PaperCity Magazine

May 2019- Houston

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Page 129 of 131

GOING GLOBAL 128 E arlier this year, Chris Perry, owner of Perry's Steakhouse & Grille, proudly unveiled his brand's gleaming flagship eatery at its first (and likely only) location inside the loop. He reportedly spent in the neighborhood of $9 million to build out the former California Pizza Kitchen space in River Oaks Shopping Center for his homegrown concept, which celebrates 40 years in business. His father, Bob Perry, actually opened it in 1979 as a humble meat market, Perry's Butcher Shop & Deli, in Southeast Houston. It wasn't until 1986, when young Chris came to work with his dad and convinced him to put a few dining tables in his shop, that the eatery idea was conceived. They eventually expanded to the space next door, opened another spot, and officially changed the name in 1993. With 16 doors (seven in the Houston area) and counting, the now- nationwide chain is known for both for its Nebraska-raised, USDA-stamped prime cuts (wet-aged 28 to 35 days) and a pork chop so massive that it measures seven fingers in height. The two-story jewel, created in collaboration with Chicago- based architecture firm Aria Group, opens every day at 4 pm for dinner and at 11 am Friday only for lunch, where a modest portion of Perry's dry-rubbed pork chop, smoked for four to six hours and served with whipped potatoes and homemade apple sauce, takes a starring role on the menu ($15). The full- sized prime portion, enough for three or four, is $40. Inside the neutral space, amidst glints of brass and glass, high- and low-top tables are available without reservation. Bar 79, as it's labeled, proffers bar bites as well as the full menu. GM Mike Thompson oversees the 12,000-square-foot space with four private dining areas, while chef Edgar Rubio, under corporate chef Grant Hunter, stays atop the doings in the glass-walled kitchen. Poised in the upstairs dining room at one of the teal-tufted b a n q u e t t e s , I started my m e a l w i t h t e m p u r a - fried lobster tail ($30 for four ounces) and one of my favorite classic dishes, steak tartare, cut from a filet, minced, and seasoned with a hint of mustard then topped with an egg yolk enrobed in olive oil and served with toasted bread spears ($16). Both dishes were beautifully done. Moving on to entrees, we ordered the signature chateaubriand served tableside (captain's style, $55, topped with fresh lump crabmeat). The tenderloin cut is cooked on point to a medium rare, as it should be, sliced tableside and served with a trio of sauces — my favorites were the complex merlot demi-glace with a hint of truffle and the béarnaise. As you might expect, we also shared the pork chop, carved tableside in three distinct parts, to be eaten in this order: the baby-back rib, the eyelash (a marbled, unctuous area above the eye of the chop — my fave), and the leaner loin. Perry's wine list is 70 percent domestic, mostly from California, with an additional captain's list of selections from Italy, France, Spain, and Australia, priced $100 to $2,500 (the latter, for Bordeaux first-growth bottles). Reservations upstairs are suggested. Perry's Steakhouse & Grille, 1997 W. Gray St., 346.293.8400, Laurann Claridge HE HAS A STEAK IN IT M ari and Xavier Godoy are passionate in their belief that good food can transport you around the globe. That's the philosophy behind their new Heights spot, Mastrantos, where they and former Tiny Boxwoods executive chef Tony Castillo prepare their own brand of fresh fusion fare. Almost two decades ago, the Godoys left Venezuela for Texas, where they had both earned tennis scholarships. They married, had three children, and pursued careers in the corporate world. But two years ago, they downsized their lifestyle to live in small villages in Italy, and learned to cook pasta like nonna would. Back home, they baked bread and made pasta from scratch for family and friends, which culminated in the idea for this casual breakfast, lunch (coming soon), and dinner joint. At Mastrantos, the focus is on the Dough Lab, where pastry chef Eliu Palacios creates passion-fruit-filled croissants, quick breads, and cachitos (Venezuelan kolaches), along with fresh pastas daily. Breakfasts include Ohh My Arepas, grilled corn patties topped with scrambled eggs, avocado and cilantro salsa ($12), and fresh bowls ranging from oats to almond milk quinoa and a daily parfait ($10). For dinner, focus first on Castillo's strong vegetable starters, such as salt-roasted beets on a bed of crisp crumbs of dehydrated beets and creamy gorgonzola ($12) and carrots over carrots, multicolored roasted baby carrots atop carrot-enriched hummus ($12). Pastas include Bolognese ($12/18), coconut curry linguini ($10/$16) and agnolotti filled with sweet purple potato purée ($22). There are also limited fish and beef selections, plus an edited wine and beer list. Mastrantos, 927 Studewood, 346.227.8458, Laurann Claridge Mini-martini trio Salt-roasted beets Chateaubriand

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