When I casually mentioned to friends that I was being treated to dinner at the much hyped N9NE restaurant in the hip Victory Park area of downtown Dallas they responded with awe and palatable envy.
In the past D Magazine included N9Ne's men room in their top five list of edgy Dallas restrooms, but mentioned over the top noise.
Note: N9Ne Steakhouse in Dallas, Texas closed their doors. N9Ne is still open in Las Vegas and Chicago.
Although I didn't personally travel into the high tech world of N9NE's men's room, the well appointed lady's room came complete with a flat screen TV screen mounted over the gleaming sinks.
Any woman visiting N9NE could watch the latest streaming news while washing her hands.
One immediate challenge to entering either the men's or women's restroom is squeezing through the buzzing swarms of couture jean clad 20 and 30somethings overflowing from the bar into the entry way for both of the high tech lavatories.
N9NE is a plush, sparkling high tech bistro that forms part of a link to a Chicago based restaurant chain that knows how to build restaurants famous for steak, style and service. The food while very good may not motivate some steak lovers to endure the ear splitting noise or throngs of chic bar flies.
Standouts from the menu include a spectacular onion soup. Desserts are sumptuous with an edge. The carrot cake has a rich cream cheese frosting but it not overly sweet or cloying. The apple tart comes with warm cider based sauce and is bursting with fresh chewy apples. A scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream is the perfect finishing touch.
Other options include real s'mores with a tiny tableside camp-side fire for toasting marshmallows and graham crackers with the appropriate chocolate.
Part steakhouse and part club lounge, this chi-chi establishment opened by Michael Morton (son of the original founder of the eponymous Morton's steak chain) and long time friend Scott DeGraff is not your old-school steak place.
A circular champagne and caviar bar takes center stage. Glitzy mirrored mosaic columns, limestone walls and ultra-suede booths combine hip with luxury. Classic aged USDA prime steaks, lobster and other seafood specialties are showcased.
The experience can be summed up as mixed. The food is excellent but borderline overpriced for the serving sizes. The sides are unusual and include a range of salads and even a mountain of skinny fries which are actually more like shoe string potatoes.
Service was very attentive and our waiter, Joel, was never far from our table. When the Turf portion of my Surf & Turf was undercooked a manager bearing a miniature flashlight was summoned to the table to inspect my overly bloody filet. My plate was whisked away and returned promptly with my steak cooked to perfection.
The main bar area is adjacent to the front door with the dining area located down a few steps with tables situated around a centrally located champagne and caviar bar. The perimeter of the dining room is dotted with plush booths. While the booths are intimate and plush, the tables are located really close together. Several times the back of my chair was bumped by wait staff bustling back and forth. Definitely an annoyance.
Although the booths were mostly open, I was offered a table right next to the overflowing bar and was barely able to hear my dinner companion. By the end of our meal my throat was aching from shouting. While that is acceptable for a sizzling night club, it detracts significantly from the desire for a romantic meal.
If you decide to venture into the dining world of N9NE in Dallas, Texas, be sure to take some earplugs and a date you don't really want to talk to. If you love loud, beehive people watching, N9NE is the place to go but be prepared to drain your wallet.
If I were to go back, and that is doubtful at this point, I would specifically request a booth in the most quiet part of the restaurant or I would just go and have drinks and appetizers in the happening bar.
One other option, stop by N9NE late at night for some bubbly and one of their killer desserts. It definitely could be a great way to end the evening.