Perry’s Steakhouse has the chops to carve its own delectable niche.
The steakhouse competition in south Denver is tougher than…uh, I can’t say a two-dollar steak, can I? Fleming’s, Brook’s, Del Frisco’s, Shanahan’s, Cool River—all offer an exceptional dining experience.
Now entering the fray is Perry’s Steakhouse & Grill, near the Vistas at Park Meadows Retail Resort. From Castle Pines and points south, Perry’s is a slightly closer destination, but approaching from the north for my first visit, I wondered: what could possibly set Perry’s apart? All of the big boys use USDA-aged Prime beef, so no advantage there. When I was seated and started perusing the menu for appetizers, I noticed standard steakhouse fare: Ahi tuna, calamari… wait, Homemade Polish Sausage?
And that’s the entry point for the Perry’s story, which goes back 35 years to the Scarsdale neighborhood of Houston, where Bob Perry ran a modest meat market. When son Chris graduated from college, he came to work at the shop and added tables. Then the operation expanded into the space next door, and then Chris opened the first Perry’s.
Chris has since crafted an effective résumé. Legend has it he can look at a well-done steak and tell how much it weighed before it was cooked. Now the family-owned group of restaurants is expanding outside Texas. Earlier this year, Chicago got one; and in September Perry’s opened its 12th at Park Meadows. It’s the first-ever in Colorado, and it features all of Perry’s modern design touches—a towering wine wall, sleek yet gentle lighting, four private dining rooms for groups and special events, and an island bar.
An open-concept kitchen space is where the steaks are cut butcher-fresh daily, but the first thing the crew does every morning is fire up the smoker. There’s not a lot of pecan wood in Colorado, but Perry’s uses nothing else; it’s as tasty as hickory, but with a lighter aroma and a mellow, nutty flavor…which informs the Homemade Polish Sausage. There’s a heavy Polish population in central Texas; every barbeque house in the state can do a brisket, but if you don’t have a good sausage, you won’t survive. Perry’s is heavy on the paprika, sliced thin, served with barbeque and Dijon dipping sauces and club crackers. I proclaim it the best of the wurst.
But there’s no topping the seven-finger-high Pork Chop (pictured at top), one of the most fantastic entrées ever to confront my carnivorous cravings. It’s a hand-selected prime chop, rubbed with proprietary seasoning, dry-aged for two days, cured for another two, then slow smoked 4-6 hours. Upon order, it’s glazed, broiled for a bit of caramelization and served with homemade applesauce.
Perry’s used to bring the chop whole, but that proved a tad intimidating to diners who never eat anything bigger than their head. It’s now carved tableside into portions and plated as five pieces—the “eyelash” (the name Perry’s has given to the section found above the eye of the chop, the most marbled and melt-in-your-mouth tender), three baby back ribs and the center cut loin—topped with Perry’s signature herb-garlic butter (I thought I detected a hint of pecorino). For a bargain, check out the Friday lunch special (where a smaller 5-finger chop is served for $12.95 and comes with whipped potatoes) or the Sunday dinner special (the seven-finger chop with salad and dessert).
Such presentation is one way Perry’s elevates itself. There are plenty of tableside shows, and I recommend ordering Chateaubriand (pictured above) for two off the menu, a romantic, decadent meal that’s dished up with flair. The succulent uncut roast from the tenderloin filet is seared and roasted until it’s juicy on the inside, carved at the table and topped with Perry’s sauce trio—shallot merlot, béarnaise, black peppercorn reduction— with steamed asparagus. In the wrong hands, Chateaubriand can be easily mangled and look unappetizing, but Perry’s “specialists” expertly carve the slices on a slight angle, cutting across the grain (shortening the fibers, making the meat easier to chew) and portioning it into gorgeous, rosy medallions.
The Signature Flaming Desserts are also showstoppers. Go for the Nutty d’Angelo—crushed pecans are cooked in butter, then engulfed in a whoosh of flames with brown sugar and brandy, served over vanilla Häagen-Dazs dipped in white chocolate and toasted almonds to form a delectable shell.
The secondary courses had outstanding touches. For an appetizer, I devoured Perry’s Signature Fried Asparagus (pictured above)—fat, tender spears cooked perfectly with snap, topped with sweet lump crabmeat and hollandaise. The Chopped Salad with Applewood-Smoked Bacon arrived with an Italian vinaigrette (skipping the mustard makes it more acidic than the French counterpart) served with warm Tuscan sourdough bread made by a local bakery. The killer side was the Sweet Sriracha Brussels Sprouts, flash-fried to get those babies to open up, then sautéed with peppers and sesame seeds, getting sweetness from caramelization and spice from the titular hot sauce.
Premium wines are specially created by Amici Cellars of Napa Valley; the winemaker makes Perry’s private label Chardonnay (a Bordeaux-style white, perfectly paired with the citrusy component of the Fried Asparagus appetizer) and Cabernet. Also, my introductory Homemade Polish Sausage was washed down with a Breckenridge Manhattan made with bourbon from Breckenridge Distillery, showing some local love. Bonus points for the garnish of Luxardo gourmet cherries—not the neon red maraschinos or the candied horrors that some workaday bars use, but sour Marasca cherries soaked in sugar syrup for a denser, meatier texture, a natural dark red color and a real fruit flavor that interacts well with the spirits.
Service is the other category where Perry’s throws down. Our waiter Jeff impeccably guided us through the meal, and I was more impressed than distracted by the managers’ earpieces. No, they weren’t expecting the president to walk in— anyone with a food allergy knows the sinking feeling of informing your server and hoping that word makes its way to the proper channels, but Perry’s people make certain that such details are covered every step of the way.
The eclectic setting also features live music daily in the bar and piped into the dining area. “Mr. Perry,” as the staff refers to him, works with a talent agency to meet his specific taste, which I’m happy to report, enjoyably ranges from Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” to 10cc’s “Dreadlock Holiday” to Lorde’s “Royals.” Me, I left humming Crabby Appleton’s “Go Back.” I can’t wait to return to Perry’s.
8433 Park Meadows Center Drive, Lone Tree; 303-792-2571; perryssteakhouse.com