After months of wading tongue-deep through newfangled and fusion-y restaurants, it was heartening to walk into Pappas Bros. Steakhouse and feel, well, comfortable. Pappas just feels like a steakhouse should: the dining room was dim enough to warrant a penlight, there’s enough leather to stop a cattle drive, the piano player was tinkling along merrily, and the fire was crackling in the fireplace (even though it was near 80 on our visit). Our bow-tied server brought us a round of warm, crusty bread, and we gnawed on it while contemplating the concise menu. For he: an 18-ounce prime rib-eye. For me: a salmon fillet. Next came the wine. Our server asked us a few questions before summoning the sommelier. (Price range? General preferences? New or Old World?) We waited with anticipation for Master Sommelier Barbara Werley, but instead smiling somm Heather Green came along bearing a bottle of 2006 Olivier Hillaire Cotes du Rhone. We sipped it and began noshing on our salads; one crunchy wedge drenched in rich dressing (good for splitting) and one nuanced Steakhouse Salad, with oranges, apples, and candied almonds, bound with a sprightly vinaigrette. Soon, the mains arrived, and the steak (aged in-house for 40 days) was everything we hoped it would be. Namely: buttery, salty, tender, and blood red. The brick-sized salmon perched atop a bed of frisee and beurre blanc was rich and fantastic, topped with large shrimp and crab and sprinkled with a confetti of capers and tiny tomatoes. But we couldn’t stop spooning up the macaroni and cheese laced with jumbo lump crabmeat, a special of the day. With hands on our stomachs, we watched the towering dessert cart roll to another table and decided to finish our meal with a generous slice of gooey and custardy pecan pie. A box of truffles sent us home with sweet dreams—not to mention an appreciation for all things old school.
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