April 2011

The Commissary: Chef John Tesar’s Burgers and More – Dallas


The Commissary in One Arts Plaza opened on the 20th, so I ran by and took some snaps of the goods.


^ My pal John Tesar makin’ it happen in The Commissary kitchen.

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^ Opening Night: they hit the ground running!


Commence drooling.

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^ The Farmer: fried duck egg and speck on brioche bun with eschire butter and white Vermont cheddar. This is so stupid good – resistance is futile.

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^ The Dallas: roasted poblanos and pepper jack cheese and BBQ sauce on a sesame seed bun; ^ The Rib braised short rib, collard greens horseradish mayo on brioche bun.


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^ The Magic Burger: aged cheddar, apple wood smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, red onion and pickles on a toasted English muffin.

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^ The Tail End: braised pigs tail, ground pork, ground beef, and topped with roasted pork belly, green tomato chutney and jalapeño mayonnaise on a brioche bun; and the ^ The BIG TEX: ancho chili rubbed, salsa cruda, avocado relish and pickled jalapeños with chipotle mayo on a sesame seed bun.


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^ Tempura Onion Rings; ^ Jalapeño Fries – Disco Style (big hit with our table).

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Another ^ Dallas; and ^ Big Tex.

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^ West Coast: lettuce, tomato, avocado, jack cheese and bacon with Special Sauce on a sesame seed bun; and another ^ The Farmer – just because it’s so awesome.


^ Yes, please.

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^ KOBE Beef Hot Dog with chili, cheese, onions and sauerkraut; and the ^ Commissary Grilled Cheese: chiabta bread, mezzo seco, cave aged gruyere and fromage blanc fines herbs.


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^ Classic Caesar with Parmesan crouton; ^ Paula Lambert mozzarella, vine ripe tomato, basil pesto, and Spicer arugula.

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^ Guac; and ^ Parmesan Popcorn.

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^ Corn meal fried Oysters; ^ JT’s Mac & Cheese.

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^ Tartare Tostada; ^ White Lasagna with fried eggplant and Paula’s ricotta cheese. 

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^ Mortadella Spuma with grilled Tuscan bread crostini; and a Salumi Plate.

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Pastry Chef Corey Thomson’s ^ Lemon Tart with Toasted Meringue & Lemon Ice Cream; and ^ Pistachio & Strawberry Financier with Strawberry Ice Cream. (also a Chocolate & Hazelnut tart with Caramelized Bananas & Chocolate Sorbet in the BG.)

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^ some of Sommelier Scott Barber’s selections.

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^ The kitchen is open Late Night; and a look at “The Table,” Tesar’s Chef’s Room – coming in May.


This place rocks… One Arts Plaza‘s brilliant Tei-An has a cool new neighbor.

The Commissary - Dallas on Urbanspoon

Chef John Tesar’s The Commissary “Industry” Preview – Dallas


Life returns to the once dormant corner of One Arts Plaza as The Commissary is born.


The space is open and bright in daylight.

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^ Barman extraordinaire Michael Martensen has created Wine Cocktails, Sangrias and Punch Bowls. Here he whips up a new concoction featuring some of these excellent selections.

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^ Martensen and consulting sommelier Scott Barber enjoy a sip; "Industry" types enjoy their Monday off (Lucia's David Uygur with Michael Flynn and Bruno Davaillon of The Mansion.)

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^ Friends and Family.


^ JT offers a bite of Kobe Hot Dog.

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^ Sliders and Dogs were enjoyed by all.

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^ Free Tap Wine and Beer flowed all evening as guests enjoyed the weather and beautiful patio settings.


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^ Martensen's outstanding White Tea Sangria – get some!

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…and finally some after hours shenanigans…

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"It's a celebration, bitchez!"

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^ Patrons express themselves. Welcome to The Commissary.

20th Annual Cotes du Coeur Gala – 2011, Dallas


Welcome to the 20th Anniversary Côtes du Coeur International Fine Wine & Celebrity Chef Dinner. One of my favorite events of the year, the black-tie affair (benefiting the American Heart Association) includes a fine wine auction and a tasting of plates from 16 of Dallas’ finest chefs paired with two wines each from some exceptional winemakers. The event has raised well over $12 million over the last two decades.

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^ As soon as we walk in, Dean Fearing of Fearing’s Restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton presents his Apricot Barbecue Glazed Quail with Iceberg Wedge & Blue Cheese Dressing; paired with 2007 Martinelli Bondi Home Ranch Pinot Noir and 2008 Bookwalter Foreshadow Merlot Columbia Valley.

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^ 2006 Amizetta Cabernet Sauvignon and 2008 Justin ISOSCELES; with The Adolphus chef Marcus Strietzel’s Pan Seared Tenderloin of Buffalo, Creamy Polenta with Fresh Coriander & Goat Cheese, Chimichurri Sauce.

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^ David Holben of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House offers Orange Sea Salt Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Grilled Endive & Charred Bell Red Pepper Vinaigrette; with 2006 Revana Cabernet Sauvignon and 2006 Hill Family Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. 

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^ 2007 Karl Lawrence Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and 2007 Terra Valentine Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon; with Scott Romano, of Charlie Palmer at the Joule‘s Braised Lamb Ravioli with Spring Peas & Chanterelle Mushrooms.

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Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek Executive Chef Bruno Davaillon and Executive Sous Chef Eric Brandt; and Paul Blanck wines “ambassador” Tom Wesner.

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^ Bruno’s Day Boat Scallop Carpaccio, Bouillabaisse Gelee, Green Olive Crostini; with 2008 Iron Horse Vineyards UnOaked Chardonnay and 2007 Domaine Paul Blanck Grand Cru Schlossberg Riesling

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^ 2007 Ehlers Estate One Twenty Over Eighty and 2006 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon; with Blythe Beck of Central 214‘s Slow Braised Kobe Short Rib on an Exotic Mushroom Bread Pudding & a Carmalized Onion Demi Glace.

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Nubu-Dallas Executive Sushi Chef Mutsuhiro Eguchi’s Trio of Tuna – Tuna Tataki, Spicy Tuna roll, Traditional Nigiri; paired with 2008 Torii Mor “Deux Verres” Reserve Pinot Noir and 2008 King Estate Domaine Pinot Gris.

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^ 2008 Benovia Bella Una and 2007 Panther Creek Freedom Hill Pinot Noir; with Bijoux chef Scott Gottlich’s Smoked Pheasant Terrine with Cherry Jam.

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eatZi’s Market & Bakery chef Jay Valley’s House-made Veal Sausage & Peppers on Grilled Ciabatta Bread; with 2006 Peju Cabernet Sauvignon and 2009 Colby Red Cabernet.

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^ Graham’s Six Grapes Reserve Porto; and a selection of Cheeses from Central Market.

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^ Brad Albers of Eddie V’s offers Jonah Crab Pot Stickers; with 2009 B.R. Cohn Chardonnay and 2008 Coquerel Wine Estates Terroir Sauvignon Blanc.

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^ 2008 J. Lohr Tower Road Petite Sirah and 2006 Cain Concept – The Benchland; with Gerard Thompson of Rough Creek Lodge & Resort‘s Pancetta Wrapped Elk Loin, Anson Mills Farro Salad, Baby Arugula & Rhubarb.

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^ Kevin Garvin & Anita Hirsch, Neiman Marcus Restaurants: Lobster Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup with Truffled Potato Chips; paired with 2008 Ceja Napa Carneros Chardonnay and 2008 Dutton-Goldfield Dutton Ranch Chardonnay.

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^ 2007 William Cole Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Cuvée Claire and Realm Cabernet Bordeaux Blend; with Kent Rathbun’s (Abacus, Jasper’s, Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen) Braised Short Rib with Marsala Herb Demi & Roasted Carnival Cauliflower, Pearl Couscous.

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^ Scott Murray rallies the crowd; Chamberlain’s goods.

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^ Richard Chamberlain (Chamberlain’s Steak & Chop House, Chamberlain’s Fish Market Grill) offers 40 day aged Ribeye, Parsnip Potato Puree, Smoked Garlic Sauce; with 2006 Alexander Valley CYRUS and 2006 Egelhoff Cabernet Sauvignon.

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^ Regina Martinelli of Martinelli Vineyards; and the Severson’s.

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Sevy’s Truffled Duck Confit, Melted Leeks & Blackberry Thyme Sauce; with 2008 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast and Santa Helena Pinot Noir Selección del Directorio Pinot Noir.


^ Our group (Regina Martinelli, Tom Wesner, Philippe Blanck, Bruno Davaillon, Eric Brandt) planning to hit the event bar in the lobby:


…where Roederer Champagne was served in dramatic fashion. The event was a tremendous success!

Check out the previous night’s shenanigans at the Grand Tasting here

Cotes du Coeur Grand Tasting 2011 (and Afterparty at Kent Rathbun’s) Dallas


This year, the Côtes du Coeur Grand Tasting (where the participating wineries pour a select reserve of their wine for Côtes’ top level patrons and sponsors) was held at Cityplace’s 24th Floor Atrium.

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^ I started out with my pals at the Paul Blanck table.

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^ Happy wine lovers; Scardello Artisan Cheese.

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^ Amelia Ceja of Ceja Vineyards; D’Lynn Proctor with Dr. Madaiah Revana of Revana Family Vineyard.

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^ a selection of nib chocolates.

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^ My pals Regina Martinelli & Philippe Blanck; we check out Master Somellier Joseph Spellman and the Justin ISOSCELES.

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^ Lisa Chamberlain chatting with Daryl Groom, who happens to have made the 1990 Penfolds Grange recently enjoyed with some buds at Veritas Wine Room.


As evening falls, we head over to Kent and Tracy Rathbun’s penthouse pad at The Heights at Park Lane.

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^ Wine types chow down on Kent’s grub:

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Great time! Next up – the main event: the Côtes du Coeur 20th Anniversary Gala.

Chef John Tesar tours The Commissary and The Table at One Arts Plaza, Dallas

My 200th post:

Check out this peek at chef John Tesar’s new digs at One Arts Plaza: The Commissary.


The Commissary will feature gourmet burgers, small and large plates, wines by the bottle and glass, tap wine, beers, Michael Martensen’s sangria bowls, artisan sodas and a retail wine program.

Included is a look at the separate tasting room “The Table,” and some toys in the kitchen. The place should be open in a week or so. See you there!

Disclaimer: Friends and followers of my blog are no doubt aware that Tesar and I are buddies. As the concept for The Commissary developed, we collaborated on certain design elements including the logo and signage. I do not do criticism on my blog – but rather champion excellence. My opinion of Tesar as an excellent chef is shared by most anyone who has tasted his food. In that spirit, you will see additional posts about what is going on at this establishment – as you will for many other restaurants I feel strongly about. So, there. Go forth and eat, and support the food you love!

Martensen, Williams, Chef John Tesar Create Magic at The Cedars Social, Dallas


At the corner of Belleview and South Lamar, something special is going on: The Cedars Social.

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^ Michael Martensen and crew prepare impeccably crafted “Golden Era”  and “Tribute” cocktails.

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^ In the kitchen, Chef John Tesar has created a menu unlike any other in Dallas – inspired by late night chef destinations like NYC’s Blue Ribbon Brasserie and The Spotted Pig.

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^ Tuna Crudo w/ Green Apple, Jalapeño, Avocado; ^ Grilled Braised Short Rib Sliders – Collard Greens, Horseradish Mayonnaise on Brioche Rolls.

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^ Chicken & Yeast Waffles with Maple-Black Pepper Reduction; ^ Lollipop Lamb Chops – Bleu Cheese Butter, Roquefort, Red Wine/Lamb Stock.

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^ Nola Style Grilled Fisher Island Oysters with Garlic Butter, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino; ^ Diver Scallops with Salsa Verde on Creamy Polenta.

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^ Sweet and Sour Sausage & Peppers with Grilled Tuscan Garlic Bread and Rustic Tomato Sauce.

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^ Grilled Braised Octopus with Avocado, Garlic Aioli, Garlic Puree and a Warm Salad of Chorizo and Celery Hearts. (F’ing amazing.)

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^ Butter Poached Deadliest Catch King Crab with Garlic Foam and Parsley Puree; ^ Sous Vide Hanger Steak with Creamy Mashed Potatoes and Bordelaise Sauce.

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^ Hand-Rolled Penne with Spicy Bolognese.

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^ Fresh Fruit Crisp; ^ a clean reduction.

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^ Crispy Braised Pork Belly with Collard Greens and Pork Jus.

^ Tesar has been in the kitchen nightly for the past two months. He will hand off daily duties to his accomplished staff as he opens his new One Arts Plaza wine, burger, and chef’s table venture – The Commissary – in early April.

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^ Back at the bar; ^ Don’t mind the Veuve – it’s a cool shot! Consulting sommelier D’Lynn Proctor offers splits of Krug – to much rejoicing.

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^ Classic Mac & Cheese; ^ Hamachi Ribs (inspired by Teiichi Sakurai of Tei-An) with Jalapeño Oil and Fin Herbs.

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^ Pig’s Ear Milanese with Duck Egg; ^ and an amazing Tripe Parmesan.

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^ Sliced Pork Belly; and the pièce de résistance: Tempura Sweetbreads with Thai Chile Mayonnaise.

For more pics of the space itself, please see my previous posts on Cedars’ pre-opening Supper Bowl dinners by Tim Byres and JT.


^ This says it all – Owner Brian Williams (L) hosts our motley crew at the Cedars Social patio fire-pit, 1:45am. Magic.

The Cedars Social on Urbanspoon

Quick Peek – Bruno Davaillon’s new Spring Menu – The Mansion, Dallas.

Last Thursday, after Michael Flynn’s Pinot Gris edition of Wine Chat, I headed into the kitchen at The Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek for a peek at chef Bruno Davaillon’s new spring menu.

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First up: ^ a fully vegetarian option – Vegetable Consomme, Goat Cheese Tortellini, Basil. It’s green, spring, delightful!

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^ Sous vide Rhubarb for the: ^ Seared Foie Gras – Rhubarb, Caramelized Pistachio, Pickled Strawberry. This was fabulous – perfectly balanced fat and acid. Bravo.

Bruno’s new Spring Menu (over 90% new dishes) should be rolled out by next weekend. Stay tuned for more details!

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