by Danielle Van Beest | by Lauren Marie Photography
“Are you hungry?… Would you like some crab cakes?” I was busy scrolling through Lauren’s photos when Chef smiled at us. In the last hour, we pulled Executive Chef Derek Venutolo from his kitchen, asked him to whip up his famous carpaccio, AND coaxed him to change out of his well-earned, white jacket to take photos… mid-service. I have a history with big restaurants in even bigger cities, and there’s a reason why they make tv shows about executive chefs. They may be talented, but few are able to exist – let alone converse – with the non-culinary population. Those personalities work for the drama but are RARELY enjoyable in person. Warmth to staff and diners alike quite often end up on the chopping block. At Meehan’s Chophouse, the Chef’s brilliance is obvious, but it doesn’t take a backseat to Texas hospitality. Chef Venutolo is the whole package. (There is no photo of these crabcakes because I ate them. You’re going to have to order them yourself. If there were extras, I would have put them in my purse.)
Tony Meehan is best known for his commercial/industrial construction company, Nationwide Construction. Tony grew up in Ireland, but Texas was always calling. Since arriving at age 19 to America, Tony believed Texas is a place where dreams are only limited by your imagination. For the past 30+ years, Meehan has called Mansfield his home, built and sold numerous companies, and Nationwide Construction has contributed major changes to Mansfield’s landscape: “Opening Meehan’s Chophouse seemed like a perfect way to give back to the community and breathe life into Downtown, Mansfield. My vision was to make Mansfield the DFW dining experience. You don’t have to drive to Dallas or Fort Worth, the goal is to have Fort Worth and Dallas drive here.” Now you can experience fine dining at Meehan’s and enjoy a drink or cigar to end your night at the elegant Henry’s Cigar Lounge, next door. On December 15th, Meehan’s Chophouse will celebrate its 1-year anniversary, and it continues to draw crowds from all over DFW and beyond.
Meehan’s Chophouse is now a Mansfield staple and the talk of DFW and beyond, with diners eagerly bypassing Dallas and Ft. Worth to try Venutolo’s menu and experience the plush, leathered ambiance of Tony Meehan’s Mansfield vision: a next level steakhouse that offers top-tiered traditional fare with flare.
Chef Venutolo’s resume speaks for itself. A graduate of the Western Culinary Arts Institute, he trained and honed his skills under some of the greats of the restaurant world including 7 years under Executive Chef Matt Hewitt of The Bono’s Restaurant Group (owned by Sonny Bono’s daughter), then Executive Chef Shelly Borjorquez at King’s Seafood Company of Southern California and 555 East American Steakhouse. His talent made Fort Worth’s Capital Grille a hearty, yet refined Friday night mainstay for years and his talent garnered him the award for Overall Best Food at Big Taste of Fort Worth in 2014. These are impressive and well-deserved milestones – and if you ask Chef, it all comes down to his Mom. Their shared love of food and cooking together inspired his culinary dreams and her support has been an integral part of his career and success. (I thank you, Mama Venutolo, for those crab cakes.)
The words Texas and steakhouse go hand-in-hand. What puts Meehan’s ahead of the pack is not only choice cuts of meat, but the myriad of options that cut like butter. Meehan’s offers 8 steak options ranging from a 6 oz Petite Filet Mignon to a 24 oz Prime Porterhouse. Roasted New Zealand Rack of Lamb and Grilled Double Cut Duroc Pork Chop with garlic butter are delicious butcher block opportunities. But, as everyone knows, if there’s turf there should be surf and the seafood options are as excellent as the meat: Butter Poached Lobster, Scallops, Ahi Tuna, my personal favorite, the Flame Grilled Salmon with an olive tapenade, and if you’ve seen the Grande Seafood Tower, you know it’s something to behold.
The entrées are exceptional. And, you know a restaurant has that special something when diners are leaving reviews about the sides –and not only for the Smoked Gouda Mac ‘n Cheese (which 100% deserves an accolade in its own right) – but for the vegetables. Let me repeat that. The vegetables. Meehan’s offers elevated favorites like mashed and salt crusted baked potatoes, but even the greens have gained a cult following. When diners go to social media to praise the Grilled Asparagus (with dijonnaise and smoked paprika) and Roasted Brussels Sprouts (with Parmesan Cream), you know a restaurant and its Chef have gone above and beyond to make every dish memorable. I didn’t even get to the Baked Brie or the fan favorite Bread Pudding. (Yum.) The light as air Prime Beef Carpaccio with the magical sprinkling of sea salt and crisp, toasted garlic crostini? I ate that, too. Before the crab cakes. It was heaven.
Meehan’s Chophouse is filled with large, leather-tufted chairs and even larger wine glasses. Tables lined with white linens and an eye-catching, glassed wine wall that includes their own Signature Napa Valley wine label. The dining room is grand, the bar a beautiful prelude, and what makes Meehan’s magical is it feels warm and inviting. The linens may by starched, but there is nothing stiff about Meehan’s (unless you order a cocktail.) Every member of Meehan’s Chophouse offers you a smile, including the Chef. Tony Meehan’s vision is clear – but, oh does it sparkle.
101 S Main St, Mansfield, TX 76063 | www.meehanschophouse.com | Sunday – Thursday 11 am – 9 pm | Friday – Saturday 11 – 10 pm
Reservations are available on OpenTable or by phone at (817) 225-2341. To book private parties call or email [email protected]