This year, Kirby’s Prime Steakhouse began serving lunch on Fridays. The abbreviated menu includes many of their regular offerings along with a few Soups & Starters, Salads, a couple of “Lunch Specialties”, a prix fixe Executive Lunch, and several Burgers & Sandwiches.
Oh, you mean, ‘why have lunch at Kirby’s Steakhouse besides the awesome food?’ Well, if you really need an occasion, I would go with a celebratory lunch, birthday lunch, a business lunch meeting, lunch with the ladies, a deal-closing lunch, or maybe even a just because I want something different and have a little more than an hour to enjoy my lunch.
After completely enjoying our dinner at Kirby’s a few months back, we were eager to return for Friday Lunch. We began our lunch with the Soup of the Day ($4.95), which was a Cream of Chicken with Jalepeño Cilantro Essence, and split a Creole Salmon Salad ($16.95). He was both very curious and a little apprehensive to sample it after our server described it, but we were quite glad that he did. The chicken was tender, the flavor bouncing off of the vegetables while being linked together by the light cream sauce. In a word, that soup was kick-ass. Okay, that’s a hyphenated word. But you get what we mean, right? At the suggestion of our server, Ray, we had the kitchen go ahead and split the salad onto two plates for us. You can see in this image it was large enough for two, especially considering this was only half of our first course. Ray asked us what level of heat we would like our salmon prepared, and we agreed on a medium heat. The fresh baby spinach, sliced English cucumbers, Feta cheese, grape tomatoes and red onion were served chilled, topped with toasted pine nuts and sun-dried Tomato Vinaigrette. The salmon was warm and had a flavor so fresh you would have thought it had been caught in a nearby stream; and the creole seasoning was in fact spicy enough to have some heat to it, none of it masking the flavor of the salmon.
I opted for the Smoked Chicken Club ($13.95), which contained mesquite smoked chicken breast, a hint of mayo, several slices of Applewood smoked bacon, lettuce and tomato all layered into three slices of Texas Toast, and, like all of the burgers and sandwiches on the menu, was served with garlic fries. I don’t know what I was expecting – I guess a full-thickness chicken breast – but the chicken was first smoked and then sliced thinly and evenly stacked into the sandwich. This is a much better arrangement than your average chicken breast sandwich, which generally forces you to make quite a scene when biting into the thicker portions. I don’t want to over-state how great I thought this sandwich was, so let me put it this way: I was in love with this sandwich. Everything about it – the freshness of the bread and vegetables, the way it was assembled, the seasonings in the smoked chicken combining with the Applewood smoked bacon – I love this sandwich.
As for those fries? Well, like I said while we were there, they were amazing. Most places where you get shoestring fries, they end up all dried out in the middle and overdone. I don’t know how many tries it took them to perfect the frying time, but every fry on my plate was crispy on the outside, tender on the inside. And not only was there a nice garlic taste to the seasoning, there was also a hint of seasoned salt – my absolute favorite way to season french fries.
Note to self: I would like to have a good burger today but would gladly choose to wait til tomorrow to have a fantastic burger. That being said, I don’t consider myself to be terribly picky when it comes to burgers – some burgers are simply better than others. So earlier this week when we made plans to eat at Kirby’s, I decided to wait to get my next burger on Friday (they only serve lunch on Friday).
I ordered the Kirby’s Steakhouse Burger ($17.95), which weighs in at a hefty 10 ounces (pre-cooked weight) of in-house ground Sirloin. Add to that some tobacco-fried onion strings, Applewood smoked bacon, Tillamook cheddar and top it off with some homemade steak sauce on a freshly baked bun, and you’ve got what sounds like one fantastic burger on it’s way to your table. Plus, of course, some of those garlic fries. But somehow, for all the superb efforts of Chef Flowers and his well-trained kitchen staff, my burger completely went off the rails. While beautifully presented (as you can see below), unfortunately, those stringy onions make it difficult to bite into and successfully come away clean; probably one of those times when the steak knife would have been helpful. The next problem was with the manner in which it was prepared, as I’d asked for medium-well and what I got with both my original burger, and my subsequent replacement burger was – well… done, well donein fact. Finally, the oddest problem was this bizarre texture in the meat itself – almost a spongy, bouncy texture, not unlike when you can’t quite make any progress through a chunk of fat in a steak. We later learned a mishap had occurred with the ratios of how the sirloin had been ground that day, a mistake that seems so outside the scope of acceptability at Kirby’s, we were truly surprised it happened at all.
Fortunately, what we weren’t surprised by was the level of care and concern that went into attempting to correct the disappointing burger. Having heard stories in the past of how management and staff respond to any issues at Kirby’s, I really didn’t feel anyone there was doing anything out of the ordinary in their handling of the situation. Ray, our server, immediately responded table-side to address our concerns, observed the over-done patty and whisked it away to have it replaced as soon as possible with a new burger. Eric Saville is the Director of Private Events and Marketing, came by our table after seeing the burger go back to the kitchen, listened to my concerns with the beef texture, then had the kitchen prepare a burger for him so that he could understand and identify the issue. Shortly thereafter, Jeremy Stagner, the manager on duty, came by to personally apologize as well as discuss my concerns, all the while politely listening and making no excuses and then informing us that the issue had been resolved.
While the kitchen was preparing my replacement burger, I asked if I could step inside and snap a few photos. The one you see above is of the freshly baked buns Kirby’s serves their burgers upon. What you can’t tell from the photo is that someone accidentally left the tray of buns under those lamps when I exited the kitchen, so the comedic manner in which I attempted to cut into my second burger as a result of an overly-toasted bun had us both in stitches. It reminded me of Bill Cosby’s routine about Noah. The point is, what we had was a comedy of errors on all sides. So would I recommend the Steakhouse Burger from Kirby’s? I don’t really have an answer for that one. But I also wouldn’t let this whole situation taint my view of Kirby’s as a whole.
Though our lunch had run long, we tried to save room for dessert and opted for the Key Lime Tart and theApple Crisp (both $7.95). She also put Ray up to a bit of a challenge, asking for a Godiva coffee ($9) to be prepared as an iced beverage. At 90-odd degrees outside, it seemed like a good idea. I’d already topped off my caffeine system with the iced tea I’d had with lunch, so I passed. The apple crisp was better than I remembered it, with Blue Bell Vanilla Ice Cream atop a warm base of nuts, apples, and cinnamon. I enjoyed the overall flavor and the tender apples provided just the right amount of tartness. Her Key Lime Tart was, as she described it, limey – but in a good way. You could taste the fresh-fruit flavor of the limes, and the nutty, graham crust was great. Watch out for that tequila-spiked whipped cream, though – it’s got bite!
Though we were there for a little over two hours, much of that time can be attributed to our photo and note-taking and the aforementioned burger issue. But we noted other tables around us, though not seeming the least bit rushed, were mostly there for right around an hour or so. This is important if you’re limited to an hour for lunch, perhaps not so much if you’re out for a leisurely luncheon. We once again found ourselves enjoying the the presentation and flavor of nearly everything we ate, the ambiance of the dining room, and the attentiveness of the staff. Perhaps because of it’s tucked-away location, or because we didn’t arrive until after 1:30, the restaurant wasn’t very full, which also helps keep the mood relaxed and unhurried.
So if you’re looking for something different for lunch this Friday, check out Kirby’s. From the complimentary valet service upon arrival to the cheery send off from the hostess when you depart and everything in between, you’ll feel like you’ve received the royal treatment. Try them out and let us know what you think below.
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