Quickie: Catching up with Kosmas at the Bar at Marquee Grill – Dallas

In an era long gone, when I was in high school, my friends and I made midnight treks to the Highland Park Village Theatre many a weekend to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show. In fact, for a time, this theatre held the record for consecutive showings of the film. Things have changed a bit…

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Enough with the melancholy – this Marquee Grill deal is pretty sweet. We'll look at more of the cool restaurant digs in future – tonight we imbibe.

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We dropped by late on Friday night, during their soft opening, to find mixologist – and Speakeasy author –  Jason Kosmas (Marquee Executive Beverage Director) at the top of the stairs leading to Marquee's sexy second floor bar and balcony.

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The guys mixed us up some goods. ^ Here is the Distinguished Gentleman From Kentucky: Makers 46, Benedictine, Peychaud's & Peach Bitters, and Seasonal Fruits.

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^ The Oxacha Sour: Illegal Mezcal, Lime Juice, Egg Whites, Angostura Bitters, grated Cinnamon & Nutmeg.


^ The view from the Marquee balcony – literally atop the theatre marquee. Highland Park Village plans a three-story European fountain out front – and a clock tower to boot.

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We dug the place, already a game changer for nightlife in the tony 'hood – next time, we dine!

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

Chef John Tesar Dinner @ The Cedars Social Cocktail Den – Supper Bowl #2, Dallas

Cedars Social owner Brian Williams got a kick out of my post featuring Tim Byres’ (of the freshly 4 starred restaurant Smoke) Supper Bowl dinner, but begs me remind everyone that this place is a cocktail joint with modern comfort food. There has been allot of attention surrounding the pre-opening Supper Bowl dinners… which I will now add to here! But first:


^ Just look at that… Michael Martensen‘s lust-worthy back bar. A major cocktail story to come – but in the meanwhile, I’ll have a Compass Box Oak Cross whisky, one rock, please:

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^ The view from the bar.

And now – more food! Some of Tesar’s passed hors d’oeuvres:

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^ Sommeliers Scott Barber and D’Lynn Proctor chat wine; ^ The menu and pairings.

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^ A Tesar classic: Butter poached King Crab with Parsley Puree and Garlic Foam.

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^ Chef Tesar and his ridonculous prawns!


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^ The Roasted Gulf Prawns with Finocchiona, Avocado and Lemon Garlic Aioli.

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^ Penne Bolognese with aged Pecorino Cheese; ^ and a new classic: Whole Roasted Sweetbreads with Creamer Potatoes, Oyster Mushrooms, Truffle Vinaigrette, and Spicer’s Greens.

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Pastry Chef Corey Thompson’s Hazelnut, Milk Chocolate and Banana Torte.


JT greeting the room of diners who had braved the ice storm to make this another warm and wonderful evening at The Cedars Social.

Chef John Tesar & Tim Byres Kick-off The Cedars Social – Supper Bowl #1, Dallas

I’ve endured tales of the eminent debut of The Cedars Social for the better part of a year – and even walking through the space a week ago one needed allot of imagination and a good deal of faith in one’s proprietor pals to see the potential. Now it’s all real. Welcome to The Cedars Social.


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^ In my opinion – this is by far the most satisfying use of the space, at 1326 S. Lamar, that has previously housed Amuse and Sala. It’s warm, retro, alive – it feels like hanging out in a friend’s living room – from a simpler time. Oh, and there’s kick-ass cocktails and bad-ass food.

This place is ALL about cocktails and hanging out – they call it “a cocktail den and comfort food kitchen.” But before they open the doors for reals – we get a preview of the space this week during the run up to Super Bowl XLV, thanks to the 5 Supper Bowl dinners. Last night’s dinner was the first service at Cedars and featured chef Tim Byres of Smoke.

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^ But first some hors d’ oeuvres by chef John Tesar, who created the Cedars menu for owner (and former Green Bay Packers linebacker) Brian Williams. Tesar will open the kitchen at Cedars and be cooking nightly for the next few weeks – ahead of the debut of his One Arts Plaza joint, The Commissary.


^ We all immediately fell in love with the room.

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^ Consulting Sommelier D’Lynn Proctor steals a sip from his private stash; as Tim Byres and John Tesar explain the evening’s menu.

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^ Byres’ clever and delicious Boudin Balls & Brick Roux Gumbo with Smoked Chicken & Sausage.


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^ The guys prepping Tim’s Smoked Pheasant & Rio Star Grapefruit Salad with Sprouts, Radicchio & Almonds. (The cylinder is removed prior to service.)


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^ The dramatic open pit fireplace is comfortable and welcoming in the space.

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^ Sweetbreads and Oxtail – featuring a winning spin on German Potato Salad.


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Former Mansion Pastry Sous Chef Corey Thompson’s Citrus Panna Cotta: and homemade pies by Tracy Tesar. (Trace – that Buttermilk Pie just ain’t right! OMG!)


^ Peeps facebooking the meal, no doubt.

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^ Tim and friends.


^ Cool.

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^ after… more cocktails; and conversation in the library. A major part of this concept is Michael Martensen‘s cocktail program. I’ll have much more to say about this once the place is officially open.

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^ Nice to have JT back in the kitchen – his Supper Bowl dinner is Feb 1, but you can try his Cedars menu after things settle down next week; ^ Owner Brian Williams, happy to have the first night in the history books.


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^ Get over to The Cedars Social and explore its many delights. Nice job, guys.

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.


^ Yosuke tends to the pork Yakiniku.


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

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




Tei An on Urbanspoon

Patio / Cocktail Watch: Pimm’s Cup @ Charlie Palmer at the Joule, Dallas

I was over at Charlie Palmer at the Joule a couple times last week. The first night I met some friends and enjoyed some Macallan at the bar. Chef Scott Romano dropped by – "What you got?!," I asked…

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^ First a little something from the Bar Bites menu, Jalapeño Stuffed Quail Legs – Smoked Bacon, Ale Glaze. ^ But the bomb was the Andouille Pâté by Charcuterie Chef Richard Blankenship – brilliant and decadent.

The next night I met some other friends and we enjoyed perfect weather on the patio. The Joule sits in the middle of a particular block of downtown Dallas that actually has some foot traffic in the evening – almost seems like a city, even! 


Pimm's sounded a great choice to compliment the temperate air and the handsome Adam Tihany room glowing through the restaurant's wall-to-wall glass front.

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^ Here is the Pimm's Royale: Pimm's No.1 Cup, Aureole Cuvee Sparkling Wine, Nikolaihof Elderflower Syrup, Cucumber. Only 5 Bucks on the Happy Hour Menu!

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^ I had to get more of the delicious N'duja Pâté w/ Brioche Toast: ^ Then a traditional Pimm's Cup: Pimm's No. 1, Lemon, Cucumber, and here, the bite of Fever Tree Ginger Beer. Great! 

Charlie Palmer's at the Joule on Urbanspoon

Topical Cocktail: Bulleit Bourbon Mint Julep

Well, I'm getting better. After a disastrous planning snafu a couple years ago, I've now taken to growing my own mint – just for such an occasion as the 136th Run for the Roses at the Kentucky Derby. Thanks to a Michael Martensen leave-behind, I have some of the terrific Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey.


The classic Mint Julep consists of Kentucky Bourbon, Mint, Sugar and Ice. This year we did two versions: one with lightly pressed mint leaves and simple syrup, the other with mint muddled with brown sugar. I think I dug the latter. A nice way to celebrate Calvin Borel's third in four. Now, once again, I must plan ahead and get some dang Julep Cups!

Just another night at Tei-An, Dallas

More shenanigans at my favorite hang:


^ A little snack: Ankimo in Creme Pancetta, Black Truffles.

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I dropped by to see Jay Liddell, brand ambassador for The Macallan. He bribed some of us with Mac 18 (and the Perfect Serve ice balls) to try out this new marketing technology – qyoo.

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It uses an iPhone app to read a symbol that brings up info and media about a product – nifty. Let's have more Mac and head upstairs!

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'Teach' and I hop in the private elevator in the Tei-An bar and take the party upstairs to the newly opened Rooftop Patio and Bar.


Come spring – this is gonna be pretty choice.

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Meanwhile, downstairs, the cast and crew of August: Osage County were celebrating their opening night at the Winspear with Teiichi's incredible nibbles.

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Soon we were chatting up the play's star: here is 'Teach' with Oscar winner Estelle Parsons. Just another night at Tei-An. 

Oh, and here are some random snaps of some stuff I've been eating here:

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… worth a thousand words.

Tei An on Urbanspoon

View from the Tei-An Rooftop – and more Macallan, to boot.

There is progress! I have set foot on the very complicated (in progress) and intricate floating flooring that will soon support an oasis in the already buzzing Arts District at One Arts Plaza (18 month overnight success…).

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Soon, kids… soon. Meanwhile, Jay Liddell over there at The Macallan is wasting no time in taking advantage of the fall, misty, Scottish-like weather – hence ANOTHER scotch tasting – this time at Tei-An. No surprise that my buddy Bob and I were there with bells on. (Single Malt fans should seek out Jay via the inter-tubes and hit one of these tastings… well worth the effort). This night, along with drams of Mac 12, 18, and Fine Oaks – including 21 – we had a bit of fun with the whole Ice Ball thing. Again, as I recounted here, this spherical ice deal has it's roots in Japanese bar culture – and my pal Yosuke Fukuda first introduced me to its genius at the former Moosh. This night, Jay and Yosuke went head-to-head:

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Yosuke used to claim he spent 20 mins on each sphere… well, even Jay will admit that Yosuke damn near beat the "machine's" 60 seconds… and the handmade ice sphere was damn near perfect. So there.

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^ The spoils (heh…) and the rest of the 12 bottle – on hard chipped ice (another lost art).

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* Delicious nosh by 'Teach'… and of course some whimsy…:

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^ … That's right – Macallan 12-steamed-clams. So right.

The Macallan Tasting Event @ Kent Rathbun’s New Pad

The Macallan Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky and Kent Rathbun's Abacus are all in cahoots these days – spurring a tasteful pursuit. (Look for a Macallan Dinner at Abacus in the near future.) Last night we moved along Central and on up to Chef Kent's new penthouse apartment in the sky – to partake in some of the shenanigans.


The spacious patio (and a break in the weather) provided a beautiful setting to enjoy a ridiculous slate of The Macallan's offerings.

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The Macallan brand ambassador Jay Liddell conceived a brilliant arc to the Whisky tasting, starting with the excellent entry level pours. I, of course, went with the Fine Oak offering – not my first rodeo. Meanwhile: in the kitchen…


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Some of the guys from Abacus and Jasper's started us off with some nosh. Then: BAM! 

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^ No screwing around. Right to the Mac 25; and some Kobe Sliders. Damn, this is a pretty good event…

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Oh, crap! The 1841 Replica Macallan, a less Sherried, delicious offering. ^ Rathbun checks on the kitchen.

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^ We enjoy some soy glazed Salmon and look around the new digs…

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^ A little Lamb Shanks on Risotto… and…


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The Macallan Fine Oak 30 – sheer Heaven. My orgasmic response draws a chuckle from the peanut gallery. Next was the featured event: The Perfect Serve. This is The Macallan 18 served over the cleverly produced ice sphere that I discuss here – check it out. Rathbun has locked down The Macallan's ice ball producing device exclusively for Abacus through the first of the year – so head over to the bar if you want to experience it for yourself. Of course, the Mac 18 brilliantly begins our denouement.

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^ Duck Confit pan-fried Ravioli.

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Might as well sample some Fine Oak 21 and 17 for good measure… hey, a pan of unattended Kobe Sliders… perfect!

As a Macallan aficionado, this event sent me over the moon. My personal (non-insanely-priced) favorite has been the Fine Oak 17 for some time – drinking the sublime Fine Oak 30 was torture. Sweet, sweet, $900 torture. I'll be back to Zen and some Chivas tomorrow – this will be quite the adjustment.

Kent's crew did a nice job with the scotch-friendly grub, and Up in Smoke provided some nicely selected Davidoff Winston Churchill Robustos.

And "Cheers" to Jay for hitting us with the remarkable stuff early, while we could still remember, taste and enjoy it – then continuing the evening with other, excellent selections – outstanding.