Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Kirby's Prime Steakhouse ~ Southlake, Texas

Like many local restaurants, Kirby's got its start as a neighborhood steakhouse, a place to meet friends for a casual meal. Kirby's was an institution in the Lower Greenville district of Dallas, and lasted from 1954 to 1987, when the owner decided to retire and close up shop. Though my parents and I would occasionally head down to Lower Greenville for Italian food throughout the 1970s, we never once stepped foot in Kirby's (Dad was a big fan of the Steak and Ale near Bachman Lake), though I remember driving by it each time.

So it seemed yet another classic place from DFW that was dead, gone and buried. Except 6 years later, in 1993, a group of neighbors decided to go into business together and reopen the landmark. This time as a "high end" steakhouse. Kirby's is an ideal place to take business clients or to celebrate a special birthday or anniversary.

Because of my business, I've had the opportunity to try many of these so-called "high end" steakhouses all over the country. In general, I'm usually disappointed with the experience. I generally mumble to myself that I could do better at home with my cheap outside gas grill cooking Kroger steaks. But I never say that about Kirby's. Their steaks are of a better quality, very tender and they know how to cook them. I don't think I, or anyone I've been with, has ever sent a steak back, and everyone leaves happy (except for, perhaps, the person who paid the bill).
As with most of these places, everything is served ala carte (with the exception of soup or salad). Potatoes, vegetables, mushrooms, risotto, etc... are all extra, but one serving is usually enough for the table. All are exceptional, especially the mashed potatoes. I'm also fond of their dinner salad.

If I have a complaint, and Kirby's is hardly alone in this racket, it's the exorbitant prices of the wine list. Three to ten times markup is what you can expect. Very few wines are available for under $75, and you can just feel the squeeze being put on. Fine if someone else is paying for it, but I don't like being fleeced. I love wine with my meal, but it's time to move to beer when at these kind of places. As the Regular Joe's Guide tagline suggests, I'm no food snob. But I'm even less of a wine snob. Maybe that's what keeps these places in business, I don't know.

Kirby's in Southlake is at the SW corner of Texas State Highway 114 and Southlake Blvd.

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