January 2009

Chef Tesar on Blogging…

I talked to John again this morning and we discussed all the hubbub relating to him in our local blogosphere. He seems to be getting quite a kick out of it.  He was particularly amused by talk of him anointing himself a James Beard nominee. Anyway – he wanted to pass along that he has yet to make a blog comment on any site (neither as himself, nor under a pseudonym) regarding his departure from The Mansion or any future plans. And, he again reiterated that he has nothing bad to say about Rosewood or The Mansion.

One benefit of his rare new time off: we can grab a drink more often.  Keep an eye out, food nation!

TheBrad talks to Tesar.


Johnny Can Cook. And not just sublime food, but a bit of drama as well. I heard some choice tidbits here and there yesterday, and I imagine some deets will be oozing out soon enough. But I needed some scoop.

I just spoke to my pal, Chef John Tesar as he awaits a flight back to Dallas from Naples, Florida, where he is participating in a charity event. Off-the-record, I got his take on the situation and how it unfolded so dramatically on Friday resulting in Rosewood's press release announcing that Tesar had left The Mansion to pursue other projects. Piecing it all together, I have a pretty good idea of what went down. I'd describe it (to my readers' frustration) as Irreconcilable Differences.

Here is what I can say: John's preference is to stay right here in Dallas and focus on a solo project. Things are already in motion, with some options to consider. I love the idea – a young, vibrant, chef-driven joint. A great bar, and "all about the food, baby." 

At 2 AM on a spring morning last year, Tesar and I sat at the bar at Blue Ribbon Brasserie in Manhattan, eating fresh-shucked oysters and bone-marrow on brioche with oxtail marmalade. "Brad, THIS is what it's all about." 

Tru-dat Johnny.  More to come.

(to tide you over: some more from my night in the kitchen at The Mansion)








Just a Taste: Red India Bistro & Lounge

Red India's design is a bit different, but this is a nice large space, with an enclosed patio and an adjoining and separate lounge area. Let's hope they can fill it up!

Not allot to report as we had a quick lunch, but we did find a crazy little gem: Lamb Kabob Rolls.


^ (Sorry, just iPhone pics) The Lamb Kabob Rolls.

These things are some crazy-great Indian turn on the Quesadilla – don't know if there is any traditional basis for these, nor do I care… loved 'em. "Grilled bite size naan rolls stuffed with fresh mozzarella cheese, lamb shish kabob, and cilantro. Served with tikka masala sauce for dipping." Yep.

The menu is very comfortable and accessible for the timid, I suppose… greatest hits of India and some Indo-Chinese selections of interest. It's just down the street, so I'm sure we'll end up checking more of the menu out.

Bob and I are hardcore connoisseurs of intensely spiced Indian food. After spotting me, one of the managers quickly came over. He recognized me from my devoted patronage of India Palace, where he was manager for a number of years. I must say that India Palace remains my personal favorite spot for a curry, due in large part to their generally excellent – and numbingly spicy - Lamb Phall. Over many years Bob and I, and a handful of UK ex-pats, have gleefully endured the gorgeous pain of this dish. "Lamb Phall – VERY spicy please," is our call – much to the dismay of female companions (this ritual tends to leave one sated and of little use or interest for the evening and subsequently miserable and ornery the next day).

Said Red India manager (I'm sorry to not recall his name) noted that we had both ordered the Lamb Vindaloo dinner entree for lunch, and mentioned that we'd enjoy the house made "hot sauce" on the side.


The curry was very flavorful on it's own, and the hot sauce brought it up a bit. He suggested, knowing us, that we next time cue the kitchen that we desire some real fire… if he doesn't catch us first.

There are many varied Indian dining options within a mile on Belt Line in Addison – Red India, Clay Pit,Flavors - the latter two doing lunch buffets (Flavors' is over-the-top for selection). Red India has traditional lunch service – and it was very nice. The service was earnest and attentive. We did order two varieties on Naan. Both were rather crispy, not quite to my taste – not sure if that presentation was intentional.

All this has inspired me to get Bob back over to India Palace again for a Phall-out. Look for that one in the future.

Meanwhile, I'd check out Red India – even if on a lark – just for those crazy Lamb Kabob Rolls (the menufeatures a Chicken Tikka Kabob Roll as well).

Quick Bite: Olivella’s Avera Pizza Napoletana, Park Cities, Dallas


My buddy is moving from Dallas, but wanted to make sure to hit Olivella's before he leaves. I had no problem wit dat.


^The guys working in front of the 1000º pizza oven.

Proprietor Charles Green opened his terrific pizza joint in '07. He partnered with New York pizza man Salvatore Olivella, who came down here and trained the peeps the right way – even my brother from Brooklyn eats here when visiting on the holidays.


^ The Bufalina D.O.C. w/ Sausage: Mozzarella di Bufala, Tomato Sauce, Basil.


^The Snow White w/ Sauce: Ricotta, Mozzarella, Oregano, Garlic, Olive Oil. (That's Charles on the right in front of his cozy, welcoming place.)

This is good stuff, people. Check it out!

Olivella's on Urbanspoon