Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Keg and the Cayman

My husband is an unabashed car nut. He's also a walking encyclopedia of automobile history. You show him a picture of just one headlight on a car, 99% of the time he can give you the year, make and model. So, needless to say, he loves to see the latest and greatest of any high-performance automobile.

A couple weeks ago, we were invited to Porsche of Plano (formerly Boardwalk Porsche) for the unveiling of the new 2014 Cayman. They love to do these kind of free, invitation-only events for their customers, to keep them coming back for more cars. We'd gone on one of their Sunday drives last year and had a good time, so we decided to try one of their showroom events.

They said they would serve hors d'oeuvres at the event, but it wasn't scheduled to start until 6:30, and we like to eat dinner earlier than that (we're normally off work by 5pm). So we decided to find a bar somewhere between work and the dealership where we could eat a light dinner. After a very quick Google search, I chose The Keg Steakhouse & Bar in Plano. And boy, am I glad I did.

The bar at The Keg is a warm, roomy area with a variety of seating options--at the bar, at a table, in easy chairs arranged to create intimate spaces with small tables for drinks, or (our choice) at a small, oval bar table. The bar is dimly lit with wood and stone decor, making it a great place for after-work relaxation -- and there were several groups of people, young and old, doing just that.

We ordered a couple glasses of Rosemount Estate Shiraz, an order of Mushrooms Neptune, and an order of Prime Rib Sliders to split between us. I have to admit, the Mushrooms Neptune is one of the most clever preparations of stuffed mushrooms I have ever seen. I also wonder why I have never seen anyone else serve it the way they do, because it makes so much sense. The button mushrooms are stuffed with crab and cream cheese, simmered in white wine and (here's the clever part) served in escargot plates. There wasn't a lot of crab in them, but the filling was light and creamy, and they had a nice tang from all the white wine that the mushrooms had soaked up. With 6 to a plate, it was easy to divide these yummy little morsels between us.

The same can't be said for the sliders--with 3 to a plate, we had to cut one in half because neither of us wanted just one. The prime rib in these sliders was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. They are served with a horseradish Dijon sauce on them, with more creamy horseradish on the side along with a heavenly au jus for dipping. Crisp fried onion strings are also served on the side, which you can eat as they are or pile on the slider. The sliders didn't even last long enough for me to get a picture of them.

We left the restaurant so satisfied with our bar menu experience, we will definitely go back for dinner another time.

The Keg Steakhouse & Bar - Plano on Urbanspoon

When we arrived at Porsche of Plano for the Cayman unveiling, we realized that the 6:30 start was not set in stone. We arrived at about that time, but the showroom was already half-filled with people milling around and working their way through the buffet. The showroom had been emptied of all vehicles except for 2 Caymans hiding under covers. A free bar was setup at what is normally the receptionist's counter, and a live band was playing at the other end of the showroom. Similarly, the service "garage" (where people normally pick up and drop off their cars for service) had been emptied and had a Cayman under wraps, as well as another open bar. There were drapes covering all the windows of the showroom, and lights were strategically setup, so it was about as close to a nightclub as you can get with a car showroom.

Waiters walked around with cocktails invented for the event, but my husband and I opted for wine. The buffet had the obligatory cheese, crackers and fruit, but also had salmon and cream cheese pinwheels, shrimp, chicken, and enough other hot and cold hors d'oeuvres that I think we actually could have made a meal of it. While tasty, the food wasn't nearly as good as what we had at The Keg, so I didn't regret stopping there first.

The band was first-rate, playing covers, of course, but they had several good singers so they were able to do justice to several songs from both male and female artists. While many simply people sat/stood and enjoyed the band's performance, the highlight of the evening was when a couple, who I think were in their 70s, decided to tear up the floor when the band played "Mustang Sally". Seeing them dance made me wish, yet again, that I had taken ballroom dancing lessons. They and the band made the whole event worthwhile.

The people watching, in general, was also great. Porsche owners run the gamut of older gentlemen in Hawaiian shirts to 20- and 30-somethings with trophy wives/girlfriends on their arms. There were also plenty of families there, and I don't think I saw a single child misbehave. These were kids who were definitely taught to toe the line, which was very refreshing.

At about 8:30 the Caymans were unveiled after a short promotional video that was projected against one of the walls, with the normal ooohs and aaahs and lots of cell phone pictures after the covers were taken away. We left shortly thereafter, to beat the crowds out of the parking lot.

In the end, while the evening had originally been about the car (which, I will admit, is very attractive), it was more about us getting out on a weeknight and doing something different. And given that everything at the Cayman reveal was free, I really couldn't complain if I wanted to. We had a relaxing evening full amusing people, good wine and good food.

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