If you head over to West Dallas, off Olive Street, you’ll find an interesting place called Victory Park. It’s only a few years old, but it’s definitely worth visiting when you’re in town. Not only does Channel 8, WFAA-TV, maintain a broadcasting studio there — with glass walls, so you can gawk at the local news personalities as they work — but American Airlines Center, our newest and most expensive sports stadium, anchors the far end.
Needless to say, there are also other interesting attractions here, including some enormous TV screens, mostly showing excerpts from Channel 8’s programming and (of all things) airport traffic patterns. When I first entered the park and was checking the place out, I thought that there were just three big screens mounted on the walls of the park, one atop the American Airlines Center façade and one to either side. As it turned out, the ones on either side moved back and forth v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y on rails, which I thought was cool enough; but then they each split into four screens that went their separate ways for a while. Now, is that nifty, or what?
You can get everything from ice cream to news and Italian food at Victory Park, not to mention the lovely steaks, which was my reason for coming in the first place. You see, I received an invitation from the delightful Susan Friedman to attend a celebration of the N9NE Steakhouse’s second anniversary on July 3 of this year. It’s rare that I get a chance to visit a five-star restaurant, so of course I attended.
The N9NE Group, which operates the N9NE Steakhouse, also operates the Nove Italiano restaurant just as few feet down from the Steakhouse, where I was shocked — yes, shocked!– to discover a series of adult topiaries. Really!
Okay, I suppose you could consider these “adult” only if you’re a real prude, since they’re obviously a celebration of the feminine form, and there’s nothing to say that they’re not wearing clothing. Very thin, skin-tight clothing.
But anyway: the steakhouse. From the outside, N9NE steakhouse is a classy, modern glass-and-steel construction that, when I went about seven in the evening, was quite well-attended inside and out, especially in the bar area, lounge, and at the outdoor tables. Here’s what it looks like on the outside.
This is fated to be the last photo of the restaurant, because I’ve learned that restaurateurs don’t usually like you to take pictures in their establishments unless you make arrangements in advance (which of course I didn’t), and I didn’t feel comfortable sneaking shots anyway — especially since there was a very large, polite man in a suit standing at the end of the counter in the foyer. You can’t really see the counter or the large man in this shot, but I assure you, they were there. After some hesitation, I went in and gave the hostess up front my invitation, which she seemed not to know what to do with; but she gratiously directed me into the establishment. I have to say I enjoyed the lovely waterfall behind the hostess counter; this place really is stylish.
Once you enter the establishment, you find a long, highly-polished bar perpendicular to you on the left, fronted by a narrow floor area separating it from the restaurant proper, which is sunken several feet below the bar and romantically (i.e., dimly) lit. There’s a circular bar down in the middle of the dining floor. To the right as you enter is a large. glassed-in enclosure that contains racks upon racks of all kinds of wines. I’m no wine critic, admittedly, but the selection seemed quite large and very good. I avoid alcohol because of my diabetes, so no drinks for me, but the food itself (which, alas, I also had to limit my intake of!) was wonderful. I’m always amazed at how a really good restaurant can turn dining into a memorable gastronomic experience.
The bar area was absolutely choked with people, all much more beautiful and younger than I, chatting away. As I had no one to chat with, I had some canapés and looked around. The place was quite richly appointed in every particular; and while I don’t exactly limit my culinary excursions to McDonald’s, I nonetheless felt somewhat out of my league. Make no mistake, I’ve been in top-notch restaurants before — Brennan’s, Commodore’s Palace, and Christian’s in New Orleans all come to mind, as does Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse here in Dallas. However, it’s been a while, and this time I wasn’t accompanied by anyone, so of course I was a little uncomfortable. But! I must say, I enjoyed myself while I was there. The staff was polite and professional, and if they were bothered by an apparently rootless single man who just wanted to wonder around, they didn’t show it. There was a jazz combo playing quietly in the background the whole time, which was nice.
Now, the menu. It’s pretty standard for a restaurant of this type: $15-18 appetizers, $9-13 salads, $9 sides, $25 Kobe steak burgers (with fries), and entrees ranging from $26-84. That last is a huge 40-ounce double bone-in ribeye, incidentally; and for $20 more, you can add a lobster tail or crab legs. Caviar is $115 an ounce, and you can get can platters of shellfish for $65 or $115. It was nice to see that the entrees usually included sides; you don’t have to order them a la carte, as you do in some fancy restaurants.
My humble opinion? Thumbs way up. If you’re in Dallas and you need a good, top-quality meal, you can’t beat N9NE Steakhouse. So go. See Victory Park, peer in at the Channel 8 news guys, and ogle the adult topiaries while you’re at it. It’s at 3090 Olive Street, and the restaurant’s open Monday-Saturday after 5:30 PM. You’ll need reservations, so call (214) 720-9901. If you want to learn more about what’s what at N9NE, visit their website at http://www.n9negroup.com/#/n9nedallas/main/.