Fine Casual Dining

Exec. Chef Matt McCallister is Rockin’ it OUT at Stephan Pyles, Dallas.



This Matt McCallister guy is a cool dude – and seriously bad-ass in the kitchen. Stephan Pyles and Matt McCallister (Exec. Chef of Pyles’ eponymous restaurant) attended the envy inducing Madrid Fusion summit this past January. As is often the case after returning from Spain, they were itching to shake things up. Here is a look at some of the new stuff on the Tapas Bar and Hot Apps menus:

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^All ten of the new Ceviches – (My guests couldn’t wait – shaky pics!) I no particular order: Aji Tuna with Jicama and Grilled Orange; Bronzini with Fennel and Vanilla; Laughing Bird Shrimp with Passion Fruit and Coconut; Lenguado with Smoked Corn and Sweet Potato; Sea Scallops with Creamy Garlic, Aji Amarillo and Cucumber;  Mixto with Spicy Tomato, Celery, and Tarragon; Ceviche de Hongos with Black Bean and Lemon; Merluza with Saffron pil-pil and Garlic Croutons; Salmon Veracruzano with Capers, Green Olives and Jalapeños; Lobster with Guayaba and Avocado.

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^The new Tiraditos: Hiramasa with Lime and Toasted Coconut; Halibut Cheeks with Spicy Orange and Ginger; Loch Duart Salmon with Dill Lemonette and Mustard-Coriander Oil. ^And the Pulled Pork with Caramelized Onions and Balsamico Flatbread.

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^Matt is having some fun pickling anything he can get his hands on; ^An inspiration from this night: Hearts of Palm, Corn, and Black Garlic – wonderful.

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^A little Delarche for me, thank you. ^Matt ‘splaining the goods.

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^Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras Tacu Tacu with Brûléed Banana; ^Sea Scallop Migas with English Pea Emulsion, Spanish Chorizo and Parmesan “Snow.”

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^Pressed Pork Shoulder with Grilled Pineapple Empanada and Caramelized Texas 1015s. ^And my favorite gift of Spring, Shad Roe – here with Scamorza-Risotto Croquette, House Bacon and Sorrel. Happy.


^I love this room! I’m also all about this new menu – very nice work, guys. Matt and Stephan have some other stuff up their sleeves (tatted or not). Stay tuned for more culinary adventures at Stephan Pyles.

Stephan Pyles on Urbanspoon

Côtes du Coeur: Château Pontet-Canet Luncheon at Dali Wine Bar Honoring Alfred Tesseron – Dallas

This was my first year attending any of the American Heart Association’s annual Côtes du Coeur fundraising events – and I did it up in a big way. Here is the first of three posts featuring events that took place in a 36 hour period. These people are serious!


First up was a luncheon at Dali Wine Bar and Cellar honoring the 2010 Tête de Cuvée Award Recipient Alfred Tesseron, co-owner of Château Pontet-Canet. His is one of the 61 wineries in the Bordeaux Wine Offical Classification of 1855, and the first to go somewhatbiodynamic.” He is also very cool.

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The exclusive attendees of the lunch dug into their private cellars and donated enough bottles of Pontet-Canet to allow for a vertical tasting of the 1995 and 1996 as well as the 2000 through 2006 vintages. What a treat.

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Dali’s talented chef, Joel Harloff, obliges with some truly wonderful pairings.

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The 2005 decants as we enjoy passed Hors d’œuvre. ^ Veal Sweetbread and Wild Mushroom Tart w/ Veal Demi-Glace.

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^ Roasted Laughing Bird Shrimp (Belize) Skewers. Lunch guest and wine nut Tom Wesner is a patron of the Blanck Pinot Gris and brought along enough for all to enjoy.

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^ As the Bordeaux flows we start with Blueberry & Shiraz Braised Veal Cheeks with Caramelized Shallot Potato Croquette, Oregon Mushroom Ragout and Red Wine Gastrique Veal Sauce.

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^ Pan seared Duo of Duck Breast and Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Wheat Berries, Petite Zucchini Saute and Fresh Thyme Duck Reduction.

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^ Grilled Center Cut Prime NY Strip with Roasted Velvet Piopinni Mushrooms, Humbolt Fog Whipped Potatoes and Red Wine Demi-Glace.

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^ For afters – Marinated Fresh Berry Tart with Chocolate Mousse, Port Berry Sauce and Marble Chocolate Garnish. And a little Sauternes for good measure.

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^ Tesseron loses the jacket and regales us with tales of buying the vineyard’s three new work horses over the internet. ^ Dali proprietor Paul Pinnell and chef Joel Harloff.

Hanging out afterwards, Alfred turned me on to a cool new iPhone app that I wasn’t aware of. Just what you’d expect from a third-generation Bordeaux winemaker.

Below: Joel’s crew. Undeterred by the often packed house, these guys bang out the goods from this tiny kitchen day in and day out. Great job!


This is the kind of food Joel is making daily at Dali – get over there and check it out! And as far as the wine goes – Paul always has some stash of amazing White Burgundy – and they will open any bottle in the house if you buy two glasses. Nice! (well, almost any bottle…)

Dali Wine Bar & Cellar on Urbanspoon

Stuff I just ate:

For Leslie, here's a quickie post of some exceptional food I've recently enjoyed:

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@ Tei-An ^ Tobiuo Sashimi (line-caught Flying Fish) with Ume Shiso Ae; ^ and my fave: Ankimo.

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@ The Mansion:^ Bruno tried this "Surf & Turf" dish out on me as I sat in the bar: Crispy Pork Belly & Lobster Claws, Spicy Tamarind/Soy Sauce, Green Asparagus and Fresh Herb Salad. A version of this may show up here this Spring.

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

In the Kitchen: 10th Annual Stephan Pyles Celebrity Chef Dinner

It’s nice when in the course of helping a friend in need, you get to run around the kitchen at Stephan Pyles.


I’ve been damn-near fooded out this past 10 days (and just wait for this week) and was not planning to attend Pyles’ 10th Celebrity Chef Dinner benefitting the Stephan Pyles Culinary Scholarship at The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas. But one call from a sick friend later – I was wandering over from The Winspear to check out the festivities.

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^Stars and Bubbles: Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Sparkling Wine. I like this stuff just fine.


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^ The chefs: Exec. Chef Matt McCallister – Stephan Pyles; Stephan Pyles; Coner Seargeant; Zach Townsend – Pure Chocolate Desserts by Zach; Exec. Chef Vijay Sadhu – Samar by Stephan Pyles; Exec. Chef Tracy Miller – Local; and Exec. Chef Jason Dady – Chef/Owner The Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills, San Antonio (et alii). Pic at right: Ninth Annual Stephan Pyles Culinary Scholarship Cook-off winner, Thomas “Coner” Seargeant of the Texas Culinary Academy in Austin. (Photo: Aimee Olson)


^ Vijay Sadhu’s South Indian Crab Soup with Garam Masala, Coconut Curry and Mustard Seeds – paired with Montinore Estate, “Borealis” White Blend, Willamette Valley 2008.

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^ Local’s Tracy Miller prepares Pan-seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras and Scratch Texas Toast with Vanilla Bean steeped Eden Creek Gala Apple, Currant Sauternes Compote. Paired with Planeta, “Cometa,” Fiano, Sicily 2006.


^ (L) Jason Dady, (C) Stephan Pyles Exec. Sous Chef Bradford Hodgkins (R) Managing Director George Majdalani.

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^ Jason Dady and his Sous Vide of Main Lobster Tail with Deconstructed “Chowder.” Paired with Mer Soleil, “Silver,” Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands 2007.

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^ Preparing Pyles’ & Matt McCallister’s Juniper-Scented Venison with Vanilla Compressed Honeycrisp Apples, Celeriac Tart Tatin, Cranberry “Air,” Cranberry Fruit Roll-Up. Paired with Justin, “Savant,” Cabernet Blend, Paso Robles 2006.

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^ More action; and the Flourless Chocolate “Intense” Torte with Citron Joconde, featuring Valrhona Taïnori Pure Origin Grand Cru Dark Chocolate (Dominican Republic) by Executive Chef/Chocolatier/Owner Zach Townsend – Pure Chocolate Desserts by Zach. aired with Jam Jar, Shiraz, Western Cape 2009.


I love this room, particularly in the fall and winter. This was a great way to miss a Cowboys game. I thought the chefs and wine guys rocked this one out… and I’ll be back to sample more of Matt’s food.

Fall Lunch at York Street, Dallas.

The unassuming culinary home of all that is good and right:


After kibitzing with Sharon Hage Tuesday night at Charlie Palmer's, thoughts of her Sweetbreads and her Butterscotch Pots de Crème were nagging. Before I knew it, and scant hours later, Linda texted that she'd been dismissed from jury duty and was sitting down to lunch at York Street – I was there in record time.

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^ The Avocado "Side"; and the Axis Venison Chili, graciously split three ways.

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^Risotto – house made Veal Sausage, Reggiano; and the Veal Sweetbreads – melted Cabbage, Bacon Pan Sauce.

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^Duck2 – soft poached Duck Egg, Duck Tongue Salad, white Toast. (heh… schwing!)

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^Butterscotch Pots de Crème; the Bread Pudding. Just terrific.


I adore this restaurant. Eat. Here. Now. York Street serves lunch only on Wednesdays. Dinner: Tuesday – Saturday.

York Street on Urbanspoon

Charlie Palmer drops by The Joule – Dallas chefs follow suit.

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My quest for exceptional cured meats has me lately hovering around the kitchen of Charlie Palmer at The Joule. Of interest last night was the 'Pigs and Pinot' dinner offered this week as it features "Pork Trio," not to mention Grilled Pork Belly. Chef Palmer was in town for a couple days pimpin' his new "Charlie and Clay" private label wine – so, seemed time for a post. Oh, and some friends dropped by as well.


^Executive Chef Scott Romano (center), and Charlie Palmer (right).

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^Executive Chef Scott Romano in his kitchen.

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^The Pork Trio, consisting of: ^ Sautéed Head Cheese;

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^Country Pate; ^Foie Gras and Pork Jowl Terrine.

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^Pork Trio at the table. This is a killer dish.

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^Grilled Pork Belly – Apple Soubise, Clementine, Braised Red Cabbage. This dish will kill you!

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^Grilled Pork Belly; and from pastry chef Ruben Torano: the Poached Comice Pear – Chevre Sorbet, Red Berry Compote.


^Kent Rathbun, Michael Abruzese (late of Il Mulino, now at Bella Bar), Charlie Palmer, Yutaka Yamato of Yutaka and Sharaku, Jeff Harris (Executive Chef, Craft Dallas).

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^Dean Fearing, Charlie Palmer, Sharon Hage, Tim Love. …and many others. We also caught up with Mitsuhiro Eguchi and the newly engaged Matt Raso of Nobu-Dallas.

Small Plates were passed, including:

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We were talking with the lovely and talented Sharon Hage about what's doing for lunch this week when Chef Romano brought out this number for her to sample:

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^It's a sous vide Squab dish: Porchetta / Braised Leg / Brown Butter Spaghetti Squash. Amazing. 

Sharon helped style the dish for my photo, then grabbed us some forks and bade us 'Dig in!" 

Big fun, kids. And, Sharon, see you soon!

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.

First Look: Tesar’s, The Woodlands

Well, look who I found…


Heh… you guys must have been waiting for this one. Well here ya go. Some sexy pics of a sexy space and some sexy food. Those familiar with Tesar's passion for food, and seafood in particular, will find it as no surprise that there are exceptional plates coming out of this kitchen. Tesar's is literally surrounded by restaurants vying for diners, but it has little competition at it's level of the game, in my opinion. Haters – hate away… others, enjoy if in the area, or take a quick trip down there… I mean, it's not Houston. I can make it in 2 1/2 hrs (including speeding ticket!) *TheBrad does not condone exceeding the posted speed limit.


^ Tesar's Modern Steak and Seafood in The Woodlands. John is doing his seductive take on seafood, and introducing both grass and grain fed, aged beef preparations – including "tastings" of beef. Read more about the restaurant's philosophy and menu here.



I hung out one evening, during the soft launch… and enjoyed myself.



^ The top tier of the incredibly fresh Shellfish Platter.



^ Seafood Salad Ceviche; Tesar's Chopped Salad.



^ On fire and plate: Nebraska Kobe Boneless Shortrib, Potato Puree, Sauce Italian.



^ Alaska Halibut, Melted Leeks, Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Red Wine Reduction; Tesar's Foie Gras speared with Vanilla Bean.


^ Afternoon light in the main dining room.



If I hang out in the kitchen long enough, the crew bribes me to get out of the way – this time with a ridiculously Truffled Mac & Cheese. It worked…



…back in the bar: Here you can order from Tesar's Burger Bar Menu featuring half a dozen tantalizing options (check out "The Tail End": Sirloin mixed with braised Pig's Tail, Green Tomato Chutney, Jalapeño Mayonnaise, braised Collard Greens.) There's also an All Kobe Hot Dog.



^ Seen these fries before? Yep, but not with this accompaniment. That's right – Tesar condiments. And they are very good. The Wasabi Mustard on the Kobe Dog is rockin'. 



^ Desserts; and Tracy's Cupcakes!


^ I like this shot – it was a few weeks before the opening…



…and it all came together quite nicely.

Because She Can.

Today is the birthday of my lovely and talented friend, Carol.

You people like blogs…? Don't even start with me…

Find her here: Alinea at Home …and, previously, here: The French Laundry at Home …and share the love.

TheBrad ♥ TheCarol.  HB, Kiddo.


^ another day at the office; and our "Twilight" promo snap… (Guess the venue…)