We heard great things about Pampas Steakhouse off Old Milton in Alpharetta/John’s Creek and we were excited to have an excuse to try it. We went last Sunday to celebrate Mom’s birthday. Apparently it’s a popular place for special celebrations, although I wouldn’t wait for one to go.
Our dinner party of six included 2 under ten, so we made sure to have an early reservation. Our kids, 8 and 9, were an appropriate age for an early Sunday dinner, but probably wouldn’t bring kiddos much younger. The restaurant is on OpenTable which is always a huge plus in my book.
Pricing was comparable to other steakhouses, maybe a few dollars cheaper than the “in town” places. Comfortable atmosphere and an unexpectedly impressive wine list that featured some of the Shafer wines and a Jacquelynn Cab. Jacquelynn is an exceptional, small production winery in St Helena. Shafer is a long-time favorite of mine from the Stag’s Leap District in Napa and is well-known for their Hillside Select Cab. Although, I have to say the Relentless (a syrah blend) has been my favorite of theirs over the last few years.
Regardless, I’m always a fan of bringing your bottle if the restaurant allows – you know what you’re getting and avoid inflated restaurant prices. You should always call the restaurant beforehand to find out if they allow wine to be brought in, what they charge per bottle (corkage) and if they have the wine you want to bring on their list. It’s generally not appropriate to bring in a bottle the restaurant has on their list. They charge a $20 corkage at Pampas which is ok, not great. I look for a range of $10-15 dollars.
Pampas prepares the steaks Argentinean style on an open, wood-fired grill. They have some unique cuts and are known (probably self-proclaimed) for what they call the “Brick.” It’s a super lean cut of the tenderloin. I LOVE that they bring a tray out to the table with several of the different steak cuts displayed. They had an off-menu Australian Wagyu Tomahawk Ribeye that looked AMAZING. It can be yours for just $99. There’s enough to split two-ways and if it tastes as good as it looks, is probably worth it. But, we didn’t go that route this visit opting instead to try the Brick and the bone-in filet.
The Brick comes in a 7 or 14 oz portion, so the wife and I decided to share the 14 oz. Mom and the kids had the bone-in filet. We also tried the lobster tail, veal chop and beef carpaccio. The beef carpaccio was an excellent appetizer. Honestly, everything was done really well. The veal chop was not the best menu choice and the Beef recommends sticking with the steaks.
Service was spot on, food was cooked perfectly and was delicious. Loving my experience and we’re talking 5 Kewl Kow rating territory.
Then we got the check and I noticed a few curious things…First, a side that was included in the meal the kids ordered had been charged separately on top of the cost of the meal. Ok, I’ll say that was an oversight. Next, I noticed that instead of charging us for the 14 oz Brick (no miscommunication here – it was clearly ordered as a 14 oz and the waitress encouraged us to share it,) they had charged us for two 7 oz Bricks which was a few dollars more than just the cost of the 14 oz. At this point, I’m irritated that maybe they’re trying to take me for a few bucks, but I’m still going with the thought it’s just an oversight.
I politely discuss the issues with the server. She’s going to get it fixed, but acts like she’s doing me a favor. I get the check back corrected and all would have been fine until I notice the revised check now includes an 18% gratuity that was not included on the original check. I guess now the waitress thinks I’m going to stiff her or something? Or maybe because she “did me a favor” she felt she deserved a little more? Who knows.
Anyway, short story long…other than the “issue” at the end, we loved everything about Pampas and can’t wait to get back. Just make sure to take a close look at your check…
4.5 Kewl Kows (that should have been 5!)