When popular Dallas chef Joanne Bondy left her post at Ciudad to work at the ginormous Gaylord Texan, industry folks thought she was crazy. Now, almost six years later, we’re crazy for the improvements and the personal touches she has added to Old Hickory’s menu. It’s still mostly a steak restaurant. Filets, Cowboy rib-eyes, and the Prime rib-eye, topped with blue cheese, smoked bacon, and tobacco onions, are big sellers. But Bondy also offers a separate farm-to-market menu with local and regional ingredients. We decided, however, to start our meal in France and asked the sommelier to open a bottle of Domaine Hervé Sigaut Chambolle-Musigny Les Bussieres 2007, an earthy Pinot Noir from Burgundy. We sat back and swirled our wine as the fromagier presented a cheese cart with 25 selections. We picked three: an aged mimolette from Cowboy Creamery in California, a subtly tangy Humboldt Fog (ripened goat’s milk cheese), and a piquant manchego from Spain. Three of us split two entrées: a delicate striped bass topped with sautéed oyster mushrooms finished with carrot-fennel sauce, and roasted quail in a gentle guajillo pepper sauce served with puréed sweet potatoes and fruit chutney. New F&B director Saddiq Mir is determined to “ramp up the program.” A ramped-up Joanne Bondy at the Gaylord Texan? You’d better get a room.

For more information about Old Hickory Steakhouse, visit our restaurant guide.

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