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Kirby’s Lays On the Flavor

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Kirby's duck confit is served with foie gras and a blackberry-veal sauce.

Kirby’s Prime Steakhouse has produced a Restaurant Week menu that sounded so good I’m planning on going twice, just to try an array of the dishes being offered.

My first visit, on Tuesday evening, was spent with friends celebrating their 58th anniversary. And if that weren’t special enough, the food, some excellent wine and great service managed to push everything over the top.

Most of us in the group started the evening with slivers of tender duck confit presented in a succulent pool of lightly salty duck fat. On top was a judicious bit of foie gras that practically melted into the duck. A blackberry-veal sauce on the side tasted great, but it was almost unnecessary given the standalone perfection of the duck and the foie gras. One taste of that decadent combination and my toes were definitely curling. A sip of icy cold Mersault, with a steely undercurrent slicing through some lovely apple, completed the picture in high style. The other appetizer option is the sage-infused crab cake, which one of us said she thoroughly enjoyed. (I’ll try that on my next visit. If I can get past the duck …)

Kirby's at night.

There are five entrée options for the main course, including halibut and a large pork chop atop maple butter. I had enjoyed the chop last year at this time, so I decided to go with the Australian rack of lamb, with four meaty chops presented a beautifully red-at-the-center medium rare, as ordered. A sauce that tasted of dried mushroom, veal stock and butter gave the meat an even great kick, all of which were complemented by a merlot from Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars.

Several friends also enjoyed the Veal Oscar, a 5-ounce filet mignon with jumbo lump crab meat on top. The velvety meat ably demonstrated chef Daniel Nemec’s way with a steak, making you want more, though both found the small cut to be just right. (Larger cuts are available at an additional cost, as our waiter pointed out.)

Side dishes of sautéed vegetables and mashed potatoes were served family-style.

Dessert options included the signature chocolate spice cake, which is served warm and never fails to elicit a smile; a key lime pie that was pleasantly tart and creamy; and a Grand Marnier crème brûlée that bore no trace of orange or alcohol flavor, but did taste like pure whipped cream with a sugar crust on top. When I explained to the waiter that I was diabetic, he brought a welcome cup of fresh berries instead.

I would like to bring up two slight drawbacks to the evening that prompted more laughs than grumbles. One is that the noise level in the place, packed to the gills on a Tuesday night, was high. Maybe dinner in the now-smoke-free bar would have been a little more conducive to philosophical discourse — not that we had that in mind.

Australian rack of lamb with a shiitake-veal sauce.

The other is that the dining room is dark. Too dark to read the wine list. We had to borrow a flashlight from our waiter to do that. But it meant no photos of the happy couple, my other friends or even the dining area itself.

So what? The food and the fellowship combined to make the evening a joyous occasion. That’s what Kirby’s hopes to offer, and on that evening, it succeeded brilliantly. Now, for the return visit …

All Restaurant Week menus are $35 a person. For more, check out the Culinaria ad at the top of this page.

Kirby’s is offering its Restaurant Week menu through Sept. 3.

Kirby’s Prime Steakhouse
123 N. Loop 1604 E.
Dinner: Daily

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