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[Dallas] "Foreign" steak joints. BLT gone, too.


jsmeeker
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What's the deal with "foreign" steak joints in the Dallas market? Recently, BLT Steak shut down. It wasn't opened very long. Before that, Smith and Wolensky came to town to open a place and it too closed. What are they doing wrong? Do us Dallas folks prefer our steak joints to be "home grown"? Or is the market over saturated?

I never got a chance to got to BLT Steak. I never went to Smith and Wollensky, either. We are blessed with many fine locally based places here. Personally, I prefer to patronize those places. I guess I am not alone. But the larger national chain places seem to hang on. I'm not sure what is going on here.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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Over saturated market, as well as a fickle, flaky (and superficial) and not really bright dining public.

Despite what some people seem to think, Dallas is not a good food town. There is a reason that Dallas is not in the big leagues with the likes of NYC, LA, SF, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, etc. There is a finite number of these types of restaurants that a moderately sized city can support...the rest will fall by the wayside. Smith and Wollensky wasn't very good...I never ate at BLT but it had a HORRIBLE location and suffered from, IMO, too many high end restaurants opening in the last 2 years.

It's not really that surprising, is it?

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Over saturated market, as well as a fickle, flaky (and superficial) and not really bright dining public.

Despite what some people seem to think, Dallas is not a good food town. There is a reason that Dallas is not in the big leagues with the likes of NYC, LA, SF, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, etc. There is a finite number of these types of restaurants that a moderately sized city can support...the rest will fall by the wayside. Smith and Wollensky wasn't very good...I never ate at BLT but it had a HORRIBLE location and suffered from, IMO, too many high end restaurants opening in the last 2 years.

It's not really that surprising, is it?

The location certainly wasn't ideal. (thought it is close to where I live. And just two blocks or so from Del Frisco's)

I never went, but after reading some reviews, it seems it wasn't exactly the typical steak joint like Del Frisco's, Bob's, III Forks, Nick and Sam's, etc. were. I think you are right that Dallas diners may be fickle and less adventuresome. I guess that's even more true for the steakhouses.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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  • 2 weeks later...
Over saturated market, as well as a fickle, flaky (and superficial) and not really bright dining public.

Despite what some people seem to think, Dallas is not a good food town. There is a reason that Dallas is not in the big leagues with the likes of NYC, LA, SF, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, etc. There is a finite number of these types of restaurants that a moderately sized city can support...the rest will fall by the wayside. Smith and Wollensky wasn't very good...I never ate at BLT but it had a HORRIBLE location and suffered from, IMO, too many high end restaurants opening in the last 2 years.

It's not really that surprising, is it?

The location certainly wasn't ideal. (thought it is close to where I live. And just two blocks or so from Del Frisco's)

I never went, but after reading some reviews, it seems it wasn't exactly the typical steak joint like Del Frisco's, Bob's, III Forks, Nick and Sam's, etc. were. I think you are right that Dallas diners may be fickle and less adventuresome. I guess that's even more true for the steakhouses.

Jsmeeker, your statement typifies the challenges BLT faced. You're a Dallas "foodie". You live near BLT's former location. Yet you never went. I'm wondering why? Did your perception that it wasn't the "usual" steakhouse deter you? Did you/do you patronize the other steakhouses? Perhaps you're just not a big steak eater?

BLT had one of the most ill-conceived locations I'd encountered in recent years. I told them that at the opening party. Initially, they served terrific food, even if the service never seemed to find its stride. I liked the restaurant's open feeling and that it served some harder to find, some might say "connoisseur" cuts of beef, such as properly-prepared hanger steaks or genuine, imported-from-Japan wagyu (aka Kobe beef, the real stuff). I liked its service of European-style butter and foie gras spread. I liked its part-NYC, part-Paris vibe. I liked that I was equally comfortable there in Dockers or a Burberry suit.

But a new restaurant needs building, growing momentum to reach its operating sweet spot. When the post-opening bump never came despite decent foodie buzz (more evidence of just HOW utterly crappy that location is), the best staff members left and costs were cut, resulting in serious declines in quality. The seafood platter could no longer be called "impeccably fresh" and, at times, was not available at all. Side dishes became less carefully prepared. Service became more haphazard, sometimes delivered by rookies. The foodies who gave it initial positive response turned on it. BLT lasted even longer than I expected.

It's not just "foreign" steakhouses which are struggling. With few exceptions, none are doing that great. Few of the high-end places are doing great.

Dallas diners are no more fickle than diners in any of the major cities, but they are, by an order of magnitude, less adventurous than diners on the west coast or NYC or Boston. I still see people make faces at and refuse to eat fish served whole (i.e. head on). I still see steaks ordered well-done (what's the point? Eat a TV dinner; it's cheaper). Why did Dallas' very unique soufflé salon feel compelled to include a filet mignon on its menu? I still encounter people be shocked upon finding out that real cheese is often made with, oh my gosh, mold. I still overhear people trying to order a burger while sitting at a sushi bar. Clueless is apt assessment for a good portion of the dining public in Dallas, even more so in FW.

The whole foodie "ecosystem" from producer to distributor to restaurant and consumer is in its infancy here. That cannot be overlooked as contributing factors to the illiteracy of palates. Meanwhile, PF Chang's continues to rake in the dough with its sugary slop and we continue to drown in torrents of Velveeta "queso".

All that said, the dining scene is a hundred times better than the wasteland that I found upon moving my base here a decade ago. I travel constantly, all over the world, for business (not food-related) and can opine that there is no doubt DFW has closed the gap between itself and other major metropolitan areas. But DFW will not join the "big leagues" any time soon; there is no dining public will to support such a move. But hey, it ain't just us idiots. Have you checked your McDonald's stock lately?

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The location certainly wasn't ideal.  (thought it is close to where I live. And just two blocks or so from Del Frisco's)

I never went, but after reading some reviews, it seems it wasn't exactly the typical steak joint like Del Frisco's,  Bob's, III Forks, Nick and Sam's, etc. were.  I think you are right that Dallas diners may be fickle and less adventuresome. I guess that's even more true for the steakhouses.

Jsmeeker, your statement typifies the challenges BLT faced. You're a Dallas "foodie". You live near BLT's former location. Yet you never went. I'm wondering why? Did your perception that it wasn't the "usual" steakhouse deter you? Did you/do you patronize the other steakhouses? Perhaps you're just not a big steak eater?

Thanks for the insight.

I never went because I just never got around to it. Living alone and all that means I typically don't go to really fancy expensive joints by myself. I actually DO like a steakhouse and like to find ones that do things "new and different". This one looked like it could had fit the bill from the outset.

I think your assesment of Dallas diners is fair. Even in a lot of othe cities, I still see the filet and salmon on a ton of menus. Dallasites certainly aren't alone in not being adventurous.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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