June 2010

One of 48 Nights: Chef John Tesar Edition, Dallas

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The “guerrilla” restaurant concept 48 Nights @ SYLVAN | THIRTY from Dallas restaurateurs Chris Jeffers, Chris Zielke and Tim Byres has nearly run its intended course.

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When the six month experiment concludes on July 27th, around 24 well regarded chefs will have served nearly 3000 covers and raised tens of thousands for the Mass Care Task Force (American Red Cross Dallas Area Chapter, North Texas Food Bank, The Salvation Army DFW Metroplex Area Command, and Volunteer Center of North Texas).

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I, of course, chose to show up and cover John Tesar’s dinner. This is a document of the two seatings for the Monday dinner. With many friends in the kitchen and in the dining room, we just had fun.

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Between eating scraps from the chef, begging wine from Flynn and Barber, and trying to keep out of the way in the TINY kitchen – I didn’t notice that my camera was set up kinda wacky. So – this is an arty kinda photo essay type post. Just look at the pretty colors. Tesar knocked it out – and you can always see more detailed (and in focus) shots of his food elsewhere on this blog. Here we go:

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^ Former Mansion mixologist Michael Martensen whips up a Flaming Rum Punch w/ Ancho, Sea Salt and Mansion pastry chef David Collier’s Cotton Candy.

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^ Marinated Hamachi Vietnamese Style – Nuoc Mam Vinaigrette.

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^ The peeps enjoy as JT works the risotto.

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^ A little Uni Butter; then plating the Uni Risotto w/ San Diego Sea Urchin – Wasabi Tobiko and Lobster Consommé. …Martensen and I were eating a massive pot of this at the time – so you get no pic of the plated dish (told ya).

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^ My friends LK, C-LaB and sommeliers Scott Barber and Michael Flynn; Trays of perfectly butter-poached lobster.

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^ The Butter Poached Lobster – Rhubarb Compote, Shaved Foie Gras, White Balsamic Reduction.

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^ At the second seating, the crew is literally prepping the Halibut by candlelight.

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^ Hen of the Woods Mushroom and Fine Herb crusted Pacific Halibut – Parsley Lemon Nage, Tom Spicer’s Purslane. Very Tesar, and very good.

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^ Milk fed Tenderloin of Pork – Potato Puree, Truffle Nage.

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^ Prepping the Carrot Cake w/ Carrot Juice Shake and Lime Marshmallow.

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Great venue. Great food. Great friends. …Great concept. Here’s to another 48 nights, soon.

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Avner and Celeste Samuel to Close Aurora, Dallas.

On the news that Avner and Celeste Samuel have decided to close Aurora after seven years and regroup, it seems a good time to reflect on the exceptional experience that was and still will be Aurora until July 31, 2010.

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Click here for my post on a spring dinner at Aurora. Enjoy! …and get that last reservation fast!

Quick Fire Visit w/ Top Chef “Cheftestant” Tiffany Derry at Go Fish, Dallas

I met up with John Tesar, culinary guru for Dallas Restaurant Group (Go Fish Ocean Club's corporate parent), to see what's up at the Far North Dallas restaurant – and remind people that Dallas' latest Top Chef contender is right here cooking in her kitchen. 

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^ Go Fish Exec. Chef Tiffany Derry wondering why Brad is all up in her business… I did cause some consternation with my VERY early scoop on her involvement in Top Chef. My source eventually turned out to be quite right.

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^ All is forgiven and she serves us up some of the goods, including this Halibut dish.

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^ Poussin Roulade – Roasted Artichoke, Baby Carrots, Glazed Onion; ^ Hawaiian Tuna – Sesame Seed Crusted, Spring Risotto, Lemongrass.

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^ Tiffany Derry and John Tesar talking shop.

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^ The only reality show fireworks of the evening came in the form of the table side Bananas Foster.

I was able to provided some assistance when Tiffany inquired about where to go for late night Asian food. I directed her to my post on Dal Dong Nae – and she and her crew were off!

Go Fish Ocean Club on Urbanspoon

Yakiniku and Martensen’s Rum Cocktails at Tei-An Rooftop Bar, Dallas

Mixologist and retro-mustachioed rum ambassador Michael Martensen, together with Tei-An bar manager Yosuke Fukuda, organized a fun summer event on the Tei-An Rooftop Patio Bar last night.

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^ Tei-An chef/owner Teiichi Sakurai discusses the finer points of Blue Fin Tuna with chef John Tesar in the bar downstairs; then joins Hunter Sullivan and the rest of the party on the roof.

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^ Teach and Yosuke talk fire and Yakiniku (grilled meats).

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^ Martensen prepares cocktails with exotic rums, including an Oronoco Mai Tai garnished with Soy Sauce reduction.

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^ Ron Zacapa XO Solera Gran Reserva Especial from Guatemala, blended from rums aged 6 to 23 years; Brazilian Oronoco Rum, a super-premium White Rum from Fresh Cut Brazilian Mountain Cane.

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^ Yosuke tends to the pork Yakiniku.

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There was a breeze and it turned out to be a lovely evening.

Afterward, Teach continued my education with a White Fish tasting:

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Stunning!

Tei An on Urbanspoon

Sammich Watch: Jersey Mike’s Subs, Dallas

I really like me the sammiches, so off we ran to a nearby Jersey Mike's Subs.

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My buddy Sosi went for the Jersey Mike's Famous Philly with Grilled Onions and Peppers:

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^ I got the Original Italian: Provolone, Ham, Prosciuttini, Cappacuolo, Salami and Pepperoni Mike's Way with Onions, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Vinegar, Oil and Spices. I added Jalapeños and Banana Peppers. I thought it was great – and the bread didn't go all soggy before I was done. Like it.

Jersey Mike's Subs on Urbanspoon

Teppo turns 15! Teppo Yakitori and Sushi Bar, Dallas.

Well, it's been fifteen years since Teiichi Sakurai opened the first in an impressive collection of distinguished and exceptional Japanese restaurants in Dallas. Teppo Yakitori & Sushi opened in 1995 and was an immediate success with critics and the public alike – and has remained so over the years. It was followed by Tei-Tei Robata Bar in 1998 and Tei-An in 2008. Prior to opening Tei-An, Teiichi sold the first two restaurants to their respective Executive Chefs – Tei-Tei to Katsutoshi Sakamoto, and Teppo to Masayuki Otaka. 

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^ Teppo Executive Chef Masayuki Otaka - "Masa" to his many friends.

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^ Invited guests line out the door awaiting access to Teppo's 15 Anniversary "buffet." 

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^ There are many familiar faces and even some past employees in the crowd – and one particular notable guest in the kitchen (a story about him is on the way.)

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^ The chairs from the sushi bar and the one row of tables are removed to accommodate the throngs.

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^ (at the right) Head Sushi Chef Tomoaki Nishigaya – "Tommy."  Not the usual fare, but a selection of traditional braised meats was delicious all the same. Teppo specializes in spectacular sushi, yakitori (grilled chicken), kushiyaki (other grilled dishes), as well as inspired Japanese specialties. – and, of course, omakase.

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^ Masa is ever toiling over his yakitori grill; ^Teiichi arrives to deliver a traditional gift – this stunning flower arrangement.

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^ My great friends Kim, Bill and James got me hooked on this place 15 years ago, and I still have my birthday here each year. Teppo holds a very special place in my heart – and remains an outstanding establishment.

I will soon follow up with a photo essay of many stunning dishes I've enjoyed here over the years – I have a lot to work with.

Teppo Yakitori & Sushi Bar on Urbanspoon

Nobu Matsuhisa Celebrates 5 Years in Dallas

I’m a big fan of Nobu-Dallas and the talents of Executive Chef Matt Raso, and Head Sushi Chef Mitsuhiro Eguchi. (See my pics from an omakase meal last year here. I have a couple other Nobu omakase meals to post – so stay tuned.) Well, it’s been five years and they are still here… let’s hope we can keep it that way!

A bunch of us hardcore fans got invited to a 5th Anniversary bash last Friday hosted by Nobu himself. 

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( Above left outside – find the beautiful Yuka Hinoda (manager); Nobu Matsuhisa; Ben Madrid (general manager.) 

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^ While waiting for the lovely “FW”, I enjoyed a masu of Nobu’s Hokusetsu Daiginjyo original “Black Label” sake in the bar. Upon entering the party, we indulged in many a lychee martini.

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^ Here’s Exec. Chef Matt Raso obscured by smoke, preparing Wagyu Kushiyaki.

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^ Matt finishing the plate with Anticucho and Aji Amarillo sauces. A fave.

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^ Some Shrimp action; and Sushi and Sashimi inside. We were having fun and I just didn’t take that many snaps (shocker!). I will soon post my story on “H2″ Wednesday and Thursday Extended Happy Hours, as well as those other omakase meals. …Love the Nobu.

Four Seasons Farmers Market in Addison

Or rather, according to the website: Four Seasons "European" Market. Whatever… nice to see some fresh produce at the corner of Belt Line and the Tollway…

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The Village on the Parkway, actually. (Or Sakowitz Village, as many of us still call it.)

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The market is held Saturdays and Sundays from 10 to 3.

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^ Round Rock Honey; and Empire Baking.

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It seems that the number of vendors is growing weekly. They include Dread Head Chef, Texas Honey Bee Guild, Truth Hill Farm, Royal Pepper Co., Kurry King, Lucido's Pasta, and Little John's Plants and Produce.

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Double Throw Down BBQ.


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^ Cupcake Crazee; ^ Luscombe Farm.