ALL DRESSED UP AND SOMEPLACE TO GO!
It was Sally’s birthday and we were headed to fundraising event… then out for dinner. We were dressed in a little more festive attire than we might normally be when going out for dinner. There had just been a flap in the news about a nationally known celebrity cook and her husband being turned away from Vic & Anthony’s due to hubby’s very casual attire (shorts). So what’s the big deal? Most restaurants in Houston would have relaxed their “dress code” requirements to get a nationally known celebrity in the house. I guess my response to the management of Vic & Anthony’s for not bending the dress rules that evening would be “Thank you.” It’s no secret that when you go to Vic & Anthony’s for dinner in the evening to enjoy steaks and a nice wine, you may expect to spend $150, or more. In my opinion, it’s nice to know when you decide to dedicate a substantial amount like that to an evening that the standard of excellence that justifies that price for a meal and ambience will NOT be lowered on any level… not food… not service… not ambience… and you won’t be surrounded by (admittedly) very nice people in beach attire.
Crab Cake With a Chive Beurre Blanc
I had heard via social media that the Crab Cakes at Vic & Anthony’s (a Landry’s Corporation restaurant) were “the best in town”. Of course that’s a personal opinion and I, too, have my standards (but would never call anything “the best in town”), so we started with the crab cake. It was prepared with a bare minimum of binder and filler and the crab meat lumps were obviously meticulously protected from damage during preparation. That’s pretty important, in my opinion. No stirring to mix the ingredients… just a minimum of gentle FOLDING. The cake was cooked to a very light crispness on the outside, then topped with a respectfully huge pile of lump body meat and served with a Chive Beurre Blanc. I loved it. As a frequent traveler to the Chesapeake Bay area, it is nice to return to crab cakes that live or die on the quality and taste of fresh moist crabmeat… NOT drenched in Old Bay seasoning.
Seared Sea Scallops with Apple Slaw
Next, still in the mood for seafood, we had Seared Sea Scallops with Apple Slaw. The light flavor of the apple smoked bacon that they were finished with was a nice touch to diver scallops that were seared enough to caramelize them beautifully, yet cook them only enough to remove the translucence that would have rendered them beautiful sashimi. With a Tabasco vinaigrette and the sweetness of the apple slaw, scallops don’t get much better. Another excellent starter.
We were enjoying the seafood offerings so much that we actually hadn’t decided to order a steak yet. We also weren’t sure that we wanted to eat that much. So, it was Oysters Rockefeller! They were a traditional recipe and were particularly enjoyable, as the flavor of the plump oysters wasn’t over-powered by the requisite anise-flavored liquor.
Chef de Cuisine John Moore
Still considering a steak, we asked our server to see a raw steak that we might order and the prime filet was shown to us by Chef de Cuisine John Moore, who had heard, via our server, that it was Sally’s birthday.
Petite Filet Mignon
Nice touch, we thought, for the chef to stop by to say “hello” and “happy birthday”. The nicely marbled petite (8 oz.) prime filet looked beautiful and we ordered it medium rare with a Bordelaise that was so generously endowed with bone marrow that it almost qualified as a “side”.
I’m not sure that a true “steak house” can stay in business without a mouth-watering version of Creamed Spinach and we weren’t disappointed with this one. In fact, I would say that having a steak in here without the creamed spinach would be to miss a rich piece of the “steak house experience”.
I guess that we should have expected that with a visit from the chef and the knowledge that there was a birthday at the table, we would have received a special dessert, but the personalized Crème Brulee was a surprise and very appreciated touch to cap the evening. A comment on the crème brulee would be that most people order the dish because of the crispy caramelized sugar on top. Vic & Anthony’s version is a tip of the hat to that fact, as it is served in a shallow presentation on a plate to maximize the crispy topping. Nice touch. Happy birthday, Sally.
1510 Texas Avenue
Houston, Texas 77002