos and khakis or collared athletic wear. The scattering of women was composed mostly of wives in pearls drinking something red from the comprehensive wine list gauchely presented in a black three-ring binder. The Hall has a range of decent $7 to $15 glasses to choose from with an equally impressive bottle list. Dad did his homework here, because he knows nothing pairs with prime steak like a potent Californian red.
The Hall’s owner-operator, James Rose, formerly the executive chef at Bob's, knows steak best, but there are other obvious options like burgers and sandwiches. The club sandwich is massive, as it should be at $17. Seafood dishes include Scottish salmon in a balsamic citrus glaze, which tasted as if it were made at home — in the blandest sense of the description.
Stick with the USDA prime steaks. Having just eaten at Bob’s a few nights before, I indulged in yet another filet mignon at The Hall. I can tell you the quality and preparation are the same. The steak knife virtually slides down the charred exterior through to a juicy, bright-red center. Rose prepares his steaks by searing them on a flat top and finishing them in a broiler, just as I suspect he once did at Bob’s, which is smart considering that the original Dallas location has now become a nationwide chain. And while I hate to dampen a new restaurant’s momentum, I must mention that the onion rings and brownie sundaes are practically the same as well, The Hall serving a Heath bar brownie and Bob’s a peanut butter chocolate brownie. The ice cream flavors are different, but both desserts have the hard magic shell that ends in a liquid puddle of fudge on the plate. Both are over-the-top indulgent and hard to resist.
The question remains: Does a steak at a somewhat classy sports bar cost less than a more upscale place like Bob’s? If you only eat the steak, yes. The Hall’s 9-oz. filet is $32, compared with Bob’s at $40, but it doesn’t come with sides, not to mention the complimentary loaf of bread and pickled veggies that starts off every meal at Bob's. At The Hall, you’ll have to pay $5 for a potato and another $5 for a veggie, and after my watery Brussels sprouts, I’m reminded that veggies just aren’t Dad’s thing.
The Hall at Trinity Groves, 3011 Gulden Lane, No. 109, 214-308-6720
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