Jon Alexis can be proud of his new digs in the Shops of Highland Park.
TJ’s Seafood Market and Grill is now open – I just ran in to take a look and loved the place.
There is a daily menu available – or grab a piece of fish and have them prepare it for you – or select a marinade and a finishing sauce and do it yourself, at home. Dig. It. The Lobster Roll is already news. More on this later. …and the ‘Charcuterie of the Sea’ looks amazing.
We could not resist and snagged some caviar and blinis, then bribed Avner next door at Nosh with a bite in return for a set up and some lovely lemon crème fraîche.
Well, it looks like the long wait for this place to open was worth it.
Driftwood, Chef Omar Flores’ (Abacus) seafood restaurant at 624 W. Davis in Oak Cliff (next to Bolsa Mercado), has a welcome feel, a cool patio deal, and some nice stuff on the plate. Owner Jonn Baudoin’s hospitality doesnt hurt, either.
Our group ordered almost everything from the heavily seafood-centric menu – but there are many gems from the land as well. Here are some dishes I could get pics of before they were attacked. Read the ingredients in each description – lovely dishes on the page, plate and palate.
^ Malpeque Oysters – Jalapeño Sorbet, Pickled Green Apples.
^L – Naked Cowboy Oysters – Champagne Bubbles, Rio Red Grapefruit Mignonette.
^R – Little Neck Clams – House Made Fennel Pork Sausage, Marinated Tomatoes, Calabrese Peppers, White Wine Broth.
^ Berkshire Pork Rillettes – Pickled Dried Apricot Compote, Bread n’ Butter Baby Beets, Rustic Toast. A heart attack in a jar – and almost worth it! I love rillettes, and this dish did not dissapoint.
^L – Maine Lobster Roll – Gherkins, Tarragon Aioli, Truffle Potato Gaufrettes.
^R – Chargrilled Octopus – Fingerling Potato Confit, Manzanilla Olives, Watercress, Pickles Onions, Smoked Tomato Vinaigrette.
^L – Crispy Seared Idaho Trout – Serrano Ham, Pimenton Roasted Fingerlings, English Peas, Sherry Vinegar Pan Sauce.
^R – Madagascar Vanilla Crème Brûlée - Orange Caramel, Cajeta Whipped Cream. Nice.
We also had the Hiramasa Crudo, Grilled Shrimp, Softshell Crab, Diver Scallops, Brussel Sprouts, Fried Cauliflower, and the Rabbit Duo. Nearly every dish was a hit with our jaded table. Some interesting selections from the wine list assisted in our revelry.
People are always asking me: “What’s new? Where should we go?” How about Driftwood, friends.
Check out these pics from For You, Taste of Poland, a family owned market and restaurant featuring traditional Polish specialties: Pierogi domowej roboty, Galabki – stuffed cabbage with tomato sauce, Bigos – Polish hunters’ stew based on cooked sauerkraut, Polish sausage, Pork cutlets, Red and White Bortscht, Placki Ziemniaczane – Potato pancakes, and a bunch of other great stuff. Check out the menu here.
It's a cool space – and should be, as owners John Paul Valverde and Miguel Vicéns run the design shop Coevál Studio. They also had the good fortune of snagging former Stephan Pyles Exec Chef Matt McCallister to run the kitchen, for the time being at least. Matt has generated crazy buzz and amassed significant praise for his dishes at Campo – almost frustrating, in fact, for a guy about to leave to open his own signature restaurant in the burgeoning culinary destination that is the Dallas Design District. He can handle it.
^ Drool-inducing items for the food-lover. Let's eat:
^L: Chorrizo Fritters – Charred Oregano Aioli, Manchego;
^R: Smoked Baccalao (Salt Cod) Dip
^L: Roasted Cauliflower-Gratin Dip;
^R: Matt's house-made Charcuterie – Farmhouse Salumi, Rossette de Lyon, Sopprasata di Calabria, Lonzino, Chicken Liver Mousse
^L: Lambs Tongue Salad – Celery, Coriander, Pecan, Pear;
^R: Beef Heart Tartare – Mustard, Cider, Black Truffle
^L: The table devours:
Tonight's 3rd Coast Catch;
Acadian Dutch Mussels – Linguini, Carrot, House Pancetta, Bottarga;
Pressed Pork Shoulder – White Beans, Sage Chimichurri, Cippolini Onion Jus;
^R: Here's Matt's riff on the old skool snack Ants on a Log.
The next evening Matt introduced 11 new menu items – we'll have to get back while the gettin' is good! Actually, the staff Matt has in place in CampO's kitchen – including Josh Black, Ian Starr and Matt Gatsey – are very talented as well. In fact, Gatsey staged at Alinea and Gramercy Tavern and was on staff at Per Se. It will be interesting to follow the team's progress after Matt takes his leave.
Already been here three times – love it. Mico Rodriguez – yes, of Mi Conina fame – offers us Mr. Mesero (Mr. Waiter). The menu touts "American Standards, Mexican Classics" I'm all over the Mex-Mex stuff, myself.
It's a great space (previously Burger Girl, and before that Lombardi's La Cubanita) at 4444 McKinney Ave.
Color accents the room and explodes on the plate.
^L Chiles: Jalapeño, Pulla, Habanero y Tomate, and the house salsa.
^R Toreados – pan fried Serrano peppers w/ grilled onions. Here with Aguacates (Avocado).
^L Don't call it a Mambo Taxi! – it's the El Santo (same effect, as you might imagine).
^R Complimentary pickled goodness! I'm so crazy about these I can't see straight – however it may be the heat, on second thought.
Delicious Caldos at $5:
^L Pollo y Tomatillo – Mexican pozole verde – pulled chicken, tomatillo, cilantro broth. I have this on each visit – sure hits the spot with the crisp air.
^R Fideo y Pollo – Consomme de pollo – con esencia de chile morita.
"The American Side" of the menu features a Caesar ("have to have it on the menu"), Saturday Afternoon Pork Sandwich, Texas Coast Shrimp Salad, Strip Steak and Fries, and The Rose Burger. It's in honor of Rose Stivers' famous double meat cheeseburger, served for decades at her Rose’s Bluebonnet Sandwich Shop at the corner of Greenville and Yale, until she passed away in 2003. There is a tidbit about her here.
^L Mico is testing this preparation out – steak prepared either on the oak wood grill or the plancha.
^R Arroz – a sampling of the three rices. Individual sides are also served with this wonderful mole.
^ a Combo Plate $7-$9; and a Taco Plate $7.
Service is attentive and endearing, this is not Mico's first rodeo.
^L A bunch of tacos, we had to try them all. Among them: Jardineros, Carnitas Mi General, Fino, Barbacoa, Callejeros, and Huerfano.
^R The Pescado Tacos – salmon, Mesero slaw, elote rostizado, tomate.
^L 5 Milk Pastel.
I adore this place and have brought all types of my food pals here to unanimous delight.
Well done, Mico – nice to have you back.
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!
^ Check out that pig! (and Tim, too!)
^ Ceviche; and fixin's.
^ Chef Byres adds some flavor, as a interpretive piñata version of himself looms above.
Byres overlooks his patio, and contemplates the potential of similar evenings coming this summer. Stay tuned!
Yep – It's great. Hype: deserved. Anticipation: rewarded. Welcome to Lucia.
^ We are greeted with warm Olives in Rosemary Olive Oil; ^ and a selection of Chef David Uygur's house-made Salumi. The standout is the ridiculously good n'duja (like the French term 'andouille' , 'n'duja' is derived from the Latin for "too insert") - a highly spiced spreadable pork sausage originating from Calabria – here spread on crostini. We had to have a second order. Learn more about n'duja here.
^ A late Friday evening found us among a nice group of like minded Dallas food types.
We decided to grab a bunch of stuff to share on our first visit:
^Seared Beef Tongue with Roasted Onions and Salsa Verde; ^ Crispy Lamb Meatballs.
^ Oyster Risotto with Parsley (Nice); ^ Potato Gnocchi with caramelized Cabbage, Taleggio and Speck.
^ Slow Roasted Pork Belly with Corona Beans and Broccoli Rabe; ^ Panna Cotta with caramelized apples and Aceto Balsamico.
The rest of this week's menu is equally tantalizing. (View the Lucia menu for the week of December 17 here.)
After two bottles of wine, my conspicuous dining companion and I rattle off numerous adjectives in praise of the food – the deft balance of fat and acid, the skillful execution – to which Jennifer U. simply responds, "Well, that's great! We hope you had a lovely time and are glad you enjoyed your meal!" Later on Chef David chats with us in some detail, but kinda humbly shrugs off the accolades. He's just cooking with integrity and procuring great ingredients. The Uygurs have created something special. A small neighborhood restaurant that cannot avoid the reality that it is important for the Dallas food scene.
^ Chef/Owner David Uygur.
It's been over a year since that last service at Ugyar's previous culinary home, Dallas favorite Lola. There has been a real dearth of excitement in restaurant openings in that time, and we've had to endure some painful closings lately. That's why there's almost a feeling of relief that Lucia is as wonderful, welcoming and satisfying as one might have hoped for. It's great already, and they are only getting started.
^Manager/Owner Jennifer Uygur at the window of her Bishop Arts District gem.