Which was more fun, having a chance to continue exploring Restaurant Week offerings with a dinner at Kirby’s Prime Steakhouse or being seated a table next to Tim Duncan?
Actually, it was a tossup.
It’s hard not to like a restaurant that extends its special menu an extra week so people can get more tastes of what the city has to offer. And for four years now, Kirby’s has led the way in doing just that.
They also have developed quite a robust menu with plenty of variations, so that you can mold the meal to suit your appetite. Want the Filet Oscar but want a steak a little more substantial than the 5-ounce cut offered? For a little extra, you can have it in two larger sizes. Want an extra appetizer? Try the house-made gnocchi for an added $7.
We tried the latter and were rewarded with a bowl of fried puffs of potato with a ladleful of cream sauce boasting flavors of shallot and prosciutto. A few grinds of black pepper added a welcome touch of heat.
After we polished that plate off, we were ready for a serving of wild boar sausage with an Italian peppers and onion sauce, which was rustic and heartily robust, as well as a ramekin of escargots in a sun-dried tomato-garlic butter that begged to be sopped up with bits of the puff pastry sheet that arrived on top.
Entrées were a mixed lot. Australian rack of lamb featured four chops that had not been properly trimmed before cooking. So, while the flavor of the meat shone, especially with a touch of veal demi-glace on the plate and some shiitake mushrooms, too much effort was expended in cutting off a tough layer of fat on the outside that should have been removed before cooking. Pan-sautéed Veal Ladybird was cooked a perfect medium-rare, as ordered, with the fork-tender medallions gaining a lift from the tarragon and the cream in the Sauce Béarnaise that covered both it and some braised leeks.
Other entrée options included Parmesan-crusted Atlantic Salmon, Peppered Prime Sirloin and the aforementioned Filet Oscar with crabmeat, asparagus and more of that Sauce Béarnaise. Each table choosing the Restaurant Week menu also gets a plate of mushrooms, mashed potatoes and vegetables.
For dessert, my friend fought hard between key lime pie and Kirby’s signature Chocolate Spice Cake. The latter won out, and it proved to be a winner, with its touch of nutmeg and coffee in the warm, chocolate-rich cake and a scoop of refreshingly cool vanilla ice cream on top.
Meanwhile, the kitchen kindly obliged my request for a simple medley of berries topped with a drizzle of heavy cream. I know of no dessert so rewarding and am grateful to the staff for making the substitution.
It was at some point during the entrée that my friend pointed out Tim Duncan sitting next to us. I guess I was too absorbed in my veal to notice. Or perhaps I just couldn’t see in what is one of the most dimly lit restaurants in town. Despite the lack of natural light, there were plenty of eyes in the place on him. I’m sure the Spurs star wanted to enjoy a quiet night out with friends, but the thrill of having him nearby was palpable. He also graciously posed for at least one picture with a young red-haired girl who will likely be the envy of her class when she returns to school this week and shares her version of their encounter.
Culinaria’s Restaurant Week continues at a number of places around town. In addition to Kirby’s, the list includes Azuca, Biga on the Banks, Bin 555, Boardwalk Bistro, the Boiler House, Myron’s Prime Steakhouse, and both Tre Trattorias.
Kirby’s Prime Steakhouse
123 N. Loop 1604 E.