Dallas has few diversions other than eating, drinking and shopping.....and shopping does not interest us.
So we spend our time hopping from restaurant to restaurant and to every pub that we can find in search of the perfect meal and the perfect beer.

We randomly review restaurants and bars, dishes and beers at whim and give our brutally honest opinions of our findings. And while we concentrate on Dallas, we travel far and wide to sample cuisine from all regions of the country and beyond.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Restaurant Review - Restaurant Week

Dallas Restaurant Week 2010

Those of us not blessed with trust fund money must be strategic in our dining options.  Our ultra high end dining choices are made cautiously, after dilegent research, because nothing is more crushing to a foodie as just having spent $200.00+ dollars on an average meal in a popular restaurant that has been hyped by the beautiful people.
Dallas Restaurant Week is the perfect chance for John Q. Public to sample several potential high enders and see if the quality is equal to the hype AND your karma gets a boost for the donation to the North Texas Food Bank made by the restaurants. 
There have been rumors of grumblings by many of the restauranteurs of the difficulties created by the unwashed masses decending upon their demenses like a plague of locusts.  The bumkins are hogging tables usually filled with patrons paying full price.  Then their is the tip issue.  Serves make smaller tips due to the fact that the cost of the Restaurant Week specials is typically much lower than the average meal served.  And of course, the barbarians from the 'burbs don't really tip well, do they?  So are the restauranteurs serving an inferior product to those partaking in the festivities?  Let's find out.....

Fearings at the Ritz Carlton, Dallas
Dean Fearing has become the darling of the Dallas press.  His innovative food preparations and masses of well trained servers make for a delightful evening.  The decor and casual easiness of the staff takes what could be an intimidating experience down a notch and makes the dining as comfortable as the seats. 
The dining options on the Restaurant Week menu were virtually identical to the options offered on the normal dinner menu with no perceived loss of quality.  In direct opposition to the rumors, the servers tended a bit toward over enthusiastic at times, hovering over us and refilling our water glasses seemingly after every sip.  All in all a very good experience with the realily equalling the hype.

Jean-Marie Cadot, a Paris native, another shining star in a family that has been in the restaurant business since the 1700's.  His extensive experience includes cooking and baking degrees from the Ferrandi Cooking School and the Grands Moulins de Paris Baking and Pastry school.  He apprenticed and worked in several Michelin starred restaurants in France and New York and finally, somehow, ended up in Dallas.  Man o' man am I happy that he did.  The decor and ambience are so relaxed that there is no intimidation factor (like you often feel while dining in a fine French restaurant) whatsoever.
As with Fearings, the items on the Restaurant Week menu are the same as those on the normal dinner menu.  It was surprising to find that the items on the regular dinner menu were so modestly priced that some of our group ordered from it instead of the Restaurant Week selections and paid virtually the same amount.  Our server was quite personable and friendly and knew when not to intrude on the conversation.  Mm. Cadot stopped by our table and chatted for a bit, which was well received by the gang.  He is thrilled to be a part of Restaurant Week and wanted to be sure that the meal met our expectations.  Hell yes.  I will return here often and highly recommend that you try it as well.

Pappas Brothers Steakhouse
Steak.  Wonderful, tender aged steak.  We Texans love steak.  It is our birthright, our passion, and no one does it better than Pappas Brothers.  Forget that the mediocre chain restaurants next door are owned by the same group, this is everything that a high end steak restaurant needs to be.  It seems to be a given that in Dallas steak houses ignore the time of your reservation and Pappas Bros is no different, expect to wait.  The ambience is casual, yet formal at the same time and the maze of tables, busting servers and connected rooms can be confusing when you are attemting to find the restroom after a few glasses of wine.
Typically, Pappas Brothers steaks are served ala carte.  Thus your sides and deserts would normally cost you quite a bit more than your already fairly expensive steaks.  The Restaurant Week menu allowed us to eat quite a bit more than you would normally get for a fraction of the price.  As with the 2 others reviewed, the steak you get on the Restaurant Menu is identical to the regular menu.  Service was attentive and efficient.  Of the 3, Pappas turned out to be the greatest value, with portions so large that we were forced to take some home.  Having eaten in most of the other high end steakeries in town, I believe that this is the finest steak restaurant in Dallas.

It may be true that some of the restauranteurs are having a problem with the Restaurant Week experience, but neither I nor anyone that I spoke to had evidence to back the claims.  So the decision is:
Rumors - 0, Fine Dining Experiences - 3

Fearing Restaurant
2121 McKinney Avenue
Dallas, TX 75201-1873
(214) 922-4848

Cadot Restaurant
18111 Preston Rd # 120
Dallas, Tx 75252
(972) 267-5700

Pappas Brothers Steakhouse
10477 Lombardy Ln
Dallas , TX 75220
(214) 366-2000

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