Sometimes dinner in an old favorite restaurant is just the thing to set the world right again.
I hadn’t been to Sullivan’s in while, but have pretty fond memories of many good dinners there.
I invited a friend for a good indulgent meal, and a bruised wallet later I was a very happy man.
We started with fresh briny oysters served with a traditional cocktail sauce and horse radish, and an order of fried calamari. I noticed that the calamari though very tender had a bit darker breading on them than most other places. Whether by design or accident, the extra fry time gave them a very nice flavor. The oysters and squid were perfectly complimented by a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
With a nod to menus of the 1950’s and 60’s, the house salad is a wedge of iceberg lettuce topped with a blue cheese dressing. We opted for a vinaigrette instead, but were choked up a few times by the acidity. The traditional creamy dressing might be a better choice next time.
The main courses were 12 oz Fillet mignons with a classic Béarnaise sauce (hollandaise with a bit of shallot, pepper corns, vinegar and tarragon). The meat was perfectly cooked and the sauce was a reminder as to why this combination has been around for almost two hundred years. Every bite of the lean fillet was enhanced with the rich butter and aromatics of the shallots and tarragon. We kept the sides simple; baked potatoes and onion rings keeping the focus on the flavorful steaks.
To go with our fillets, our sommelier Brent Brashier recommended the Justin Isosceles 2007. With a little time to breathe, the wine was amazing; blackberry / blueberry aromas, faint vanilla and cigar box. The Isosceles refers to the ratio of the 3 grapes in the wine; Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc and Merlot. The wine was elegant and in keeping with the traditional theme for the meal, a classic (Bordeaux style) blend.
As big a meal as we had already had, there was no way to pass up the dessert soufflé. I chose the Grand Marnier soufflé with crème anglaise. It was huge, light and fantastic.
We have many more choices for steaks now than when Sullivan’s opened in Austin in 1997, but with consistent service and food in a great atmosphere, it’s worth keeping firmly on the shortlist for dinner.