Snippet From Snooty Foodies: Del Frisco’s Grille in Dallas

Hey y’all, remember the Snooty Foodies? The dashing couple who dine out so much they had to take a break from their blog? Well, they’ve decided to dip their toes back into the blogosphere by sending in a snippet whenever they bloody well feel like it. That’s why we call them snooty. Plus they use “I” instead of “we.” Here, they go.

The first Del Frisco’s Grille in New York has been open for a while in very modest digs (ha!) at 50 Rock which is just down the street from their steakhouse in Manhattan. The NYC DFG is rocking. So is the Nick & Sam’s Grill, the light version on Nick & Sam’s here in Dallas. Judging from the crowd’s I’ve seen at Del Frisco’s Grille on McKinney, I think Del Frisco’s opening on McKinney Ave in the heart of uptown is a good idea.

Three major concerns leapt to mind before my first visit to DFG: it’s a new glitzy spot in douche bag central, casual off shoots from fine dining restaurants rarely wow me, and inevitably the bar will be 4 deep and I don’t like to wait on drinks. So I decided to visit mid-afternoon and I didn’t have to wait on a couple of Bentleys to move so I could get to the valet stand.

Jump for it.It’s a beautiful space and gigantic (18,000 sq ft) with an upstairs and a two-level glass wine cellar. The service staff appears very Uptown: cool hair and cool names but, at least when I visited, it wasn’t very busy and the service was attentive and friendly.

The was nothing particularly mind blowing on the menu and I didn’t see the need to order a steak (we know these guys can kill a cow with the best of them), so we ordered a crab cake with lobster sauce ($16), pimento cheese fritters with chipotle ranch ($9), NOLA BBQ shrimp with po’ boy bread ($14), and a main entree of veal meatloaf with wild mushrooms and Bordelaise sauce ($19).

The crab cake was exactly what I expected: 90% lump crab delicately held together until a simple nudge from the fork breaks it and the meat tumbles into the lobster sauce. Crab cakes in any steakhouse should be good and DGS’s lived up to my expectations.

I don’t know or trust anyone who doesn’t like fried cheese. [Ed. Note: make me your first!] DFG’s version was tasty. You could definitely taste the pimento and the breading was fairly light. I didn’t get any of the promised chipotle taste in the ranch dipping sauce, but there was something dark floating in there so presumably it was present.

I will go head to head with anyone on New Orleans-syle BBQ shrimp. I’m an expert. I love to eat it and I love to cook it. It’s so simple to make: basically butter, oil, garlic, rosemary, and Tabasco. Given DF’s New Orleans roots, I had high expectations for this starter.  Four big daddy U-10 shrimp with a good sear were served in a shallow pool of the famous sauce. Unfortunately, it tasted like someone in the kitchen was into “flour power.” The flavors were good but I couldn’t get past the grit from the flour that I suppose was added to thicken it up? The po’ boy bread was nicely toasted and would have been great for dipping if I hadn’t already hit carbo-overload on the sauce.

The screw-up factor is pretty low on meatloaf and DFG’s serves a good rendition. It’s moist with a good crust on top and the portion is huge–two big slabs over a mound of mashed potatoes. I’m not so sure the mushrooms as “wild” as the menu claimed. They sure looked like halved portobellos to me and the bordelaise was good not great. The dish was actually heightened by the fact that it was cold and raining and I needed some comfort food.

The wine list has the usual suspects from California and a short list of $10-$14 Pinots, Malbecs, and Shiraz to accompany the $15 Del Frisco’s Reserve Cabernet on their by-the-glass list. Overpriced reds in a steakhouse?  Who woulda thunk it?

As my late lunch lingered into happy hour, the douche bag factor began to grow exponentially. But that made for good people watching and some good pictures to put on my Pinterest page.