Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille If you’re a native Texan you’re likely familiar with Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille; It is a home-state, home-grown family affair that rose from humble roots into a premier dining destination and steakhouse. In 1979 Bob Perry opened Perry’s Butcher Shop in Houston and became a community staple for quality meats and fine butcher cuts. Some years later and at the suggestion of his son, Chris Perry, Bob added the first few dining tables and started serving, and the legacy of Perry’s was born. Another ten years and an expansion later, Chris opened the first doors of Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille and quickly expanded throughout Texas, planting the flag and raising the bar for local fine dining and an unmatched steakhouse experience.
Location & Ambience It’s only fitting that Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille in downtown Austin selected an equally notable historical building for its first site in town. At the time of its construction in 1929, the Norwood Tower was the tallest building in the Capitol City and has been home to several banks throughout its first iteration of life. Its Gothic architectural design brings an air of metropolitan sophistication, making it the perfect setting for Perry’s. On arrival you are greeted by a friendly valet staff on 7th street at the corner of Colorado.
Entering the space feels grand: The vaulted ceilings and arches of the Norwood Tower and design of the entry signal that something great and important is about to happen. The restaurant is essentially divided into three spaces: Up front is the bar of which the perimeter sits underneath a row of sweeping Gothic arch-windows and a large square bar in the center with plenty of tables surrounding. The dramatic juxtaposition of the light billowing in from outside complements the more traditional dim light of the actual restaurant. It’s the perfect spot for after-work happy hour or pre-dinner cocktail. The other two spaces of the restaurant make up the dining room itself. There is the first floor main dining room and the grandiosity continues via a marvelous spiral staircase leading up to the second level. It has an entire wine cellar built into the first floor with a glass wall so that diners can peruse their selections. But the main attraction is a side dining area built into an original bank vault with a functioning armored vault door and a golden longhorn perched above the entrance. Passing the dramatic chandelier and up the spiral staircase, you find yourself in the second floor dining mezzanine area overlooking the main dining room and wine cellar. Appointments throughout of leather banquets and a deeply rich, dark color palette complete the decadent space.
To Begin Before ordering, our server arrived with menus and a basket of oven-warm fresh bread and whipped butter. To start the meal we opted for the classic steakhouse opener, a dry martini and shrimp cocktail. Our waiter made an offer of either classic olives or the more decadent blue cheese-stuffed option. The shrimp cocktail arrived on a bed of crushed ice with five colossal jumbo shrimp, lemon wedges, classic cocktail sauce and a ramekin of freshly shaved horseradish. It was the perfect segue for the rest of our meal. The shrimp were delicate and the fresh horseradish added the perfect zing to accompany the martini.
The Main Course For dinner we opted for two of the cuts that Perry’s is known for: The 10oz Filet Mignon and the Perry’s Famous Pork Chop The menu reminds diners that all of the steaks at Perry’s, including the filets, are USDA-aged prime beef hand-selected and cut-fresh daily. The filet was served on a hot cast iron plate and topped with Perry’s Signature Steak Butter. We ordered it medium-rare and it was cooked perfectly. The butter kept the meat rich and velvety and each bite had just enough of the crispy edge.
But the star of the show was the famous pork chop. The dinner chop is a delicious and sizzling hunk of meat, carved tableside and large enough for two. Our carver talked us through as he noted three cuts of meat in the chop: the lean portion being the bone-in pork loin (this is the traditional pork chop) but flanked by a nice rack of pork ribs and the “eyelash” or traditional eye of the chop which is the juicier/more fatty end. Before hitting the carving station it is cured and slow-roasted to a sweet glaze of perfection, then served with homemade applesauce.
For sides we kept the classic theme going and paired our meats with creamed spinach and grilled asparagus. I’m not usually a fan of creamed spinach if it’s too bogged down with cream or too watery but Perry's did not disappoint and I was happy I tried it as the flavor and bite of the spinach really held down the dish in a creamy and flavorful base that did not overpower. The asparagus was bright green and grilled to perfection easing our meat-indulged conscience by having some vegetables at the table.
Dessert The only way to round out a classic steakhouse experience is with crème brûlée and the daily-made variety at Perry’s is large enough to share for two and comes dusted with powdered sugar and beneath a small bundle of seasonal berries and mint. We ordered espresso with ours and just when we thought we didn’t have enough room, our dessert and coffee disappeared and left the perfect ending to our meal.
Final Thoughts If you're craving a classic steakhouse experience, perhaps celebrating a birthday, looking for a perfect power-lunch or just treating yourself to something special for any occasion, Perry’s will not disappoint. It’s worth noting that on Fridays from 10:30am to 5:00pm you can take advantage of the Perry’s Pork Chop Friday lunch special. Available for dine-in or take-out, $19 is all it takes for a lunch-cut portion of Perry's Famous Pork Chop served with whipped potatoes, homemade applesauce and bread.