By Kaitlin Steinberg
By Minh T Truong
By Molly Dunn
By Brooke Viggiano
By Kaitlin Steinberg
By Molly Dunn
By Molly Dunn
By Eating Our Words
Then I thought of the thick porterhouse, the Beefeater martini and the good-looking women at Bob's bar. And I began trying to write a commercial in my head. How about, "If steak is an exotic dancer, then this is her topless bar Bob's." Too sleazy?
Okay, then why don't you submit your own slogans? We can send them all to Bob's in a padded brown-paper envelope.
1801 Post Oak Blvd.
Houston, TX 77056-3803
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28 oz. porterhouse: $54.95
12 oz. filet mignon: $41.95
22 oz. bone-in rib eye: $42.95
Beefeater martini: $10
On my second visit to Bob's, my anonymity was compromised when I ran into the restaurant's publicist, Dick Dace, who I recently met at a food writers' conference. If he tried to influence the service I got, he did a bad job of it. They forgot to put our jar of pickles on the table. And my steak fell short of my admittedly high expectations.
All of the USDA prime steaks at Bob's are wet-aged. I got the "Cote de Boeuf," which is what they call their 22-ounce bone-in ribeye. It cost $42. The meat was tough and chewy, and the flavor was bloodier and more metallic than either side of the porterhouse had been. The coating of seasonings tasted much saltier, too. The excellent "smashed" potatoes tasted like mashed potatoes made out of baked potatoes.
My friend John Bebout got the 12-ounce filet mignon, which was as tall as it was wide. It looked like a baseball made out of steak. Bebout loved it. I found it very juicy, but tender to the point of mushiness. I hate to sound obsessed with the porterhouse, but it was a better steak for half the price.
Bebout had the waiter load his smallish baked potato with sour cream, bacon and green onions. Then he added a big hunk of butter for good measure and mixed it all up. It's been a long time since I tasted such an overdressed baked potato. It tasted more like bacon and dairy products than potato, which is not all bad.
Bebout got a glass of the old stand-by, Mondavi Cabernet. It was elegant and reserved, with a velvety texture and a cigar box aroma of cedar and tobacco, a wonderful wine with a prime piece of meat. I got an Acacia Pinot noir, which had a light cherry note to the aroma and flavor and a beautiful balance of acidity and fruit. It was quite restrained compared to the slutty new Southern California Pinots with their low acids, high sugar and jam jar fruitiness.
During the course of our dinner, a young man in a velour top, shorts and sandals wandered by several times. Bebout pointed his sloppy clothing out as a symptom of the decline of our civilization. Maybe he was just jealous. I know I was. Bebout was stylishly dressed in a tuxedo jacket and a white shirt, while I was wearing my favorite tie and a black blazer. But I would have been a lot more comfortable in shorts and flip-flops.
I said I thought that rappers were changing fashion. Sometimes the guy in the T-shirt and shorts is the richest guy in the restaurant. So the next time the kid walked by our table, Bebout asked him if he was a rich rapper.
The kid said yes he was, and that he had just flown in from California and was partying in the back room. There were plenty of women and champagne back there, he said, and we should come and join his private party when we were done with dinner.
"What's your name?" Bebout asked him.
"Paul Wall," he answered. Then he left to go smoke a cigar.
I can't say that I'm a Paul Wall fan, but I did sit in the same row with him at an Astros game once. And after a dozen people climbed over me to get his autograph, I asked somebody who he was. So I know what Paul Wall looks like. This wasn't Paul Wall, it was a slightly drunk kid who was returning our goofy questions with his own line of richly imagined bullshit.
Even if our steaks weren't perfect, we had a hell of a good time. After we paid the check, Bebout said we should go see what was really going on in the private dining room. It wasn't quite the champagne fest Paul Wall had promised us.
"It's a private party for Washington Mutual," a Bob's employee told us. We opened the door, walked in and Bebout pointed to our new friend.
"Is that Paul Wall?" he asked a guy at the table by the door.
"No, that's Maurice," the guy responded. "Has he been causing you any problems?"
"Not at all," Bebout said. When Maurice turned around to see what the commotion was about, Bebout yelled. "Hey Paul, we didn't see any champagne, so we told the waiter to put a bottle of Dom P. on your tab; hope you don't mind."
Everybody at Washington Mutual's private party turned and stared at Maurice. And we laughed all the way to the door.
It was just another night at Bob's.