A Meal Worth CelebratingDec 01, 2021 ● By Lisa Sciortino
‘Tis the season for fine dining, when sipping a fancy cocktail, splurging on a succulent steak and concluding a luxurious meal with an over-the-top dessert is considered a perfectly acceptable way to celebrate the holidays.
Of course, what some think of as strictly a special-occasion meal is served six nights per week at Bob’s Steak & Chop House in Plano. In fact, I felt a pang of regret for lacking a legitimate cause for celebration (no birthday nor anniversary to fete) during a recent weeknight dinner with a friend at this classic steakhouse.
With a reservation secured, we approached the host stand and were cheerfully greeted by a staffer who promptly led us to one of the large, red booths along the dining room wall. On the walk over, I noticed that Bob’s beautiful bar area, bathed in soft light and backed by tall mirrors, was busy this night with patrons sitting and standing while enjoying pre-dinner drinks.
As soon as we were seated, a member of the waitstaff appeared and removed the extra place settings from our table, followed immediately by another who offered a hearty welcome and filled our water glasses.
Within moments our server, Summer, arrived. Upon learning that we were first-time diners at Bob’s, she launched into an explainer about the menu, highlighting its Prime beef selections and advising that all entrees are served with potatoes (baked, “smashed” or skillet fried and topped with sauteed onions and peppercorn gravy). She also told us about the giant glazed carrot that accompanies the entrees.
Clearly, we needed a few moments to consider all of delicious information that had been presented to us, and decided it’d be best to do so over a glass of Prosecco and a Peach Martini. There was no denying the refreshing, fruity flavor of the latter, which failed to be overpowered by the generous pour of vodka in the drink.
We were grateful to be able to counteract at least some of the alcohol’s effects with slices of the crusty bread and oversized pat of butter that had been delivered to the table. Warm and oh-so pillowy, it took all the willpower we could muster not to devour the entire loaf as we awaited the arrival of the Maryland-Style Crab Cake that we split as an appetizer. Served with a tangy honey-mustard sauce, the fresh crab meat – studded with bits of red and green peppers – was lightly battered and fried to a slight crispness. It was one of the tastiest crab cakes I’ve had in years.
Ever-attentive Summer and other waitstaff members were no strangers at our table. They visited frequently throughout the meal to sweep breadcrumbs off the white tablecloth, swap out silverware between each course and ask how we were enjoying our food and beverages. She also delivered another loaf of warm bread that we enjoyed with our respective salads.
Per Summer’s recommendation, I opted for the Chopped Tomato, Onion & Fresh Mozzarella salad, which arrived swimming in a pool of vinaigrette dressing. She didn’t steer me wrong: With its chunks of fresh tomatoes and super-soft mozzarella, as well as thinly sliced slivers of red onion, this salad was terrific. My friend was equally impressed with the hearty Caesar Salad, which featured a good amount of crunchy, buttery croutons and a substantial sprinkling of parmesan cheese atop the crisp, chopped lettuce.
The crowd at the bar thinned a bit as tables in the dining room continued to fill throughout the evening. The air was thick with the conversations of diners who appeared to include several couples on dates, one or two “Girls’ Night Out”-type gatherings, corporate colleagues and even a family with a young child in tow. Later, a party of at least 20 people filed down a hallway toward an adjacent private dining room. Bob’s was certainly busier than we had expected it would be on a Monday night. Still, the excellent service never wavered.
Despite having already feasted on the addictive bread loaves, top-notch crab cake and substantial salads, it was time to order our entrees. A steak was the clear choice for my friend and, as expected, Bob’s menu boasts an impressive selection of them – from Prime Ribeye and T-Bone to New York Strip. At Summer’s suggestion, she ordered a 9-ounce Filet Mignon cooked “medium-plus” (slightly pink), with smashed potatoes. A sucker for seafood, I went with the Broiled Salmon, a baked potato and a side of Fresh Asparagus for the table.
The perfectly cooked filet arrived boasting a crispy char around the edges that gave way to a soft, juicy center. As one would expect, the steak was delicious and did not disappoint. The rich smashed potatoes, made with heavy cream, tasted as close to homemade as it gets.
The skin-on salmon filet, topped with a pat of herbed Maitre d’ Butter and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, was wonderfully fresh and flakey. The fluffy baked potato was served with butter, sour cream and scallions, as requested, and the roasted, tender-crisp asparagus boasted a slight hint of smokiness.
There’s a reason the glazed carrot is described on Bob’s website as “iconic”: Never before have I seen – let alone been served – a carrot this large. Fork-tender and slightly sweet (but not cloyingly so, as some versions of this side dish can be), it was tasty.
We were undeniably stuffed by meal’s end – but not enough to pass on trying one of the place’s house-made desserts. The colossal carrots served with our entrees apparently weren’t enough to satiate some strange craving we both must have had that night, because we ended up sharing a slice of Carrot Cake.
The behemoth slice of this spice-forward cake stood four layers tall, each sandwiched between thick, slightly tangy cream cheese frosting. Partially coated with crunchy, chopped walnuts, it was a delicious nod to the traditional flavors of the holiday season and a fitting finale to a wonderfully luxurious meal.
Whether celebrating a holiday or a major milestone, or simply treating yourself to an exceptional weeknight dinner, given its outstanding ambiance, food and service, a meal at Bob’s Steak & Chop House in Plano can’t help but feel like a special occasion any day of the year.
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