"Social Hour" at Perry's Steakhouse in Sugar Land

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It's Friday evening around 6:00 p.m., and I'm at the dimly lit Bar 79 at Perry's Grille & Steakhouse Lounge in Sugar Land. They recently started doing a "Social Hour" from 4 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday -- half price appetizers, mixology drinks and wines on their bar menu. From the crowded lounge and bar, people seem to be loving it.

As is typical of a steakhouse, the bar is dominated by males, and on this night, it looks like the men are ready to unwind after a long week. There's a group of them sitting at the bar, joking around and watching TV, and all of them are wearing those bowling-type short sleeve shirts. Welcome to suburbia, folks.

During the Social Hour, you can do a tasting of "pick three mini-martinis" for half-price (just $6) from the Mixology menu, but I was craving something refreshing, so I ordered the Juniper Grapefruit, a fresh Texas ruby red grapefruit drink with crushed sweet basil against Belevedere Pink Grapefruit, New Amsterdam gin and Aperol to start. Properly shaken, it had barely the slightest hint of icy frost at the top, and came to me at the perfect temperature, a very nice summer cocktail.

On the bar menu, several items looked good from a happy hour standpoint: the Beef Tenderloin Sliders served with onion strings, the Cherry Pepper Calamari, Perry's Signature Fried Asparagus topped with jumbo lump crabmeat, and the ground fresh daily Kobe Burger served with choice of french fries or sweet potato fries. At half price, most of these would run about $5 - $7 each.

Perry's portions are very generous, and two bar items would have been enough for the two of us, but I couldn't resist ordering their tuna tartare. It's not one of their happy hour specials, but it's one of my favorite appetizers at Perry's, and it didn't disappoint. More of a Hawaiian-style Pokē than a tartare, the tuna is cut into small chunks and tossed with chopped green onion and what I gather to be a soy-mirin-honey-wasabi dressing. It is topped off with sesame seeds. Served with fried wonton chips, the quality of the tuna is sashimi-grade firm, and texture of crispy thin wonton against the tuna was excellent.

As expected, the Cherry Pepper Calamari portion was extremely generous and enough for 3 or 4 to share, really. And while it was also done very well -- the calamari had just enough of a bite and the crispy fried overlay was light and thin -- I'm a total spice wimp, and the peppers were just too spicy for me.

The Kobe burger, which I ordered medium rare, came out looking overdone but I think it was a lighting trick. When I cut it down the middle, the center was a perfect dark pink medium rare, and though I would have preferred a softer bun, all in all this was a good burger and I couldn't complain one bit about it being half price.

I ordered a tasty and strong Ginger Pineapple Mojito for the last happy hour call and couldn't have been happier. It was sweet, strong and well made, the carbonated fizz enhanced by the ginger-pineapple; I could have had a few more of those if we didn't have to leave for our movie.

My mind always draws a blank when I think of happy hours in Sugar Land because there really aren't that many places to hang out. Compared to other options -- think Baker's Street Pub or Kona Grill -- the new Social Hour at Perry's is a pretty good choice if you want some great, strong cocktails and steakhouse-type bar grub without the price tag. To top it all off, for the rest of the month of July, they are offering $4 anniversary specials Monday through Wednesday after 4 p.m., which include an eight-ounce portion of the Perry's famous pork chop -- now that's a deal.

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