3. Ocean Prime

Overall Score: 94.04

2101 Cedar Springs Rd.

OceanPrime_1.jpg Ocean Prime's shrimp cocktail. Photography by Kevin Marple

Steak: In the past, I’ve been seduced by its seafood, but this time around I was impressed with its ability to turn out high-quality steaks. The New York strip was the best strip I sampled, and the filet, thicker than most, was lean, yet juicy. Scores: filet (10 oz., $39) 95, New York strip (14 oz., $41) 94

Service: How refreshing to meet a professional waiter. Our charming fellow professed his love for the service industry, and I can’t remember the last time I caught a server headed for the table dart in a different direction when he realized there was a conversation taking place at the table and didn’t want to interrupt. 96

Wine sell: Hallelujah! Ocean Prime was the 14th restaurant visited in our survey and the first place where a server listened to our wine requirements and steered us out of the United States, suggesting a nice Rioja from Spain. If not for him, at that point, we would have thought all wine was produced in California. 95 

Shrimp: Three colossal shrimp served in a traditional glass shrimp cocktail bowl with a fiery sauce in the center. The dramatic presentation includes wisps of white smoke from a slice of dry ice and a side of freshly chopped horseradish. (U-6-8, $15) 97

Salads: Several selections include seafood. The wedge garnished with red onion and bacon includes a buttermilk dressing and crumbles of blue cheese. The house salad is a fancy assortment of romaine, spinach, Granny Smith apples, goat cheese, walnuts, and sherry mustard vinaigrette. 93

Vegetables: Plump sugar snap peas stir-fried in sesame oil. 93

Potatoes: The potatoes au gratin are sure to satisfy every Texan. The medium-cut potatoes are mixed with slices of fresh jalapeños and baked in a creamy cheese sauce. 99

Dessert: The carrot cake is my favorite dessert in Dallas, but the chocolate peanut butter torte gives it a run for its money. A thick, glossy black disk of peanut butter mousse on an Oreo crust was iced with a slick, seamless ganache. 100 

Ambiance: The Rat Pack supper club theme is cheesy, and the overall vibe is contemporary high-end cruise ship, with sexy elevated booths along the walls. Tables in the center of the room are rather close to each other. 85

4. Bob’s Steak & Chop House

Bobs_1.jpg Bob's Steak & Chop House filet. Photography by Kevin Marple

Overall Score: 93.54

1255 S. Main St., Grapevine.

Steak: I planned to review the original Bob’s on Lemmon Avenue, but when I showed up, I was recognized. I snuck out to the Grapevine location, where I found a swankier atmosphere. I also discovered a 3-inch, 16-ounce Prime filet, a gem that would have pleased Elizabeth Taylor. The only reason it didn’t receive a perfect score is that it was cooked more medium than medium rare. Steaks come with glazed carrot and choice of potato. Scores: filet (16 oz., $50) 96, Kansas City dry-aged strip (18 oz., $48) 97

Service: Our server was slow to approach us, and, when he arrived, he apologized for the delay before darting off to check in with another table first. We weren’t in a hurry, but the entire meal service was out of sync. 82

Wine sell: Once we got him to the table and delivered our wine story, he got his game going. He talked about feminine Cabernets from California and wines from all over the globe and why those with big tannins go well with steak. He sold us on a “hot new wine”: Viña Cobos Felino 2008, a Malbec from South America produced by noted California winemaker Paul Hobbs. 99 

Shrimp: Four luscious, moist shrimp served on a cold plate with a spicy sauce and dollops of fresh horseradish. (U-10, $15) 96

Salads: We knew better than to order tomatoes in February, but they were offering and we bought. Not even the crumbles of aged blue cheese could disguise the mealy ’maters. But the mother of all blue cheese salads is the romaine covered in creamy blue cheese dressing topped with crumbles of aged blue cheese and roasted pecans. Gluttons order bacon strips. 89

Vegetables: I’m a sucker for Bob’s signature glazed carrot, creamed spinach covered with crusty Parmesan, and thick onion rings. 98 

Potatoes: Nobody does skillet fries like this. They are deep-fried crispy potatoes topped with sautéed onions and brown peppercorn gravy. 98

Dessert: The carrot and chocolate cakes are hearty portions but happily not over the top. The four layers of carrot cake are separated by thick veins of just-so-sweet cream cheese icing. 97

Ambiance: Bob’s on Lemmon has a cozy boy’s club atmosphere, but the Grapevine location is updated and sophisticated. The bar area has a huge stone fireplace and comfortable seating. 97