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On Dining, As I See It:

by Richard C. Ross


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It was a brisk Fall evening; the sun was beginning to dip low in the western sky and the last of the leaves were fluttering about in a chilly breeze as we descended concrete steps to the lower level of the Oak Brook Shopping Center.  Immediately to our right was the towering edifice of a brand new restaurant.  The outside was instantly stunning and austere; its curving glass and stone spoke of both  strength and warmth.

Exterior of Perry's Steakhouse & Grille -- on the lower level and adjacent to Neiman Marcus in Oakbrook Shooping CenterI was the beneficiary of an unexpected invitation to a "Sneak Peek Preview Reception" at the first-ever Chicago area location for Perry's Steakhouse and Grill and I was excited to see what the buzz was all about.  Perry's, by the way, was originally an old fashioned meat market. 

In its humble beginnings in 1979 (which explains the "Bar 79" logo you'll see in the restaurant), Bob Perry opened his first market on Scarsdale Boulevard in Southeast Houston, Texas.  Son, Chris Perry -- now CEO of the company -- decided in 1986 to add a dining room to the butcher shop.  From there... I would humbly suggest you visit the Perry's in Oak Brook (adjacent to Neiman Marcus) to see just how far things have progressed.  The restaurant will open on Monday, November 11th (2013).

From the moment we stepped through the front door, several items of note were immediately obvious; one thing that stood out first was the attention to detail.  From the uniforms on the staff, to the cobalt blue water goblets, wine glasses and polished silverware on the table, to the wall sconces, special lighting and candles, to the intricately-detailed and custom-designed island bar, to... well, you get the idea.  The details, though seemingly endless, are actually unobtrusive.  And while the ambience created is light, airy and modern, it is also warm and friendly.  This is definitely not a "traditionally stuffy steakhouse".

After a tour of the dining area -- which allows seating for 350 diners and includes a towering wine wall, five private dining rooms and an area that allows glimpses of the kitchen (where I imagine an extremely well-orchestrated faux-bedlam that resembles a Tchaikovsky symphony and a brilliant pas-de-deux) -- we adjourned to the bar area where the Perry's  resident mixologist Susi Zivanovic was delivering up some of the finest examples of cocktails that I could imagine... and believe me, I don't think I could have imagined these! 

How about a Classic Sidecar (with Hennessy VS and Grand Marnier), a Glenmorangie Ginger Blossom (I have no idea how she managed that wonderful flavor starting with 12-year-old scotch...), a soothing Pineapple Ginger Mojito, bright-as-daylight concoction called a Juniper Grapefruit (the Aperol really gave it a marvelous kick) or a very smooth Manhattan 46, made of course with Maker's Mark 46!

Asian Tuna Tartare on housemade won tonsAnd if those weren't enough to tantalize the taste buds, there were mouth-watering examples from the food side of the menu, too.  We sampled Asian Ahi Tuna Tartare on homemade won tons, some mini Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes, incredible Homemade Polish Sausage, Chateaubriand bites with three exquisite sauces (Merlot- Truffle reduction, Peppercorn and B�arnaise), Pork Chop Sliders and a savory 4-Strip Pizza (topped with thinly-shaved sirloin)... just to name a few.  I say a few, because you simply won't believe the creations on the full menu that await you... 

Perry's famous pork chopEspecially noteworthy is the Perry�s Famous Pork Chop (shown at right), which is carved tableside. "Hand selected in the Midwest specifically for Perry�s Steakhouse, this prime chop is cured, roasted, slow-smoked and caramelized and served with homemade applesauce".   It is "seven fingers" tall, oh so tender and delicious and I bet you can't eat it all at one sitting!

Perhaps the best part of all -- for me anyway, just because of my love of kitchens -- was the simple fact that Perry's makes everything from scratch, including all their own sauces.  They also perform tableside carving and flaming of specialized desserts.  I have not seen such attention to detail and such a passion to do things "the right way" in a very long time.  Those who know me well, know that I am not easily impressed when it comes to restaurants.  Perry's really impressed me.


If what I witnessed -- and I only saw but a glimpse of the items on the menu -- this past Thursday night is any indication of what the restaurant has to offer, it would be safe to bet the ranch that Perry's will be wildly successful.  I not only wish them all the best, I will be headed back to Perry's for dinner in the very near future!

Currently there are restaurants located in Austin, Dallas, Houston (six locations) and San Antonio, Texas; there is now the new Perry's in Oak Brook (the only one in Illinois) and one opening in Denver in 2014.  Each location's store is an entity unto itself; no two are alike and each is designed specifically for that location.  There are also two Perry & Sons Market & Grille locations in Texas.

Put Perry's on your list of  "must visit" fine dining venues.  A perfect exclamation point on some holiday -- or anytime -- shopping in Oakbrook Center would definitely be a stop at Perry's afterwards.

Learn more about Perry's Steakhouse & Grille at www.perryssteakhouse.com



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