If it’s Saturday night in Dallas and you want seafood, where do you go? Bailey’s Prime Plus, a steakhouse, would probably not be your first choice, but that’s where we ended up. We started at Kona Grill at Northpark, but it was a little too sushi-ish for my husband. Then we wandered across Central to The Shops at Park Lane figuring our old favorite, Gordon Biersch, probably had something fishy on the menu, but got distracted by something shiny – the awning over at Bailey’s.
(Aren’t big cities great? After a six year sojourn on the Central Coast of California, I still get excited about having hundreds of restaurants to choose from, no matter what part o Dallas I’m in.)
Bill pulled to the curb and sent me in to ask about seafood. The hostess wasn’t too enthusiastic about that category, but gave me a menu to peruse. Halibut, Scallops, Salmon and some seafood-infused appetizers seemed sufficient to me, so we parked the car and offered ourselves up to the experience, because Bailey’s had been on my wish list for a while.
I’d seen it first at the Village at Fairview, but since Bailey’s is only open for dinner, I’d been disappointed when I’d tried to lunch there. I was with my Mom and thought she’d be wowed by the whole Southern plantation look of the Frisco location. Apparently, The Village at Fairview wasn’t a good fit, because Texas Land and Cattle Company is now taking over the Bailey’s location.
Fairview might have been all about Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler beneath the gold-filigreed columns, but Park Lane is all about City Chic. Entering the restaurant was truly an oooh-aaah moment. I mean, really, how many restaurants have streams flowing through their center? We so casually use the word awesome today that it’s lost a little of its awesomeness, but it’s still the first word that comes to mind. Great big trees, the marble-encased stream, an extraordinarily-wide gold border painted near the ceiling, gigantic modern paintings. Bailey’s truly offers a visual feast.
From the vantage point of hindsight, I realize we should have been worried when Bailey’s was able to seat us immediately on a Saturday night. We’re not exactly rock stars, you know. We’d been on a thirty minute wait list at Kona’s and patrons were overflowing from Gordon Biersch’s patio. We walked in and sat down at Bailey’s without so much as a do-you-have-a-reservation. I’d be really surprised if there were five tables of diners. I didn’t actually count, but the place was pretty empty. At the time, we were more interested in each other and seafood than anything else. I guess we felt lucky.
Bill’s a very interesting guy to hang with and though it might surprise you, I wasn’t shocked at all when the whole seafood thing disappeared into thin air. We chose and enjoyed an appetizer, Crab & Artichoke Fritters, and shared their version of a Caesar salad. Going with the flow is very important in our marriage. Instead of an entree, we decided to share a dessert. When we couldn’t decide which one, Bill suggested I ask the waiter for a recommendation and headed towards the restroom.
My dessert inquiry evoked visions of grandeur. The waiter said he was actually a chocolate kind of guy, but he recommended the Strawberry Shortcake, because the presentation was “out of this world.” Remember, I’m sitting next to a marble-encased stream among 25 foot tall fake trees. I’m thinking Bailey’s has “out of this world” down pat, so I ordered the shortcake. Bill returned before the dessert arrived and I filled him in on the recommendation I’d gotten.
When the waiter arrived with our dessert order, we expected trumpets and fireworks. He set the shortcake between us with a flourish and strutted away. Bill and I both burst out laughing. Out of this world? Not exactly. In fairness, it was delicious , but the presentation was not “out of this world.” At best, it was tidy, but don’t look for it on the cover of Gourmet magazine.
So should you go to Bailey’s? Who knows? Their beef might be as out of this world as the decor, but I wouldn’t go for the strawberry shortcake. The prices are reasonable, in a Dallas-steakhouse sort of way, but they’re certainly no bargain. However, I can heartily recommend that you drop by for a drink, just to see the place. The decor certainly deserves your attention.