Chow, Baby: Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Del Freakin’ Great-O

After nearly a year-long run of adequate steaks at ridiculous prices, Chow, Baby was tired of screwing around. This time it was going to have a great steak at a ridiculous price, guaranteed. (Cue ominous foreshadowing music; we know how Chow, Baby’s great expectations always turn out.) So Chow, Baby dug out its cleanest jeans and a shirt with no writing on it and headed to Del Frisco’s (812 Main St.). Headed to Jones Street, actually. In a bit of personal freakonomics, Chow, Baby always allocates expense-account increases to upscale steakhouses (from, what, one visit in all of 1997 to about every other month this year), but no matter how working-class rich it gets, it can’t see paying $5 for valet parking. The few-block stroll from Jones Street to anywhere downtown counts as exercise, completely offsetting any health risk from overeating high-fat foods. According to Chow, Baby’s personal freakodietetics, anyway.
Del Frisco’s is old-school Fort Worth, in looks (dark wood, subdued lighting, bits of brick and brass), in clientele (from suited-up lawyers to denimed-up ranch hands, or maybe ranch owners, hard to tell), and in manners (friendly). “I’m here to make sure you have a wonderful evening,” said waiter André, and so he did, along with a bread-replenishment guy and two personal water-glass refillers. Chow, Baby let André recite the specials just for the pleasure of his company, though it already knew what it needed: Del Frisco’s well-marbled, gorgeously seared 16-ounce prime rib-eye ($34.95), with a side of that steakhouse classic, creamed spinach (8.95). Del Frisco’s calls its version “Spinach Supreme,” and rightly so: With bits of cheese and bacon in its au gratin sauce, it’s the best Chow, Baby has ever had. The steak was so perfectly tender and juicy, with just a bit of salt and pepper to bring out its natural flavor, that Chow, Baby didn’t care about the price. For Chow, Baby, the surprising twist to expecting the best at Del Frisco’s was that there was no surprise.

Little Strip of Big Easy
After getting yet another local “poor boy” with too few oysters in the wrong kind of breading on the wrong bread slathered with weird sauce, Chow, Baby was tired of screwing around. But, as Chow, Baby’s sane half keeps reminding its po’boy-obsessed half, one would have to be a real idiot to visit New Orleans in August, when the city is at its most steamy-swampy miserable. So Chow, Baby met New Orleans halfway, in Arlington.
The Pierre family left New Orleans after (or more precisely, during) Hurricane Katrina, regrouped here, and opened Pierre’s Mardi Gras Café in Euless. Now they’ve moved to slightly larger digs in an Arlington strip mall (2816 S. Cooper St.), though the deli-like space is still decorated in what Chow, Baby calls Early Bro’s Room: Saints posters, LSU Tigers posters, Jazz Fest posters, and miscellaneous Mardi Gras trappings. So Chow, Baby felt right at home, a feeling reinforced by Pierre’s zesty seafood gumbo (cup $3.99) and gooey, hearty, cinnamon-y, not-too-sweet bread pudding ($2.50). The clincher was a real oyster po’boy (6-inch $6.50), with big, perfectly fried oysters spilling out of near-perfect French bread — “near-perfect” only because we don’t have enough humidity here to get a properly flaky crust. But Chow, Baby is not obsessed enough to drive to New Orleans just for bread crust. No way. (Cue ominous foreshadowing music.)
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