I can still the remember the first time I tried Perry's Steakhouse & Grille’s wedge salad, during Houston Restaurant Weeks last year. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have been dining at Perry’s on a weekday night—Perry’s for me is usually a special occasion restaurant or a double-date restaurant because I have a tendency to overindulge there—but that day, we were in the neighborhood, we didn’t have dinner plans, we knew that Perry’s had a great three-course, $45 per person three-course menu, and if I’m going to be honest, I was craving a Perry’s Famous Pork Chop.
Our first course option was either a wedge salad, a Caesar, or a kale salad. I glossed over the wedge at first. Wedge salads do not, as a rule, get me excited. But as I vacillated over whether I wanted Caesar or kale, my server told me that she loved the wedge, and so I took her advice. I got the wedge, and I too loved it.
As memorable as it was at the time, I nonetheless filed thoughts of it away in my memory bank as “a very good salad that I would happily revisit.” And it stayed there in its happy, untouched box until the new Perry’s in River Oaks opened last month, and I had the chance to try it again.
Good texture is a wonderful thing when you’re taking a bite of salad—you want to taste the crisp snappiness in the lettuce. But temperature is also important, and the Perry’s wedge, every time I’ve had it, is chilled just right. It's wonderfully refreshing with a fresh juiciness that fills your senses at first bite, and heightened all the more by Perry’s buttermilk vinaigrette. And then there are the chopped bacon bits, the smattering of green onions, the juicy teardrop tomatoes, the two perfectly round discs of red onion laid on top.
That buttermilk dressing is what gets me the most. It's not too thick, not too runny—a perfect viscosity that allows it to drip into the layers of the wedge, coating the lettuce while not weighing it down. It’s creamy, slightly sweet, with hint of tang and a lingering mystery flavor.
You know when you taste something that’s delicious, but you haven’t had your fill and find yourself craving more of it? I shared my salad and wished that I hadn’t. So when our server came around to take the orders for our entrees, I opted to forgo ordering a traditional side so I could get my second wedge that night. Only then was it enough.
Since that first visit to Perry’s River Oaks, we’ve been back twice. And each time, as much as I’ve enjoyed everything else (the escargot is fabulous, the fried asparagus with lump crab is crazy good), I’ve found myself looking forward to that wedge — just so I can have one all to myself.