Wits Steakhouse, quietly opened officially last month is a modern steakhouse that showcases steakhouse classics and incorporates creative takes on traditional steakhouse menu items alongside South African-inspired dishes, is now open in the former Oak restaurant space in the Design District at 1628 Oak Lawn Ave #110, Dallas, TX 75207.

Wits – offering best in class steaks and unique dishes served in a space with dramatic, sophisticated design brings together a dynamic dining experience for Dallas.

The menu is a creative journey featuring items ranging from lobster dumplings, biltong, o-toro nigiri with goldfish and caviar to South African braai free-range chicken, peri peri prawns, miso cod, prime cut steaks, tomahawks and more.

Open for dinner only, the restaurant was created by owner Richard Ellman, founder of Apheleia Restaurant Group (PakPao, El Bolero and Hawthorn).

Ellman, who was born in coastal South Africa, states “When I was looking for inspiration for the new concept to replace Oak, I went back to my family roots. My parents were also born and raised in South Africa, so the history runs deep within my background.” Wits is the nickname for the University of Witwatersrand, which is where his mother went to university, an area which carries a deep history of being home to the largest gold mines that at one time provided the vast majority of the world’s gold.

Set in a sleek, contemporary space with design nods to South Africa and an abundance of gold accents, Wits measures 4,000 square feet with seating for 80+ as well as an additional private area that seats 40, a semi-private chef’s table and a large patio.

Ellman says, “We hope to exceed expectations with our steaks and seafood by offering guests a different experience than they might expect. Because we are not the typical Texas steakhouse, we are taking a chance and embracing what sets us apart.”

Guests will enjoy starters such as Biltong – South African “jerky”; Tenderloin Carpaccio – shallots, parsely; Bone Marrow & Bacon Jam – maple syrup, brown sugar, lemon; Oyster Rockefeller – malpeque, spinach, garlic, lemon; and Wagyu Meatballs – roasted onion, garlic, fresh herbs, lemon, parmesan.

Entree highlights include Prime NY Strip and Tomahawk steaks with housemade specialty sauces; Peri Peri Prawns- roasted peppers, garlic and red onion; New Zealand Lamb Rack – wild rice, lemon, red wine; South African Braai – grilled chicken, roasted peppers, sunchokes; Black Truffle Burger – caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, pepper jack, truffle aioli, shaved truffle; and Lobster Dumpling – lobster claw, mascarpone, lemon, chives; Black Cod – miso –  and Duck Fat Fried Chicken – crispy fried chicken, arugula, lime, paprika.

A well-thought out Sushi menu offering sashimi, nigiri and inspired rolls is also available.

The cocktail menu was thoughtfully crafted and gives a playful nod to Ellman’s roots with cocktails such as the Gold Digger – JCB Truffle Vodka, Mathilde Poir Gold Caviar, Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Champagne and the Mine Cart (serves 4 – 6 people) – Herradura Legend Anejo Tequila, Grand Marnier Cuvee 1880, Aur’a Natural Gold Water, Yuzu Lemon and Manuka Honey. Other standout cocktails include Blue Skies Ahead – clase azul silver tequila silver, blueberry-lavender shrub, maraschino liqueur, lime, agave, nicolas feuillatte champagne; Flaming Pinalada – pineapple infused plantation artisanal rum, house coconut cream, pineapple, don q gran anejo; Salt Foam Margarita- herradura silver tequila, cointreau, agave, salt air foam; and Butterfly Effect – hangar one vodka, elderflower, grapefruit juice, lillet blanc, lemon juice, egg whites, buzz button. 

South African beers and wines were hand-selected for the drink menu for guests to explore new flavors to pair with their meal. The robust wine menu features wines by the glass as well as wines by the bottle from regions such as South Africa, New Zealand, France, California, Oregon.

The new restaurant is part of Apheleia Restaurant Group, the same group that owned Oak and has other popular Dallas concepts including Pakpao, el Bolero, and Hawthorn.

Wits Steakhouse is now open for dinner Tuesday – Thursday from 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. and Friday – Saturday from 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.

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