Dr. Jekyll, Meet Mr. Bailey
I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t experienced it myself — three times now — but McDonalds/Patrizio magnate Ed Bailey has turned around his once-flailing steakhouse concept, a feat that is nothing short of unbelievable.
His Park Lane outpost of Bailey’s Prime Plus is nothing like the Cedar Hill store–and that’s a good thing. Though it only opened September 15, the food is already over-the-top good.
A new management team and a pair of seasoned steakhouse chefs have breathed new life into the concept. The kitchen is run by chefs Chris Meier (formerly of Capital Grille) and Izzy Voirin (formerly of Nick and Sam’s).
On all three of my recent visits, each of the steaks arrived properly cooked. They’re expensive, though, which must be what the “plus” in Bailey’s Prime Plus means. Steaks top out around $50. The beef is sourced from prime-haven Allen Brothers in Chicago, probably the best prime beef purveyor in the business. While my preference for dry-aged beef runs deep, there was nothing disappointing about any of the steaks I tried at Baileys. Rib eye, strip, filet — all were excellent. I couldn’t say that about my experience at the Cedar Hill Bailey’s when it opened a few months ago.
Side dishes are exceptional, too. Lump crab cakes as big as hockey pucks, crispy-crunchy onion rings, decadent lobster mac and cheese, creamed spinach, sweet creamed corn scraped from the cob — there’s no way to leave Bailey’s hungry.
The space is huge: 12,000 square feet, 25-foot ceilings (no gold leaf this time), an interior reflecting pool with animatronic trees (ok, not really; they just stand still). This Bailey’s Prime Plus seats 600 people, which can leave the place feeling cavernous when the dining room isn’t full but buzzing with energy when it’s packed. There’s also a good bar scene with beautiful people and sexy lounge singers. (Scroll through the pictures below for a sense of this place.)
Sommelier Jeff Ivy’s wine list is, I hope, a work in progress. The by-the-glass selection needs the most help; you know you’re in for a rocky ride when the premier wine on that list is the Zin-centric Paraduxx–offered at a hefty $26 a glass. To become the top draw that Ed Bailey hopes his Prime Plus empire will become, the list needs fairer prices, more variety, maybe a red and a white Bordeaux, maybe even Steve Reynolds’ amazingly affordable California Cab.
Tough location, too–difficult to find if you’re not familiar with the shopping center.
But here’s the bottom line: It’s worth the effort to find this Bailey’s Prime Plus.
UPDATE: Chef Chris Meier has resigned from Bailey’s Prime Plus. Izzy Voirin continues to lead the kitchen.
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