Lawry's The Prime Rib ~ Dallas, Texas
For those who've been following the RJG, you'll know that Lawry's is not our typical fare (witness yesterday's My Lan entry). But my parents had some history with this restaurant, and because of that, here we are dining elegantly. So what is that history? For a brief time, from 1966 to 1967, when the RJG was just a toddler, we lived in the Los Angeles area, before relocating to Dallas. My father, who was in sales, had been transferred from New York City to LA. For their 5th wedding anniversary in 1966, they had a splurge meal at the Five Crowns, which I believe had only been open a year at that point. While they were enjoying themselves immensely, most assuredly I was eating Gerbers or some such crap and spitting it up on the babysitter. Anyway... My old man loved prime rib more than anything else, and he had fond memories of that night for years to come. I would usually hear about the experience when we had one of their dressings on the kitchen table (remember Canadian Bacon dressing?), or when we pulled out the Seasoned Salt or Seasoned Pepper to bury the cottage cheese (it is the only way to make it palatable - that stuff is gross). To this day, the RJG household uses those seasonings on a regular basis. I love them.
That's the ancient history. The more recent history is, of course, when they opened their location on Maple Avenue in 1982. My parents were hell bent on a revisit, and since I was in high school then, I got to join them (after eating the Gerber's. Oh wait...). It was indeed excellent, as they had said. Formal (jeez, I even had to wear a tie), but very nice. In 1986, I sent them off in a limo (paid for on my paltry college budget no less) as they went there to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. And in 1988 I took them there, again for their anniversary, as the RJG actually had a paying job and could afford the dinner! My folks loved that place. I enjoyed it of course, but I'm not a fine dining nut. And I'm not sure the food is worth the premium. But, hey, whatever... if they liked it, why not indulge them? That was the RJG's last visit to Lawry's. Until...
...until December, 2013 - 25 years later. Now it's the official RJG's Mom's 75th birthday. Dad is sadly gone over a decade now, and we were discussing where she would like to have her celebratory dinner. She wanted one last visit to Lawry's. They've since moved to Far North Dallas off the Tollway, which makes sense, since Lawry's remains a "power lunch" kind of destination. The place is a time warp, and it's like stepping back in time to a formal dining establishment 40 years ago. It's very British in that aristocratic sort of way. Even though Mom was celebrating her 75th, she might as well have been in the Youth Group this night. It's actually nice to see folks in their 80s and 90s get out like this, without needing much help (or any). Hopefully I'll be so fit at that point. Mrs. RJG and the official Mother-in-Law Chula were in attendance as well to celebrate. Mom had one of her traditional "call drink" martini's, and Mrs. RJG and I settled on a couple of craft beers. After having a couple of salads, it was only Mom that went for the signature prime rib (Queen's cut of course), while the rest of us went for variations of fish. Chula and I had the Sea Bass, while Mrs. RJG had the fried red snapper. The Sea Bass was truly excellent, as were the potatoes. I seemed to enjoy the red snapper more than the wife, but she said it was pretty good. They also had a side of mushrooms, which all agreed to be excellent.
During the Christmas season, they have Victorian era Carolers wandering about - though unfortunately they were singing whatever people wanted to hear. Such as those Darwinian era classics "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" and "Jingle Bells" (ugh, really?). Mom picked out something more appropriate. Good thing, as I wouldn't have a clue what to ask for.
Well, anyway, Lawry's is a snapshot in time. I doubt we'll ever go back, unless one of my business partners insists on it. It's very good. It's very expensive. And on both points, they always have been.