Are these going to be the Roarin’ Twenties, Part Deux? Will the end of a year of sort-of quarantine mean everyone is about to spend spend spend like it’s some martini-inspired fever dream?
Some restaurant operators seem to think it’ll be the case, which may help explain the smattering of shiny, new fine-dining establishments. One of these more opulent spots is Gatsby’s Prime Steakhouse, a black-and-red-toned concept in the former and short-lived second location of B.B. Lemon on Montrose Boulevard. Gatsby’s is the brainchild of businessman Luis Rangel, who nabbed Bar Victor next door and will name it—you’ll never guess—the Daisy Buchanan Lounge.
Gatsby’s has its place in a post-vaccination, treat-yourself world; specifically, it’s the place for people who love to spend and say “oooh!” about four to five times per meal.
First, there are two kinds of deviled eggs on the menu. One is a deluxe version with fried shrimp and bacon jam. I got the regular deviled eggs, but those are fried—it’s basically a ball that looks a lot like a giant jalapeño popper, but inside is a hard-boiled egg white with whipped yolk. Oooh, fancy deviled eggs.
Then there’s maple-glazed bacon, or more accurately, a tomahawk-shaped slab with a sugary glaze so smoky it should come with an alarm. Oooh, wood chips.
The seafood towers, which are customizable and can include oysters (Gulf Coast and East Coast), crab legs, lobster, and cocktail shrimp, cause a scene with a dry-ice-powered fog show. When the fog lifts, your shrimp may or may not be tough to chew, and your East Coast oysters may lack salinity, but oooh!
I like the steak at Gatsby’s. When I visited, the New York strip was cooked by chef Erick Anaya to a perfect medium-rare, as per request, and the thicker Delmonico steak—a more unusual find in a Houston steakhouse—held plenty of juicy flavor. Both paired well with sides like cream corn brûlée, whipped potato, and, my favorite, super-crispy roasted brussels sprouts.
But there’s an optional presentation for your steak entrée: a hot plate … as in, a scorching-hot plate that your food is placed on. This is another oooh moment (though touch it and it’s an ow moment), but here’s my advice: If you want a medium-rare steak throughout your meal, and you want the food on the hot plate, order your steak rare. Heck, blue might be even better. That plate cooks the meat; my medium-rare turned medium mighty quick, which was unfortunate.
Gatsby’s wants to show off. There are gimmicks; to some they may be whimsical, but to others they might reveal a place trying a little too hard. I’ll give them a pass. No worries—order a stiff cocktail (my Boulevardier was good and punchy), have some steak, maybe skip the hot plate, and relax. Especially if you’re vaccinated. You deserve it. A toast (but not that one).