In honor of its Fifth Anniversary, the Strip House, 1200 McKinney, is offering a five-course meal for $55 that is a real deal for anyone not bothered by a whole lot of pictures of naked women on the walls around the room.
Actually, the photos add to the adventure and certain charm of a place whose floral napkins actually turn out to be the nude silhouettes.
We got an early look at the special that will run in January and February 2010. We started off with lobster bisque cappuccino with chives. This scored huge points; no thin broth here, but real substance, even chunks of lobster. The excellent rolls they served made it all the better.
The next course wasn't as flashy. Don't know if they were trying to clear our palates or what, but the balsamic glaze on the grilled tomato and bufala mozzarella salad was so understated as to be non-existent. Some zing, some zest would have helped pick it up.
The standout dish of the evening was the seared sea scallop with edamame succotash, black truffle butter and corn broth. Chef Steven "Skip" Vanderpool made it even more special by tossing in some lobster and putting a dollop of caviar on top ("I was going to do an oyster throw down this past weekend but one of my sous chefs got sick. I have a bunch of seafood left over," he said.) The scallop was slightly crispy on the outside, while staying moist throughout.
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Next was the six-ounce filet mignon with goose fat potatoes. Both were fine, but the star of the plate was the black truffle creamed spinach. As my 17-year-old dining companion put it: "This was great and I don't even like spinach."
The grand finale was the Strip House profiterole, which was chocolate malt and espresso ice cream, shoveled inside a pastry shell, with hot fudge sauce. The dish gets a perfect 10 for presentation, given that a waiter delivers the dish to the table and then pours the sauce over the dessert, from about two feet above the table.
Vanderpool says he finally learned a long time ago to stay out of the way of the best flavors of his food. "I got over myself a long time ago as a chef," he says with an easy laugh. "You learn not to mess with it so much," says the graduate of the New England Culinary Institute.
If you're going to treat yourself early into the New Year, and you're looking for an excellent meal at special prices, you might think about joining the Strip House in its anniversary celebration. No extra charge for the eye candy.