Obviously, I was looking forward to the opening of Chef John Tesar's Spoon Bar & Kitchen in Preston Center for some time.
Everyone knows John and I are buddies – (I have no financial interest in the
restaurant, however I have consulted on certain design elements).
Regardless, it is my opinion that Spoon is excellent and is another
important chapter in the renaissance of the Dallas dining scene.
As the critics chime in (Dallas Observer, Modern Luxury, Dallas Morning News) the consensus has been extremely positive – I concur …and I get around. This place is good.
But critics are not always able to experience a restaurant with the depth afforded a devoted, food obsessed patron.
With that in mind, I'll do what I do best – here are a bunch of
pictures from some of the many meals I've enjoyed at Spoon, along with my trademark sentence fragments:
Spoon already has a crowd of devoted regulars and still sees its share
of curious customers looking for a glimpse of the deftly crafted
character Tesar has created and Top Chef promoted – "The Most Hated Chef
^L: Oyster and Truffle Stew
^L: Lobster Pot Pie
^ Remarkable Smoked Sturgeon Head Cheese.
Sommelier Sabrina Snodderley's wine program features interesting and nicely priced
selections that match wonderfully with the food. John and Sabrina
continue to add depth to the White Burgundy program – music to my ears.
Tesar's passion and pedigree are reflected in the constantly evolving
menu of exceptional seafood dishes as well as other "Not Fish"
selections (not pictured, lol.)
The recent addition of David Collier as pastry chef completes the meal in an artful manner – creative, whimsical and delicious:
To be sure, Tesar has his fair share of haters, and now – many more devotees. He is without question an outstanding seafood chef.
Spoon is easily one of the most important and exceptional new
Dallas restaurants to open in some time. The city's diners, critics, and even bloggers need to support and
encourage more of this passionate risk-taking and attention to detail –
less. …and the place also has a cool logo.
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.