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!
It seems like this happens every year, but I was once again chatting up Pyles’ Private Dining Director Lisa Moore over a few glasses of Champagne – and missed taking pics of the hors d’ ourvres by this year’s scholarship recipient, Keith Hildebrandt… sorry dude!
^ The Nobu boys put together Hirame Dry Miso and Tuna Tataki with Cilantro Dressing.
^ Ft. Worth’s Grace exec chef Blaine Staniford prepares Maine Diver Scallop with Sea Urchin, Celery Root and Beech Mushroom.
^ Craft-Dallas exec chef Jeff Harris tending to his cavatelli as the frozen foie torchon awaits…
^ The dish: Duck Cavatelli, Swiss Chard & Shaved Foie Gras.
^ Chef Tim Byres (L) of Smoke plates his sensational Pork Jowl Bacon & Half Sour Cucumber Salad with Sweet Chile, Mustard & Molasses.
Stephan Pyles exec chef Matt McCallister and the Portuguese Grilled Cap of Ribeye, Kale-Bacon Fried Cornmeal with Caramelized Pearl Onions and Fall Spiced Apple Chutney.
^ One of my favorite dining rooms.
^ Persimmon Pudding, Brown Butter Chestnut, Membrillo and Citrus-Butternut Squash Spoom by Katherine Clapner, Dude Sweet Chocolate; ^ and a cool shot of Stephan with his former exec chef Tim Byres (L) and outgoing exec Matt McCallister (R).
^Stephan Pyles, Tim Byres, Katherine Clapner, Matt Raso, Jeff Harris, and Blaine Staniford – being auctioned off. The lot was to have them ALL cook at YOUR house – the winners got a steal on this one. There was a good turnout for the event and is was a great night.
Matt McCallister will be in the kitchen at Stephan Pyles for about another month – then new adventures await. We look forward to his next venture, and the next chapter at Stephan Pyles!
Here's a quickie look at Avner & Celeste Samuel, and chef/partner Jon Stevens latest while I bury the lede.
I like it.
This is not you Daddy's Aurora. New is the handsome L-shaped bar. Avner prefers that the TV feature his favorite show – fireworks from the kitchen. Celeste would like to expand the programming – stay tuned.
Much of the stainless steel is gone from the still gleaming kitchen, but the trademark copper cookware remains. The most striking change is the removal of the art nouveau etched glass panels that separated the impassioned kitchen goings on from the rest of the room. This facilitates Nosh's counter seating option. With tongue planted firmly in cheek Celeste and the chefs allude to this being an "R" rated vantage point from which to experience the all day menu of small plates, sandwiches and main dishes (most priced well under $20). Here are some nibbles passed at the reception Friday evening:
^ A little Country Pate; ^ and Tartare of Ahi Tuna, Avocado, Jonah Crab and Yuzu.
^ Crushed Avocado Toasts, Spanish Chorizo, EVOO, Sea Salt. ^ Bites of the Croque Monsieur.
^ Avner's famous Spiced Beef Cigars with Cucumber Yogurt and Chimichurri; and the Hummus.
^ I was diggin' the Escargot Fritters and Mandarin Tartar & Parmesan. ^ The three Musketeers. Chef Jon Stevens joins from having most recently opened two of the Neighborhood Services outposts,
So far so good. I'll tell ya about the regular menu tout de suite.
And the real news? Aurora is not gone. It will be available on request. People already have reservations. More on that later.
The only thing cooler than the return of Deep Ellum’s Green Room – Dallas’ one-time Rock and Roll fine dining favorite – is that Chef Joel Harloff and his “modern American cuisine” have found a new home. When last we left Joel – I was off to buy him a beer at Tei-An after the heartbreaking closure of Dali Wine Bar. He spoke of opportunities… it didn’t take long – he was announced as Green Room executive chef, like, two days later.
I was pleased to get an invite from Chef Joel to attend the ‘friends and family’ test run at Green Room last Saturday.
The room is reminiscent of the original, but I do miss the darker, sexier feel. “If it ain’t baroque, don’t fix it,” or something like that. They are still tweaking some lighting and decor details, so we shall see how that evolves. The food, however, is good to go. I’m a fan of Joel’s food and was not disappointed.
^Pan Seared Georges Bank Scallops – Pickled Radish and Sweet Red Onion, Two Potato Galette and a Bing Cherry Beurre Blanc; ^Grilled Texas Quail – Scamorza and Fresh Herb Potato Gratin, Purple Hull Peas and Wild Oregon Mushrooms and a Fresh Thyme Quail Demi Glace.
^Nova Scotia Halibut – Maine Lobster, Roasted Sweet Corn and Yukon Gold Potato Succotash, Buttered Sugar Snap Peas and a Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc; ^Grilled NY Strip – Sea Salt & Champagne Vinegar Potato Wedges, Texas “Caprese” Salad, Fresh Herb Demi Glace.
^Grilled Texas Peaches – Texas Peaches Lightly Grilled and Served Warm with DuIce de Leche Ice Cream and Mixed Nut Struesel Topping; ^Assorted Sorbets and Ice Creams.
A little H2O was nice after indulging in the BYOB option that will be in place for the next couple weeks (or you can enjoy complimentary wine selections with dinner while they wait on the liquor license).
^My somm’ buddy Scott Barber joined and brought a bag of goodies; ^Chef Harloff after service with his favorite vintage.
The much lauded “Feed Me, Wine Me” dinners are back as well, which should be a real treat – a nice match with Chef Joel’s style and enthusiasm.
There will also be a special menu for the awesome rooftop patio – can’t wait for fall. Green Room, once again, goes in the “Regular Hang” column. They are booking up already – see you there!
Heartbroken. Dali Wine Bar & Cellar was one of my faves.
Here are just a few moments from countless hours spent at this establishment that I was so happy to passionately champion during it's far too short run.
For much more, check out my Dali Wine Bar & Cellar category.
Paul Pinnell is with family, I wish him well – and look forward to the next. Meanwhile I'm gonna grab chef Joel Harloff and buy him a drink at Tei-An. Bummer. Of course, in this business – who knows…?
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.
^ 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.
^ All is forgiven and she serves us up some of the goods, including this Halibut dish.
^ Poussin Roulade – Roasted Artichoke, Baby Carrots, Glazed Onion; ^ Hawaiian Tuna – Sesame Seed Crusted, Spring Risotto, Lemongrass.
^ Tiffany Derry and John Tesar talking shop.
^ 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!
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.
^ Teppo Executive Chef Masayuki Otaka - "Masa" to his many friends.
^ Invited guests line out the door awaiting access to Teppo's 15 Anniversary "buffet."
^ 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.)
^ The chairs from the sushi bar and the one row of tables are removed to accommodate the throngs.
^ (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.
^ Masa is ever toiling over his yakitori grill; ^Teiichi arrives to deliver a traditional gift – this stunning flower arrangement.
^ 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.
^ 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.