Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille, a small, locally founded chain which traces its roots back to the Perry family’s butcher shop and meat market, has rolled out a few new menu items for the summer, including some summer-specific cocktails to beat the heat. I visited the Memorial City location recently to sample the new cocktails and give the new menu items a shot.
The Highlands Highball is made with Glenmorangie 10-year as its base. It also includes lime juice, Grand Marnier and a touch of orgeat syrup, which adds an almond flavor. I’m a fan of the Glenmorangie line, and I liked this way this was a little tart at the beginning before giving way to a smoother body, with some sweetness on the finish. And after those initial flavors, the malted taste of the Glenmorangie came through underneath. This was paired with Perry’s steak tartare, which is served in classic style with an egg yolk (they recommend mixing it in with the steak) and Dijon mustard; together, they add a nice tang to the tartare, which is light but still meaty. The pairing combined quite well, as the cocktail enhanced the savoriness of the steak tartare, while the steak brought the sweeter flavors from the cocktail to the forefront.
The Southern Gin Gimlet is made with Seersucker Southern Style Gin, an American-style gin (lighter and more botanical, less heavy on the juniper) from San Antonio, paired with basil; cucumber; and lime. The drink is garnished with fresh basil. Characteristic of Perry’s attention to detail, its sommelier, Susi Zivanovic, explained that they slap the basil garnish before serving it, to release the aroma. It certainly works: the basil scent is the first thing the cocktail delivers, while the drink itself has more cucumber and lime flavor. What I really noticed was just how light and refreshing the drink was, an ideal summer cocktail. The gimlet was served with the seafood-stuffed mushrooms, a long-time off-menu Perry’s favorite that has been moved to the official menu. The citrus flavors in the cocktail paired well with the seafood, as one might expect.
The Spicy Mango Tango is a combination of Belvedere mango vodka, mango purée and a spicy habanero lime syrup, all topped in the end with sparkling wine. Fruity and spicy have been done before, but mango and habanero pair particularly well together, and this cocktail was an excellent expression of how to balance the two, with the fruitiness giving way to just the right amount of spice, which is also enhanced by the texture the bubbles from the sparkling wine. This was paired with the fried asparagus topped with crab meat, a rich and buttery appetizer. The cocktail cut through the richer flavors well and provided a contrast.
Our last cocktail was not a cocktail at all, but a non-alcoholic house-made beverage, the margarita-habanero soda. (Perry’s intends to roll out other house-made sodas this summer, such as a mango fizz and a pineapple ginger ale.) Tasty and refreshing, the alcohol flavors of a cocktail are replaced by the habanero spiciness here, with no loss in quality. These were paired with the pork chop bites, a miniature version of one of Perry’s signature dishes. (Perry’s offers Pork Chop Friday specials, if you’re looking for an excuse to try them.) The bites were quite flavorful and the rub and sauce used is terrific, the two pair together well, with one enhancing the sweetness of the other.
The new menu items and cocktails are worth checking out and wherever you live in the greater Houston area, there’s likely to be a Perry’s near you. If you’re looking for something special to check out at the restaurant, an upcoming event might be the answer: Perry’s has a five-course steak-and-champagne dinner pairing planned on July 21.