7. Bailey’s Prime Plus

Overall Score: 89.95

8160 Park Ln., Ste. 130.

Baileys_1.jpg Bailey's Filet Oscar. Photography by Kevin Marple

Steak: Owner Ed Bailey has spent millions of dollars on extravagant interiors. All steaks come with asparagus and potato. Scores: filet (10 oz., $36) 95, New York strip (10 oz., $42) 96

Service: Friendly, reserved, and slightly distant. Despite the “ladies’ steakhouse” theme, she seemed disappointed to get a two-top of middle-aged women. The meal progressed at a swift pace, but the restaurant was almost empty. A busser removed our wine bottle before we’d asked for the label. I asked our server to retrieve the bottle. She was horrified. “You mean you want me to pull it out of the trash so you can take it home?” Yes, lady, we do. 85

Wine sell: Our server admitted she didn’t know wine and hailed the female sommelier. She asked a lot of questions but went straight to one wine: Edward Sellers Cuvée Des Cinq 2006 from Paso Robles, California, for $55. I would have enjoyed a more spirited debate, but she declared her love for this wine. I didn’t love the wine, but I loved that she picked an interesting wine $20 below our price range. 98

Shrimp: Three huge shrimp in a silver bowl with three sauces: hot and spicy red, a fiery remoulade, and a guacamole with cilantro that didn’t quite jibe with the other two. (U-10, $14) 90

Salads: Pungent buttermilk dressing enveloped chopped lettuce, cucumber, corn, red and yellow tomatoes, carrots, and marinated red onions. 93

Vegetables: All steaks are served with two stalks of crispy asparagus crisscrossed on the plate. An a la carte side of cream corn was more creamy than corn. 90

Potatoes: Forget the accompanying mashed potatoes, and order the mammoth baked sweet potato served with maple syrup, walnuts, tiny toasted marshmallows, and butter whipped with fresh orange zest. 94

Dessert: We tried only the three-layer red velvet cake, which was dry and tasted of the walk-in refrigerator. 70 

Ambiance: Each of Bailey’s locations has a different over-the-top theme-park-chic decor. The location near NorthPark has one large dining room divided by a long canal of water surrounded by fake ficus trees. The decor might work better if the cavernous space was full of chatting customers. Every time we’ve visited, it has been empty, and you can’t help but stare at the opulent surroundings.  85

8. III Forks

IIIForks_2.jpg III Fork's filet. Photography by Kevin Marple

Overall Score: 89.88

17776 Dallas Pkwy.

Steak: Prices include duchess potatoes, sugar snap peas, creamed corn, ripe tomatoes, and spring onions. Both steaks were nicely seasoned and cooked to our specs. The bone-in had a 2-inch section of gnarly gristle. Scores: filet (12 oz., $47.95) 97, bone-in rib-eye (18 oz., $47.95) 93

Service: Friendly, talkative, and informed. Even though our server had been with the restaurant for only a month, he recited the details of the menu like a veteran. He assured us, “The line in the kitchen is strong tonight.” It was also slow. 90 

Wine sell: Maybe we asked too many questions, but the sales pitch lasted nearly 15 minutes. Despite our request for no California Cabernet, our server took us through five pages of them. Obviously he wanted to show off his knowledge. When I pushed for something funky, he said, “I can offer you a $120 Silverado 2006 for $70. It’s smoother than most.” It wasn’t. 85

Shrimp: We waited 30 minutes for four shrimp splayed across a single leaf of romaine lettuce. The slightly spicy cocktail sauce couldn’t disguise the gritty texture, which caused my mother to say, “I’m from West Texas. I know sand when I taste it.” (U-10, $16.95) 70 

Salads: You don’t have to order salad. If you order a steak, they offer complimentary sliced tomatoes and spring onions. But if you want one, the III Forks salad with apples, pecans, and crumbles of blue cheese is one of my favorites. 98 

Vegetables: Every steak comes with a thin, runny version of creamed corn and a healthy helping of sugar snap peas and duchess potatoes. 90

Potatoes: Skip the mashed potatoes with chives and garlic, and instead order another loaf of the fabulous, hot bread. 80

Dessert: Bread pudding isn’t my favorite postbeef dessert, but the soft and warm version here is spiked with bourbon and topped with pecan sauce. 93

Ambiance: Sophisticated cowpoke decor with saddles on room dividers and giant antler chandeliers. The two-story restaurant seats more than 1,000, but it is divided into separate, carpeted rooms. We ended up in the least attractive space, facing the bar. The nice man at the piano sang “Moon River” as we gazed at a huge water stain on the ceiling. 90