The Mansion

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… 

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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.

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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.

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!

Spanish wines, clever cuisine @ the Mansion… Ole!

You know, wine dinners can really be a blast. I attend far too few, I have determined. One that I did make it to recently was the Ole wine dinner at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek


Patrick Mata of Ole Imports offered 7 wines – inspiring an ingredient driven menu highlighting traditional Spanish flavors prepared in the Mansion's contemporary American style. 

The Chef: Eric Brandt, Mansion Executive Sous Chef. Eric has been in the Mansion kitchen for 4 years or so, having worked with both Dean and Tesar… he has a unique perspective. And he prepared a delightful meal.

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^ Canapes in the salon: Macona Almonds and Jamón in gelatinized Quince; Baby Octopus, Garlic Aioli.


^ Tortilla Espangole "luxed up with Caviar"; and the Naveran Dama Chardonnay Cava 2005

A great part of the fun of a wine dinner is meeting others with similar passions. As unsociable as I perceive myself to be… after a "couple" – you'd never know. Off to the Chef's Room:

(I have to now disclaim that some of the following food pics are not up to the standard to which I strive – as the elegant lighting of the room and my abhorrence of flash photography conspire to frustrate.)

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^ Two views of the Warm East Coast Oysters with Spinach-White Anchovy Pesto – paired with Bodegas Berroia Chacoli. This was a stunning match.

We consumed the next course before I could get a decent snap: Pan-roasted Arctic Char, Fennel Purée and Blood
Orange – w/ Bodegas
Ladera Sagrada Godello “Papa” 2007

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Stuffed Quail, bitter
Greens, dried Cherries and Almonds: this was really delicious. The stuffing echoed the fruit of the Vinos Sin-Ley Rose
“Gordo” 2007,
while the smoke on the quail countered the sweetness.  (See what cool stuff you pick up at these things?!)

The next wines were Hornillos
“Perfil de Mibal” 2004
 Mather Teresina 2003/4
. This was a fun course:

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ShortRib_03 Both wines had strong anise and leather flavors to them, so Chef Brandt served a Beef Short Rib with a sauce fragrant of fennel seeds, star anise and coriander; along with smoked paprika and bitter chocolate for depth and complexity. This was a gorgeous pairing – each wine matched perfectly, but with distinct nuance. Cool.

We followed with a cheese course of Monte Enebro, Roncal and Valdeon. Then Vinos Piñol Mistela Old Vine with dessert.

So… yeah – we had some great food and I learned about some really fine, extremely fairly priced wines. Excellent.


But, the real joy was sitting around after dinner and just talking about our shared passion to learn and experience.

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^ Mansion Sommelier Scott Barber; Exec. Sous Chef Eric Brandt.

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^ Patrick Mata of Ole Imports. (The wines are available locally at Central Market.)

It was a pleasure to enjoy such a wonderful evening again in the Mansion's Chef's Room. Like-minded fans of this one-of-a-kind Dallas venue would be wise to enjoy a meal by Chef Brandt, and I believe if you'd like something a little unique, he'd be happy to hook you up. 

Hello Dali, Goodbye Johnny!


We had a cool little send-off get together for John Tesar last night at Dali Wine Bar & Cellar – a few current and some former Mansion peeps, friends, food-whores… John is already running the kitchen of the HOT SPOT Fishtail by David Burke in Manhattan.


^ Mansion Wine and Beverage Director Michael Flynn, Chef John Tesar, Mansion Sommelier Scott Barber.

Dali is one of my favorite places. I have a jillion pics from my many visits, but had yet to write something up – but this is as good a time as any. 


Proprietor Paul Pinnel (above) knows of my recently acquired passion for White Burgundy – so there's always trouble when I drop by. While the other revelers enjoyed their selections, my clique and I staked a claim down the bar a piece – and decadence ensued:





My guest (the mischievous laptoppetite herself) claims now to be ruined – after imbibing such luxury. "Well, ya gotta start somewhere," I advised.


^B-Rad, JLowe, JT; and Teiichi Sakurai of Tei-An, also located at One Arts Plaza..

We had a great time – then, of course, other shenanigans transpired. 

If Paul will let me back in Dali any-time soon, I'll get with Chef Joel Harloff and feature some of his delicious food. A preview (these from NYE):



While Nancy Nichols tromps around Belgium, she asked me and a couple other Dallas food bloggers to pitch in and post some stuff on the D Magazine SideDish blog.  I was tryin' not to slack, so I posted this item: The Tesar Interview.


Three Musketeers: JT, B-Rad, Teach @ Nobu for Eguchi's omakase.

(BTW: this is not the meal I posted here, you'll see THIS meal featured as part of a multi-chapter exploration of Omakase…)

TheBrad talks to Tesar.


Johnny Can Cook. And not just sublime food, but a bit of drama as well. I heard some choice tidbits here and there yesterday, and I imagine some deets will be oozing out soon enough. But I needed some scoop.

I just spoke to my pal, Chef John Tesar as he awaits a flight back to Dallas from Naples, Florida, where he is participating in a charity event. Off-the-record, I got his take on the situation and how it unfolded so dramatically on Friday resulting in Rosewood's press release announcing that Tesar had left The Mansion to pursue other projects. Piecing it all together, I have a pretty good idea of what went down. I'd describe it (to my readers' frustration) as Irreconcilable Differences.

Here is what I can say: John's preference is to stay right here in Dallas and focus on a solo project. Things are already in motion, with some options to consider. I love the idea – a young, vibrant, chef-driven joint. A great bar, and "all about the food, baby." 

At 2 AM on a spring morning last year, Tesar and I sat at the bar at Blue Ribbon Brasserie in Manhattan, eating fresh-shucked oysters and bone-marrow on brioche with oxtail marmalade. "Brad, THIS is what it's all about." 

Tru-dat Johnny.  More to come.

(to tide you over: some more from my night in the kitchen at The Mansion)








Hangin’ in The Mansion Kitchen. (Extended Sneak Peek)

Finally, our schedules got in sync and I was able to join Chef John Tesar in the kitchen and document a full evening of service. Of particular interest was the preparation of the dishes served at the Chef's Table.


I will be putting together a comprehensive feature, culling through the 500 pics and providing some enticing detail on the dishes. Here is a sneak:




Some more pics to whet your appetite while we continue to compile the full story:




And below, some out-takes: the spoils… I got to sample many of the dishes, right there in the kitchen. Foodie crack, to be sure!


Stay tuned!