Not to get all Marathon Man up in here, but whenever I venture somewhere new, I have a feedback loop in my brain that says, “Is it safe?” It’s not like the places I check out for this column offer dental surgery behind a pool table. In fact, a chain restaurant/bar like Del Frisco’s Grille shouldn’t be turning my anxiety meter up at all, yet the loop persists.
Del Frisco’s Grille is the casual, bar-centric little sister to Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse a few streets over. Personally, I’m a fan of the O.G. Double Eagle. When I want prime steaks and cocktails, I like to overhear people talking about their latest Tony Robbins firewalk and whether the Maldives is over as a vacation destination. The Grille shares more in common with Kona Grill in decor than it does with the Double Eagle. The sleek, contemporary space splits between two stories, with different bars and entertaining areas on each floor. The second-floor bar has a killer view over Sundance Square Plaza, which makes it a nice choice to take an out-of-town guest or business contact.
I’m sure Del Frisco’s Grille is also a great patio spot when the sun is shining 355 days of the year in Texas. However, I slid in for happy hour while rain was careening off the roofs with hurricane velocity. The gathering was at the second-floor bar, which is accessed via an open flight of stairs that screams “dramatic death by slip and fall.”
As I scaled the open, slick staircase in soaking wet heels, it occurred to me that this is the perfect vantage point for everyone at the first-floor bar and waiting gallery to gaze directly up someone’s dress. While some may see this as a design flaw, I cannot help but consider it intentional sauciness on the part of Del Frisco’s Grille when I spy the Kilt Lifter (Hendrick’s gin, St-Germain, Tabasco, and lemon) on the happy-hour menu. The cocktail starts out sweet and has a slightly spicy finish, as an homage to what I presume blows up the tartans of visiting Scotsman.
The happy-hour menu of food and spirits is a new addition to the Grille downtown and is 4-6:30pm Mon-Fri. The Sip & Share Menu for $6 selections are varied and economical. They include bites like Wagyu beef corndogs and The VIP signature martini, a sweet, Hawaiian pineapple-infused Svedka clementine-vodka concoction. As the bartender explained to me just before two rocks glasses dramatically shattered in his hand, the VIP is all alcohol and therefore is a lethal libation for only six bucks.
Luckily, everyone had skirted serious injury, but I elected to switch my drink choice to something less likely to enrage the glassware gods. I selected the delightful Morning After (Pearl coconut vodka, coconut water, and lemon sour, topped with Sprite). The tropical flavor reminded me of a spring break back in the ’90s when I drank a metric ton of Malibu and waited out a Northern Illinois March blizzard with only shorts in my suitcase.
The time had come to tackle the stairway and the deluge of rain again and leave Del Frisco’s Grille behind. But I wouldn’t underestimate how much trouble one could get into with a generous pour of Bulleit Bourbon, two bars, and a happy hour. –– Susie Geissler
Follow Susie on Twitter and Instagram @Zens7s.