A Conversation with Chef Robert Clifford

Nick & Sam's Steakhouse Executive Chef Robert Clifford.
Back dinning room before guests arrive.
Cajun Crawfish Boil
Sherry Wine Laced Turtle Soup
Lobster Crab Cakes with Champagne Beurre Blanc
Escargot’s a la Bordelaise
Blackened Washugyu Wagyu Tenderloin with Marchand de Vin, Béarnaise Sauce
Filet de Lemon Sole aux Ecrevisses Cardinal
Bourbon Street BBQ Shrimp
Crawfish Étouffée
Maque Choux
Red Beans & Rice

It’s nearly 7:00 PM. Almost show time. The kitchen is buzzing with movement and aroma as the first item for this evenings sold out monthly Sunday Super prepares for a final toss. Fresh deep red crawfish, potatoes, sausage and corn make a brief and colorful appearance into the air before being plated. By the end of tonight’s elaborate New Orleans themed family style dinner held in the back dinning room, Nick & Sam’s Steakhouse Executive Chef Robert Clifford would be receiving more than his fair share of accolades.

At 31, he’s left his mark at some of Dallas’ finest restaurants including The Palm Steakhouse and The Capital Grille. Robert said that he is most inspired by the teachings of renowned classic French Chef, Georges Auguste Escoffier. “He set the tone, came up with organized systems as far as recipes go, sauces, mother sauces, he kind of categorized those things garnishes, fish, meat, game all of that. I just think back, if I’m not sure of something I ask myself, ‘What would Escoffier do?’” Robert explained.

For the last two years he’s made Nick & Sam’s his home. Known as one of the busiest fine dining dinner only restaurants in Texas, they offer an exceptional array of steak and seafood. Seven different wagyu’s, Kobe beef and a gorgeous sushi bar ran by 20 year veteran, Chef Joe Xie are among the delicacies you’ll find at the upscale steakhouse.  It should come as no surprise that the restaurant has a steady stream of regulars and individuals traveling from all across the globe to dine here. As Clifford stated, “We’re free to do whatever we want here. It’s not a corporate structure where I have to email someone in Florida, asking if I can put this on the menu or run this special.”

Currently, Chef Robert is focusing on the menu for his exclusive new caviar program, an endeavor that is certain to garner even more attention for the establishment. The menu selection will feature a variety of exquisite caviars from around the world including Golden Osetra Kaluga  and Black Siberian Sturgeon. Guests can enjoy them alone, in a flight or paired with signature dishes. “On the weekends we are doing specials with the caviar so you can get it, taste it and kind of see where we are headed with our dishes… It’s a new frontier, I haven’t seen it anywhere,” he explained smiling. “Ultimately,” he continued, “I’m trying to make this the greatest steakhouse in the world.” In the meantime, besides visiting the busy chef at Nick & Sam’s you can experience his culinary talents at this year’s Dining Out in Dallas: Battle of the Chefs, and the CBRE 19th Annual Chefs Showcase at The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas.

Inside the back dining room, the evenings crawfish boil was devoured in completion. Now, it’s time for appetizers. This round includes Sherry Wine Laced Turtle Soup, Escargot’s a la Bordelaise and Lobster Crab Cakes with Champagne Beurre Blanc so good that your heart will skip a beat from sheer joy. Soon, the accolades will begin again with guests visiting the kitchen to remark on the exquisite meal, all the while Chef Robert remains focused and humble. Escoffier would be proud. TXmb




Author: Brittani Robinson

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