Saturday, February 28, 2009

Review: III Forks Prime Steakhouse, Dallas, Texas

My wife and step-daughters took me to my favorite steak haunt, III Forks, here in Dallas for my birthday. About four times a year we go to III Forks to satisfy our appetite for outstanding service and complete indulgence in everything good in life, namely; cocktails, heavily marbled never frozen beef; dishes prepared with fresh butter, heavy cream, and egg yolks; high butterfat ice creams made in house, and hand made desserts.

Upon arrival we were promptly greeted by the striking host team in the foyer. Even though we were early, they stated it was no problem, our table was ready. If you have never been to III Forks, you are immediately impressed with the architecture and ambiance. Towering ceilings, ornate molding, huge globe in the center of the foyer, western artifacts tastefully arranged throughout, dark woods, chandeliers, and a live piano player. If I were to describe III Forks to someone from outside of Dallas, I would have to say if J.R. Ewing from the television show Dallas owned a steakhouse, it would be III Forks; big, bold, masculine, Texan. Serious food for serious appetites.

We were seated in the dining area next to the wine "cellar" and (what used to be) the cigar lounge. Of all of the dining areas in III Forks, this is by far my favorite location. We were promptly greeted by our server who recited that evenings specials and took our drink orders. The fantastic classic French table bread arrives at the table fresh from their in-house bakery. Thin crisp crust on the outside; fresh, light, warm, and airy bread on the inside. It was served with 100% pure butter and was devoured in under 5 minutes.

We ordered the Beef Croustades as an appetizer, my wife orders the Prime Strip for her entree, and I order the best steak on the menu, Bone-In Ribeye! The croustades arrive in short order. Thin slices of the afore mentioned French bread has been toasted and arranged on a doily lined plate. Each "croustade" has been topped with the most tender chunk of fresh butter-broiled prime tenderloin; nicely seasoned with kosher salt and cracked pepper. Each tenderloin piece was then topped with a marvelous lemon-butter-dijon cream sauce. The croustades didn't stand a chance. They were quickly dispatched.

After another round of cocktails, a visit by Dennis the Dining Room Manager, and a visit by Chris Vogeli, the Chef Proprietor, the steaks arrive. Each plate is delivered to the table top, by multiple servers, in unison. Each steak has been broiled to perfection with a nicely seasoned crust on the outside, and a fork-tender medium-rare on the inside. Each plate automatically comes accompanied by fresh prepared Duchess Potatoes and crisp sauteed Sugar Snap Peas. But, wait, that's not all you get! There is another row of servers approaching the table, one holding a silver platter filled with fresh, large, thick beef-steak tomatoes seasoned with kosher salt and cracked black pepper and fresh, whole, green onions. We are asked, one at a time, if we would like either added to our plate. Another sever carrying a silver teapot filled with peppercorn gravy asks if we would like some for our potatoes. And, last but not least, another server goes around the table asking if we would like to add III Forks signature Corn-Off-The Cob Cream Corn to our plates. It is served from a piping hot casserole dish and the remainder is placed on the center of the table for second helpings if needed. This is one of the many things there is to love about III Forks, all of the accompaniments are perfectly prepared, perfect temperature, perfect textures, perfect portions, and absolutely included in the price of the meal.

A silence falls over our table as each of us basks in the prime steak experience (actually too busy gorging ourselves to come up for air). We each take turns ooohing and ahhing after each bite until we are pleasantly full. It doesn't get any better than this.

Extra food is quickly and smartly boxed up to-go as we look over the dessert menu. Before we decide which dessert we will all share, Dennis the Dining Room Manager shows up with a VIP dessert tray. It's not on the menu and I am assuming that only regular customers get it on their birthday (which my wife made mention of when making the reservation). The dessert tray is on a silver platter with a three-bite portion of every hand-made dessert in the house! A nice follow up to the perfect meal. Dennis announces that "we" don't sing happy birthday, to which I reply that he would get no rebuttal from me. Public happy birthday singing is a real turn off...anywhere.

I highly recommend III Forks to anyone seeking the perfect prime steak experience! You won't be disappointed.

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