September 2009

First Look: Tesar’s, The Woodlands

Well, look who I found…

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Heh… you guys must have been waiting for this one. Well here ya go. Some sexy pics of a sexy space and some sexy food. Those familiar with Tesar's passion for food, and seafood in particular, will find it as no surprise that there are exceptional plates coming out of this kitchen. Tesar's is literally surrounded by restaurants vying for diners, but it has little competition at it's level of the game, in my opinion. Haters – hate away… others, enjoy if in the area, or take a quick trip down there… I mean, it's not Houston. I can make it in 2 1/2 hrs (including speeding ticket!) *TheBrad does not condone exceeding the posted speed limit.

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^ Tesar's Modern Steak and Seafood in The Woodlands. John is doing his seductive take on seafood, and introducing both grass and grain fed, aged beef preparations – including "tastings" of beef. Read more about the restaurant's philosophy and menu here.

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I hung out one evening, during the soft launch… and enjoyed myself.

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^ The top tier of the incredibly fresh Shellfish Platter.

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^ Seafood Salad Ceviche; Tesar's Chopped Salad.

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^ On fire and plate: Nebraska Kobe Boneless Shortrib, Potato Puree, Sauce Italian.

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^ Alaska Halibut, Melted Leeks, Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Red Wine Reduction; Tesar's Foie Gras speared with Vanilla Bean.

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^ Afternoon light in the main dining room.

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If I hang out in the kitchen long enough, the crew bribes me to get out of the way – this time with a ridiculously Truffled Mac & Cheese. It worked…

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…back in the bar: Here you can order from Tesar's Burger Bar Menu featuring half a dozen tantalizing options (check out "The Tail End": Sirloin mixed with braised Pig's Tail, Green Tomato Chutney, Jalapeño Mayonnaise, braised Collard Greens.) There's also an All Kobe Hot Dog.

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^ Seen these fries before? Yep, but not with this accompaniment. That's right – Tesar condiments. And they are very good. The Wasabi Mustard on the Kobe Dog is rockin'. 

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^ Desserts; and Tracy's Cupcakes!

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^ I like this shot – it was a few weeks before the opening…

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…and it all came together quite nicely.

Sneak Peek: Samar by Stephan Pyles, Dallas

UPDATE Jan 2010: See my post Samar: The Menu in Pics for a recent look at the food!

Saturday evening we ran over to check out Samar, Stephan Pyles' new "international small plates" concept at 2100 Ross, featuring cuisine by executive chef Vijay Sadhu.

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This "Grand Preview" event was a benefit for the Stephan Pyles Culinary Scholarship of the Wine and Food Foundation of Texas. It was WELL attended. We heard their were over 900 milling about the 70 seat restaurant space… and the patio… and into the lobby of the building. Wine was flowing and small bites were passed, hinting at what Chef Sadhu has in store. I was a fan of his from his stint at Bukhara Grille a couple years ago.

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Bowls of well crafted and delicious spreads, dips, and condiments ringed the counter of the open kitchen. I will be perched here soon enough – Samar officially opens Oct. 17th (there is no official opening date at this time) , coinciding with the kick-off of the AT&T Performing Arts Center.

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^ Stephan Pyles assists Vijay Sadhu with this intriguing dessert "shot," the Chai Bubble Tea - then has a sample.

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The space is warm and full of color and texture – a pleasant setting to enjoy the mix of Middle Eastern, Lebanese, Turkish, Moroccan, Spanish, and South American small plates.

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A welcome addition, and so close to the Arts District and my pals at One Arts Plaza. I'll be back with more on the food in future!

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(Oh, and there's Hooka on the patio…)

 

Ach du Lieber Himmel! Addison Oktoberfest ’09

See last year's post for some history and a look at Addison Fire Station No.1's German Skillet Potatoes. This year, the Station made good on their promise to feed the starving masses more efficiently…

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^ That there is one slammin' skillet!

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This should keep the lines down a bit. However, our group wondered if something was missing from the recipe? We'll give it another shot in a bit, as in the past these potatoes were very much worth the wait.

Addendum: More pics…

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^ Spätzle and Meatballs…? (Kristen called BS on this one, but that's what they had this year… there is a long, thin commercially produced spätzle); and a Chicken/Jalapeño Brat.

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^ Reuben; and the traditional Oktoberfest Funnel Cake (well, more Pennsylvania Dutch actually…)

Bruno Davaillon to MIX it up @ The Mansion, Dallas

Sweeeet. Eaten at Alain Ducasse's MIX in Las Vegas several times – I dig it. Its chef, Bruno Davaillon, will debut in the kitchen at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek in November as the new Executive Chef. Count me in. I didn't have a decent camera with me last time I dined at MIX…

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^ The view from the nightclub wing, the terrace dining tables are at left.

 

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^ Dinner; they brand you at the hostess stand. (Actually, late night, the bar turns into a club – best view to enjoy a scotch on the strip.

 

…but you'll be seeing plenty of Bruno's work on these pages soon enough. I wonder if, for fun, we'll see Baba ah Rhum (a Ducasse classic) on the dessert menu? Doubt it. 

 

Welcome, chef, and beware the snarky bastards that slink around the Dallas blogosphere!

Louis XIII & Tei-An… Crack Twins:

Had to post this… I will generally, regardless of better judgement, find my way into some shenanigans. I run with a crazy herd… and some of our pack feeds at Tei-An. So, months ago, hanging out at the bar I meet this dude Sten. He's one of these guys, not unlike my buddy Mike, who win. They travel the world and profess the joys of cocktail culture, and specifically ultra premium spirits… In Sten's case that means Remy Martin's Louis XIII. …Good gig, if you can get it!

After many weeks of discussion, Sten, Teiichi and Yosuke finally got together some Tei-An faithful for a Louis XIII tasting. …wait, we have a few minutes… let me see the specials…:

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^ Marketing; Teiichi's Scallop Carpaccio.

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^ Louis awaits… ; Remy Martin Brand Ambassador Sten Lilja's Remy Crusta: Remy V.S.O.P., Grenadine, Lemon Juice, Angostura Bitters. (Start of my Fall Cocktail Watch, me-thinks…)

Noka Chocolate provides a nibble as we work through the history of Cognac… and Teiichi needles with:

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^ Mmmm Hmmm… Asparagus with Squid Ink Mayonnaise, Seared Cold Duck Breast, last-of-the-season Yellow Tomato – stuffed with Crab Salad (Teiichi's "crab salad"… damn…)  Oh, I forgot… we came here to enjoy:

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^ The Louis Treize. This is stupid good spirit crack. Put this on your "list", and enjoy it when the opportunity arises. I encourage you to delve into the culture of the brand, but the Cliff's Notes are as follows: Louis XIII is a Cognac manufactured from the grapes of the Grande Champagne terroir of Cognac, France. It's actually blended from 1200 eaux-de-vie (each aged at least 40 years, and up to over a century.) This blend is then aged in tiercons – barrels that are literally several hundred years old. To add insult to injury, it is sold in a handblown Baccarat Crystal decanter, itself worth more than most premium spirits. The current cellar master apprenticed for ten years, taking over the predecessor's 30 year stint. Well, it's as good as it should be, by the way.  (Oh, and they have an up-sell path as well…!

Uh, hang on… This is a blog about food crack:

Teiichi and I had a sidebar… in the kitchen:

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^ San Diego Uni in Sea Water… slurped off of Japanese Citrus… 
…it's not a contest…

Deli in Dallas? “Oy, goyim!” Chapter: Zinsky’s

Feh with all the kibitz… I like it. 

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You can find lively debate on deli authenticity, recipes, purveyors, etc. on the local intertubes. Zinsky's is what it is. Stylish, clean, welcoming… and satisfying. Enjoy some snaps from a couple recent visits:

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Liz and Jim Baron (Blue Mesa) and Mark Brezinski (Bengal Coast) were bold enough to do a deli their way, and I am happier for it. But I'm easy: they provide condiments in squeeze bottles, table side…

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^ OMG. Russian Dressing on tap – and both Yellow and Deli Mustards; and the excellent Pickles.

In varied dining circumstances, often the "food" at hand is merely a delivery mechanism for my true love – condiments. So… nice. We will need fries, and things with bread.

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^ Not so fast: the delicious Matzo Ball Soup; Zinsky’s Grilled Cheese: American and Cheddar layered with Baked Ham and sliced fresh Tomato on White Bread. Potato Salad.

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^ The P.R.S.C. Special: Corned Beef, Salami and Muenster with Russian dressing downstairs, Chopped Liver and shaved Red Onion upstairs on Pumpernickel; The Big Ben: Corned Beef, Pastrami and Swiss downstairs, Roasted Turkey and Cole Slaw upstairs, with Russian Dressing on Rye… and more Russian Dressing, thank you very much. And some more for the fries.

…and thennnnn:

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^ The Zinsky. A sandwich for a cause. "A triple-decker lollapalooza with three breads, Roast Beef, Pastrami and Turkey, Muenster, American Cheese and Pepper Jack, Cole Slaw and our Special Dressing. $2 of every Zinsky sold is donated to Jewish Family Service of Dallas."

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I'm not sure if you can grasp the scale here, but it's about a foot long. Any "foodie" (hate that term) outta try it for fun, and the cause… at least once. I will hit the rest of the menu, then get back to this one.

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The debate rages on. View these pics, and I defy sammich lovers not to cave to temptation.

Zinsky's Delicatessen and Catering Co. on Urbanspoon

Stay with me! So much More To Come!

I am just crazy-swamped at my real job, but have dozens of posts waiting for some editorial and finishing. I promise to start letting them out! Meanwhile – here:

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…I'll be right with you!