Wits Steakhouse has debuted in the former Oak space in Dallas' Design District. (Photo by Kathy Tran)
Wits Steakhouse boasts black walls and gold accents everywhere. (Photo by Kathy Tran)
Wits includes a private area that seats 40 people and semi-private chef's table. (Photo by Kathy Tran)
The outdoor patio at Wits offers al fresco dining overlooking Oak Lawn Avenue. (Photo by Kathy Tran)
Wits' menu is inspired by owner Richard Ellman's South African upbringing. (Photo by Kathy Tran)
Menu items at Wits include everything from steakhouse classics to more creative takes. (Photo by Kathy Tran)
A popular item at Wits is the Alaskan Halibut with fettuccine. (Photo by Kathy Tran)
The Salt Foam Margarita at Wits is a favorite. (Photo by Kathy Tran)
The Jumbo Crab Cakes are a must-try at Wits Steakhouse. (Photo by Kathy Tran)
The Lolita is another popular cocktail at Wits. It includes elderflower which transforms the drink's color before your eyes. (Photo by Kathy Tran)
The Tomahawk at Wits is obviously a star of the menu. (Photo by Kathy Tran)
Don't leave Wits without trying a homemade moon pie with ice cream. (Photo by Kathy Tran)
When Oak closed in the Design District after 10 years this summer, it was left to the imagination what restaurant group Apheleia would do with the space. Oak had more of an old-school, upscale steakhouse vibe with brown leather booths and light wooden tables. This winter, Wits Steakhouse debuted in the same space with a modern and South African-inspired take on the traditional steakhouse.
Owner Richard Ellman drew inspiration from his own upbringing when coming up with the new concept. “Wits” is the nickname for the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, which is where Ellman’s mother went to university. The area is known for being home to mines that once provided the majority of the world’s gold, hence all of the gleaming metal accents in the space.
The Revamped Wits Space
After a complete remodel, the Design District space now boasts jet black walls with lots of glamorous gold touches. Inky booths and elegant white tablecloths provide seating for guests, while the bar area features two large mirrors with gold paintings created by local artist not.travis. The space still includes an outdoor patio, as well as a private area that seats 40 people and semi-private chef’s table.
What to Drink at Wits
Wits Steakhouse’s cocktail menu is thorough — there are 35 options to choose from. Although I didn’t get anywhere close to tasting them all, I cannot recommend the Salt Foam Margarita enough. The Herradura silver tequila and agave concoction is topped with a huge dollop of salt air foam that combines with the liquid as it dissolves. Though I was initially taken aback by the saltiness of the first sip, once that sea salt mixes, the cocktail is an absolute delight.
Other crowd favorites include the Lolita (gin, elderflower, and cucumber), Blue Skies Ahead (tequila, blueberry-lavender shrub, and champagne), and the Gold Digger — a $50 mixture of JCB Truffle Vodka, Mathilde Poir Gold Caviar, and Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Champagne.
What to Eat at Wits
Like the cocktail menu, there is an incredible amount of food to try at Wits. From sushi to Tomahawk steak, the menu boasts a solid mix of steakhouse classics and more creative options from chef Jeremy Lewis.
Make sure to try the jumbo crab cake, crispy calamari, and Wagyu meatballs to start. For mains, all meats are cooked on a wood-fired grill once you order them. The New Zealand Lamb Rack was a favorite of the night, especially paired with the truffle mashed potatoes. For dessert, definitely check out the homemade moon pies with freshly made ice cream.