Fine Dining

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.

Above the Fray: Chef John Tesar’s Food


While I wait to be able to tell you what I know (and why I am excited) about what Tesar has up his sleeve – I thought I would remind everyone about a certain detail lost in the vitriol backing up the local blogosphere: Tesar can cook. Here is some of the food I enjoyed during his previous stint in Dallas:

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Here's hoping we will have this stuff locally again, soon.

Sampling Bruno Davaillon’s Tasting Menu – The Mansion, Dallas

I met my friend LK at The Mansion bar the other night. She was in the mood to celebrate and I owed her dinner – so off we went to enjoy Chef Bruno Davallion’s current Tasting Menu in the Library at The Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek. The dim, golden light of the room is gorgeous – but a challenge for my ‘in-the-moment’ snaps – I provide these photos to pique your interest and whet your appetite. I will soon cover the prep of a tasting menu from the kitchen – as I am like to do.

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^ The menu; and the amuse-bouche – a Shrimp & Cashew Skewer with Tamarind Sauce.

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^ We love this dish: Dungeness Crab Salad, Tomato-Jalapeño Gelee, Bloody Mary Sorbet.

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They kindly accommodated our request to mix up the menu a bit.

^L – Potato Gnocchi, Artichoke Ragout, Pancetta and Basil. 

^R – Crispy Pork Belly, Caramelized Cabbage, Daikon Radish, Black Truffles.

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^L – Nantucket Bay Scallops, Clam Chowder Sauce, Brandade Ravioli, Potato Chips.

^R – Roasted Wild Striped Bass, Littleneck Clams, Baby Bok Choy, Smoked Tomato Sauce.

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^L – Colorado Rack of Lamb, Crispy Lamb Shoulder, White Grits Gratin and Braised Texas Kale. The Lamb shoulder was in, like, a little taquito – great dish.

^R – Spiced Duck Breast, Chile-glazed Daikon, Roasted Baby Deets and Turnips.

Then came the Eggnog Martini Foam… that went quick – no pics. Then dessert:

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^L – Bruno’s Black Forest Tart, Kirsch Cream and Cherry Ice Cream.

^R – David Collier’s “Our Cheescake.”

Bruno – also an accomplished pastry chef – came back out to chat during dessert.  As the effects of Michael Flynn’s wonderful wine pairings took hold, I found myself telling Bruno how the firm cake of his delicious Black Forrest Tart was a formidable match for my spoon. He just kinda looked at me with a quizzical grin and encouraged: “It’s like a cookie, just get in there!” That kirsch cream is insane. 

Mansion Pastry Chef David Collier describes the tart: “Its all the elements of the classic Austrian Black Forest Cake (chocolate, cherries, kirsch and cream) but translated to tart form. The chocolate is represented with the tart dough as well and the 70% Guanaja ganache, the cherries are placed inside the ganache (we use griottines) then its topped with a kirsch crème légère (pastry cream, whipped cream, crème fraîche and kirsch). In the ice cream we find more kirsch infused cherries. Its garnished with a chocolate streusel for added texture, a chocolate disk and a bit of gold leaf.”

Next came Collier’s first major addition to the new dessert menu – The Mansion’s “Our Cheescake,” a deconstructed version of the classic. Collier: “The dessert started from Bruno suggesting we do something cheesecake themed but in a glass. I made the ice cream and berry portion and served them to him like a coupe. He changed his mind and said we could do something larger and more complex. I was happy to oblige and came up with this. I wanted something with alot of contrast that the guest could “play with”. He liked it, suggested I add citrus to the fried roll and strawberries to the compote. The roll filling is cream cheese, sugar, citrus zest and egg yolk rolled in fillo. I made the ice cream in the same way I made the brûlée 2.0 ice cream. I baked a standard vanilla cheesecake, packed it into a PacoJet container, froze it then spun it. Liquid graham recipe came from the old Chef’s Room S’mores dessert I did when Tesar was chef.” It’s fun, we dug it.

This is good stuff, kids! More to come… 

Mansion on Turtle Creek on Urbanspoon

Chef Bruno Davaillon offers Weekly Tasting Menus @ The Mansion, Dallas

We stopped by the Mansion bar for a quick glass of wine the other night, to take the edge off a dodgy week.

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^ The Amber Bell: Bell Pepper Vodka, muddled Basil; ^ a snort of the Mansion Egg Nog – frickin' deelish.

 …hmmm, "Can we see the dinner menu… ya know…" Damn, Chef Bruno Davaillon has quietly introduced a Weekly Tasting to the dining room dinner menu:  

…we caved. It was very good, and Michael Flynn's wine pairings elegantly enhanced the experience, as usual. I took the night off – no pics.

I'm all about it… visions of Mix dance in my head… Stay tuned for future special menus from Bruno.

In the Kitchen: Chef Bruno Davaillon at The Mansion

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.

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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.

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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.

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^ Shrimp Cocktail – Horseradish Panna Cotta, Spicy Tomato Syrup; ^ Maine Lobster Salad – Tomato Confit, Caviar Cream.

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^ Components of the King Crab and Butternut Squash Soup (poured at table); and the accompanying King Crab Spring Rolls.


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^ 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.

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^ Day Boat Scallops – Cauliflower Composition, Ice Wine Vinegar Emulsion; ^ Coriander and Chive Crusted Monkfish with Lobster Minestrone.

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^ 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.


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^ Duo of Prime Beef Ribeye and Brisket Short Rib – Potato Fondant and Gorgonzola Cream.

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^ Bison Tenderloin “au Poivre” – Autumn Vegetable Fricassee; ^ Roasted Veal Loin – Crispy Sweetbreads, Chanterelle Mushrooms, Fig Chutney.

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^ 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).

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^ Bruno prepping the “Special”…

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^ 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.


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Bruno’s additions to the Dessert Menu: ^ Mansion “Candy Bar” with Lemon Thai Basil Sorbet; ^ Maple & Macadamia Nut Napoleon with poached Seckel Pear.

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^ 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.

Mansion on Turtle Creek on Urbanspoon

Stay Tuned… Chef Bruno Davaillon in the house.


Had a rather lengthy and fascinating chat with the new guy after service this evening (about stuff that matters… and food as well). Rosewood got him here and he's game. Dallas, he's ready to play – don't be lame this time. Let's go!

The dude earned a Michelin star, while doing 100,000 covers a year. The tranquility of the patio at The Mansion is a world away. This could, potentially, be quite fun.

More with Chef Bruno Davaillon to come.

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!

Bruno Davaillon to MIX it up @ The Mansion, Dallas

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…

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^ The view from the nightclub wing, the terrace dining tables are at left.


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^ 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.


…but you'll be seeing plenty of Bruno's work on these pages soon enough. I wonder if, for fun, we'll see Baba ah Rhum (a Ducasse classic) on the dessert menu? Doubt it. 


Welcome, chef, and beware the snarky bastards that slink around the Dallas blogosphere!

Sharon in the House!

Well, even though the James Beard people persist in forestalling an acceptance speech by Chef Sharon Hage (FIVE nominations!)… we are all winners here, by her presence at the forefront of Dallas dining. I will be heading back to York Street very soon, but in the meantime – a look at a winter lunch I enjoyed a few months ago:

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Perusing the wonderful menu with a little White Burgundy (surprise).

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^ Soft Poached Duck Egg, with Polenta, Roast Local Chile, Corn Truffle, Queso Fresco.

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^ Lobster Salad, "Lemon-y" Avacado & Endives; THE best Hummus in town – she must put crack in it.

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^Scottish Game Ragu, with Risotto Rosso; Sautéed Monkfish Liver, Texas Sweet Lemon-Caper Brown Butter, Parsnip Puree. Ankimo is my favorite thing… and this dish frickin' slayed me.

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We wrapped it up with some Bread Pudding and Tea. Lunch at York Street is served Wednesdays only. A winner, for sure.


York Street on Urbanspoon