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Kirby’s Steakhouse, Southlake, TX

I’ve gone through lots of phases of New Year’s Eve in my life.  As a young kid, my parents’ best friends had NYE parties, and it was the one night of the year we were allowed to stay up that late.  Prince’s “1999” was released when we were in 7th grade, and we all said how we would dance all night to the song when we got to 1999.  In my late 20’s we went to these big parties at a hotel in downtown DC that cost about $100 and included unlimited food & drinks.  It was an excuse to get dressed up and dance the night away.  We were at one of those parties in 1999, and when the clock struck midnight the music stopped and we all waited for the computers to fail and the lights to all go out, as so many “experts” had predicted.  None of that happened, so about 30 seconds later the music started, and we went back to dancing.  Oh and they only played “1999” once that night.  In my early 30’s it was all I could do to stay awake long enough to rock in the new year with Dick Clark, and I was asleep by 12:15.  Since I’ve lived in Oklahoma we’ve been on the bowl trip over NYE so we went out.  Last year in Dallas our official party bar had a NYE party with a free champagne toast, and we ended up dancing till about 3am.  That was fun until my alarm went off at 7am for the game.

Joni and I were trying to find something fun to do for NYE again this year.  This year the team hotel was about 10 minutes from Joni’s house, but 30 from last year’s bar so that was out.  Everything we looked into was wicked expensive, too far away, or both.  Eventually we decided on dinner at Kirby’s Steakhouse in Southlake.  Our reservation options were 5:30 or 9:00, so the late reservation it was.

Kirby’s is a great place, with 2 other locations in San Antonio and The Woodlands (just north of Houston).  It reminds me of a Ruth’s Chris steakhouse.  As you walk in on the left is the “entertainment room”, a den-like area that’s down a couple of steps with a grand piano, several tables with comfy chairs and a large fireplace.  Just beyond that is a bar with a couple of bar-height tables.  The main dining room is to the right as you enter the restaurant, and there’s a large private dining area that is separated from the main dining room by a large wall of wine.  I had never seen a high-end restaurant that brings in live music, but it works.  They only do it Friday and Saturday nights, and this was a really good cover band.  Kirby’s also offers a free shuttle to the surrounding hotels, which I think is a great amenity.  It was absolutely jam packed when we arrived at about 8:30, so we just maneuvered our way to a position at the bar for a drink while we waited for our table.

It was about 9:15 before we were finally seated.  Because of the crowds the entire private dining area was set up for regular dining.  We were disappointed because it took a while for our server to arrive, and then throughout the meal he was missing more than he was there.  I know it was packed and NYE, but that still isn’t an acceptable excuse for a high-end, fine dining restaurant.

There was a prix fixe NYE menu.  We each got one of the appetizers so we could all taste and share.

Oven roasted grape tomatoes

Kirbys Steakhouse, Southlake TX - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

I didn’t try the tomatoes because it was a very small serving, but Joni said they were really good.

Lobster bisque

Kirbys Steakhouse, Southlake TX - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

The lobster bisque wasn’t hot but I don’t think bisque is normally served scorching hot.  No matter, it was velvety creamy and had a wonderful flavor.  There were huge pieces of lobster in there, and the lobster was cooked perfectly.

House made gnocchi

Kirbys Steakhouse, Southlake TX - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

I was a little disappointed because the gnocchi wasn’t crispy as advertised, but that’s probably because it had been sitting for a little while before it got to our table.  But the flavor was delicious.  I had always been afraid of gnocchi because one time I had it at another restaurant and it wasn’t good at all.  But this one made me a believer.

Of course I had the ribeye as my main course.  It is by far my favorite cut of meat.

Kirbys Steakhouse, Southlake TX - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

Wow, that was a lot of steak!  But it was phenomenal, even though it was cooked a little more medium well and I had asked for medium.   I’m not even sure if sides were available on this special menu.  But honestly, we didn’t need any.

We were so full, so we decided to just share one dessert, the Belgian dark chocolate vortex

Kirbys Steakhouse, Southlake TX - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

This dessert was awesome!  I’m glad we split it because I never would have been able to finish the whole thing myself.  The white chocolate was cold and had a similar texture to cheesecake, which was a great contrast from the chocolate cake.

By the time we were done with dinner it was about 11:30, so we decided to go have a drink in the bar area and wait for midnight.  To our pleasant surprise they were doing a free champagne toast, so we filled up our glasses and put on our party hats.

Kirbys Steakhouse, Southlake TX - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

We made it until about 12:30 and then it was time for bed.

Will I go back?  I would like to try it again on a slower night because I truly believe it would be a better experience.  The food was already really good, so it was just the service that was lacking. High-end restaurants won’t stay that way without going above and beyond with their service. And there was some really good people watching going on.  We had fun overall experience, but unfortunately the service wasn’t up to par of that caliber of restaurant.

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