As exceptional as Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek chef Bruno Davaillon's dinner tasting menus are, a little light lunch can be equally stunning. Err – light, in this case, may refer only to the time of day! Check this out:
^ Crispy Pig Trotter, Watercress / Horseradish Sauce, Pickled Vegetables.
^ Pan-seared Sweetbread, Carbonara Ravioli, Sunchoke / Black Truffle Sauce.
^ Duck Meatballs, Duck Consomme, Foie Gras, Black Trumpets, Green Cabbage, Chestnuts.
^L: Chatham Cod, Potato / Cod Brandade, Tomato Confit, Capers, Lemon Brown Butter.
^ Chesnut Mont Blanc, Chocolate Macaron, Vanilla Chantilly, Rum Ice Cream.
Yes – a little crazy – but ridiculously well-crafted and delicious. And better than another steak and bottle of – Heaven forbid – Silver Oak.
A reminder to occasionally expand your horizons, and your palate. Cheers!
Timely update: Bruno Davaillon has just been nominated for the James Beard Foundation's Best Chef Southwest award. Sweet!
While we wait around for the circus to come when Tesar's D Magazine cover story hits the fan, here is a nice piece in the September issue of Wine Spectator featuring Chef Bruno Davaillon of The Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek.
The issue features French chefs with major operations in the US, including Alain Ducasse, Pierre Gagnaire, Joël Robuchon, Guy Savoy, Eric Ripert, Hubert Keller, Jean Joho, George Mavrothalassitis, David Féau, and Guy Savoy.
What is that line about opinions…? Well everybody has one about Restaurant Week. Mine is generally of the "skip it" camp, but I give it a go once in a blue moon. Such an event occurred last Thursday, quite organically.
I was attending Mansion sommelier Michael Flynn's weekly Wine Chat (every Thursday at 6:15 sharp). My buddy, former Mansion mixologist – now bad-ass spirits ambassador Michael Martensen, brought along another spirits guy and his friend to check out the venerable Mansion Bar.
I ducked in to say hi to Chef Bruno and check out how RW was going. After a quick glance at the enticing offerings, the boys and I scored a table in the Salon (for the record I had a suit on – rabble…)
^ The Mansion's Restaurant Week menu. "We'll do the Flynn's wine pairings as well."
^ Vichyssoise amuse. Martensen and I wanted the boys to have a taste of the regular menu as well – so we ordered some starters for a pre-course:
^A kindly split order of the Shrimp Cocktail, Horseradish Panna Cotta, Tomato Syrup; ^and my fave, the Asparagus and Wild Mushroom Risotto, Meyer Lemon Dust. Mike had the brilliant King Crab Soup with Potato Capelletti (not shown).
^Michael Flynn's gracious table-side manner. Now to the RW menu: ^House-Made Salmon Gravlax with Shaved Fennel Salad.
^Watermelon Salad with Local Feta Cheese, Crispy Prosciutto and Pink Peppercorn Vinaigrette.
^Braised Veal Breast, Roasted Eggplant and Natural Jus; ^Sweet Corn Ravioli with Shrimp Bolognese Sauce. Nice.
^ I took Bruno's advice and ordered the chicken: Crawfish-Stuffed Texas Chicken, Roasted Potato and Baby Spinach and Shellfish Reduction. Fantastic – beautiful and delicious.
^Chocolate Caramel Tart: Soft Caramel, Chocolate Ganache, Vanilla Ice Cream; ^Peach Sundae: Vanilla Panna Cotta, Poached Peach, Almond Crumble, Peach Ice Cream.
I am a big fan of Chef Bruno Davaillon and The Mansion, and eat here as often as I can. This meal was cleverly conceived – and executed with the same skill and nuance as any other I've enjoyed here. Nicely done.
I was once again slinking around the bar at The Mansion recently…
LK and I sampled some of the tempting new cocktails under development while chatting up chef Bruno Davaillon. When I asked what was new, I was well rewarded:
^ Charcuterie from Bruno’s family recipes. Nothing went to waste from this little piggy – and not a morsel remained on this plate.
^ That Thursday, after enjoying Somm Michael Flynn’s Wine Chat, I was able to enjoy the Head Cheese once again, this time with Black Truffles; along with a little Squab, Foie, and Duck with Sunchoke and Truffle Purées. …Damn…
Here we go:
Bruno has arrived. We dined with some media types on Tuesday night, then returned with friends on Thursday. Between the two visits, we’ve sampled nearly the entire new menu – check it out below.
But first, I want to give a big shout-out to my buddy Eric Brandt who, while retaining his title as Executive Sous Chef, has led the kitchen at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek with grace and skill for the past nine months. He is a class act.
^Exec. Sous Chef Eric Brandt and ^Chef d’Cuisine Jason Maddy remain in the kitchen under Executive Chef Bruno Davaillon.
Let’s start off with a bang! (No, that’s not for us…) But Bruno asks “How many at your table?” – and whips up 5 of these:
^ Amuse Bouche: Hamachi with Green Apple Mustard, Daikon, Cucumber, Apple, Jalapeño Milk. It’s killer. “That’s going on the menu,” he says.
^ Shrimp Cocktail – Horseradish Panna Cotta, Spicy Tomato Syrup; ^ Maine Lobster Salad – Tomato Confit, Caviar Cream.
^ Components of the King Crab and Butternut Squash Soup (poured at table); and the accompanying King Crab Spring Rolls.
^ Potato Gnocchi – Artichoke Barigoule, Pancetta, Basil; ^ Wild Mushroom Risotto – Duck Confit, Aged Parmesan.
^ Eric Brandt’s Tartare of Spicy Ahi Tuna and Hamachi with Yuzu Vinaigrette and Jalapeño; ^ and his Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras – Roasted Texas Red Pear, Cornbread and Coriander Honey.
^ Day Boat Scallops – Cauliflower Composition, Ice Wine Vinegar Emulsion; ^ Coriander and Chive Crusted Monkfish with Lobster Minestrone.
^ Eric’s Pan Seared Wild King Salmon – Horseradish Apples, Celery Root and Parsley; ^ and new, Chorizo Crusted Atlantic Halibut – Stuffed Piquillo Pepper and White Bean Puree.
^ Duo of Prime Beef Ribeye and Brisket Short Rib – Potato Fondant and Gorgonzola Cream.
^ Bison Tenderloin “au Poivre” – Autumn Vegetable Fricassee; ^ Roasted Veal Loin – Crispy Sweetbreads, Chanterelle Mushrooms, Fig Chutney.
^ As I document the goings-on, Mansion Wine & Beverage Director and Sommelier Michael Flynn drops by with a spot of wine. Meanwhile my table-mates consume most of my delicious Lobster and Cavatelli Pasta – Pancetta, Peas and Mint (hence no photo).
^ Bruno prepping the “Special”…
^ Sous Vide of Pheasant Breast – “Sausage” of Pheasant Leg, Foie Gras and Pancetta, rolled in Pistachios. With sautéed Green Cabbage, White Grapes and Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Roasted Quince and Seckel Pear.
Bruno’s additions to the Dessert Menu: ^ Mansion “Candy Bar” with Lemon Thai Basil Sorbet; ^ Maple & Macadamia Nut Napoleon with poached Seckel Pear.
^ Apple Seven Ways – I had this twice. That’s, like, 14 apples. (‘Apple Composition’: Apple Clafoutis, Poached Apple, Apple Sorbet, Compote of Granny Smith’s, Green Apple Foam, Crisp Apple Wheel, there’s another one in there, too…)
^ Lingering after service.
So…? Well, it’s no secret that I am a fan of this place… and I am very excited about the food I enjoyed on these visits – as were my dining companions, as are the staff. Bruno – the man, and his food seem a perfect fit for this elegant and evolving institution. I hope to see you here. On this particular evening, I joined some friends at The Mansion’s Wine Chat, hosted by Michael Flynn each Thursday at 6:15:
It’s fun, educational, only $25 and you never know what Michael is going to break out – typically four or five wines are offered, on a theme. I famously missed the wines of Burgundy one week, and have yet to hear the end of it! Read more about Wine Chat here.
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…
^ The view from the nightclub wing, the terrace dining tables are at left.
^ 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.
Welcome, chef, and beware the snarky bastards that slink around the Dallas blogosphere!