[Dallas] Restaurant Week Reviews
A lot of the Restaurants have started early this year would love to hear your reviews. We have had good and bad experiences with this so haven't made reservations yet. We are thinking about trying Fuse and Sullivans . Any early reviews would be great.
Last night we made very last minute reservations at Lavendou, as I've been wanting to try their lavender creme brulee since I read their RW menu.
The fiance and I both started with the seafood crepe, which was exactly as rich as you'd expect it to be at a seafood restaurant. It was completely too rich to be a 1st course, but I loved it. Then we had the mahi mahi with cucumber relish. It was tasty, and the relish made it feel like a light dish, which was welcome after the heavy crepe. And finally - for dessert I had the much anticipated lavender creme broulee and my fiance had the raspberry souffle. His was perfectly light and airy, but since I am not a huge raspberry fan, my focus was on my creme broulee. My main fear was that the lavender taste would be too faint to be noticed, but no - this is one of the best desserts I've tasted. I very nearly licked the plate and though so full I felt I might burst, I would have eaten a second serving of it had I been given the choice. Absolutely perfect.
The service was great and we didn't feel we were treated any different than the other patrons. I'd recommend Lavendou for RW very highly.
My friend and I ate at Craft last night for RW. It was delicious, and a fantastic bargain at $35 - in part, because we got a ton of food. Serving the sides family-style meant that there was substantially more food than if the sides were pre-portioned on our plates. Also, the dishes were simple but very well executed - I could find very few flaws in the preparation. Here's what we had:
fresh greens (ie, lettuce) with sherry vinaigrette and goat cheese
heirloom tomato salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
salmon rillette with black pepper crackers
entrees were skate wing with roasted lemon - "roasted lemon" turned out to be a sweet lemon sauce, streaked judiciously on the plate. This dish was beautifully prepared - the skate was moist inside, and crisp along the edges. In addition to the sauce, it came with a few slices of sweet radish pickle that complemented the skate nicely. Very nice, although skate is not terribly flavorful. I think our other entree was better - scallops with mushroom jus. The scallops had a beautiful seared crust on the outside and were just this side of raw inside. Mushroom jus was understated, but tasty. These came with the following sides (all delicious):
roasted baby vegetables (carrots, turnips, zucchini, broccolini, cippoline onions and asparagus and Jerusalem artichokes)
roasted mushrooms (shiitake, oyster, porcini, maybe others?)
round 3: the Central Market 4th course
crab risotto – this was the least impressive dish. If you’re limited in coupons, you might want to save them for another restaurant. The flavor of tarragon (not my favorite herb) was a bit overwhelming, and the flavor of crab was almost undetectable. Generous portion, though.
round 4: dessert
Berry shortcake (blue, rasp, black, goose and currants)
Ice cream: one scoop of malt, and one scoop of strawberry & cream
Cookies: chocolate/peanut butter sandwich (great with the malt ice cream), chocolate hazelnut biscotti, white chocolate macadamia nut, brownies
round 5: caramel-coated popcorn with cashews.
It was a lot of food, and almost all delicious. I thought a couple of things may have been too heavily salted for some people… but I liked it. The service was also top-notch – they were clearly running around like crazy, but there were no mistakes.
Just wanted to add that I went to Craft last night and had a tremendous meal. The food was good, though the fourth course and the dessert was different from what gavlist had the night before. The service was excellent. We were there for almost two hours and had some really great food and an excellent bottle of wine. I've been wanting to try Craft for ages and I will most certainly be back.
There were 6 of us at Craft Monday night. Two in our party ordered the scallops and when the entrees were served there was a plate with 4 scallops ( two per person). My husband was one of the ones who ordered the scallops so I got to taste them. They were delicious, but 2 scallops seemed a little dinky for an entree portion. I had the braised short rib and it was also delicious. I was the only one who ordered that so there wasn't any question about how many servings were in that dish. Two in our party had the hanger steak andt they said that it was good but not great. The 6th person had the scate.
As mentioned above, everything was served family style and we felt that the portions for 6 were not as generous as we expected. The portions they delivered to our table would have been more adequate for 4. One of the people in our party asked for more vegetables and our server was very nice and brought more.
When we were ordering our server said that we should only give them 2 coupons since the portion of the crab risotto was large enough and that we should save our coupons for other restaurants. We gave him 3 coupons. The serving probably was the same size as if we had given him 2 coupons.
The service was great and we were there about 2-21/2 hours and were not rushed.
With all of the dishes we were served we were all pretty full- although we had room for the delicious caramel corn delivered at the end of our meal !
We went to Craft tonight and Abacus last night.
I thought the mushrooms at Craft were very good. The scallops and roasted veggies were good, too. My companion enjoyed the hunger steak (though I think he should've ordered the short rib.)
We weren't impressed with salmon rillette at all. The appetizers were better at Abacus--they had a great crab cake with smoked bacon and their scallop was good, too. The bread was also better at Abacus.
The main dishes, dessert and service were better at Craft and overall, we would go back to Craft, but not to Abacus.
I'm posting my reviews on the Dallas Eats blog.. there are other too--both under the Preview Week blog entry and the more recent entry re: reviews.
We did Bijoux last night and were thouroughly impressed.
Firstly, an amuse bouche of cucumber, goat cheese and watermelon. sweet, salty, and savory at the same time. Perfect beginning to the meal.
A young lady came around and offered different types of bread and fresh churned butter.
My date and I chose different appetizers. He doesn't eat much meat beyond fish, so he chose the melon carpaciio....throughout our meal he kept commenting on how great it was. For myself, I chose the crispy pork belly. It was the size of a golf ball, sitting utop cooked carrots and baby bok choy in a sweet/spicey asian style sauce. The meat was tender, perfectly cooked. The sauce gave the dish an extra kick. It melted in your mouth.
We both chose to add the smoked prawns for a $9 upcharge (if you didn't have the central market certificate). 4 medium sized prawns sitting on top of heirloom tomatoes and pickled onion with a small amount of chorizo. I usually HATE raw tomato, but this, I ate. They were so sweet, complimented the spicy-hot chorizo and prawns wonderfully. We both enjoyed this dish immenselty.
Main courses arrived almost immediately after the appetizer plates were cleared. He chose the truffled risotto. I have had an almost impossible time finding a place that cooks risotto correctly....Bijoux does. A generous amount of risotto with an even more generous amount of black truffle shavings on top. I had to steal a spoonfull and was NOT disappointed. I chose the New York Strip..cooked to medium with a generous helping of potato , carrots and pearl onion.The steak was drizzled with a wonderful sauce...I enjoyed it VERY much.
After the dinner plates were cleared (and another round of bread was offered) we each received a small scoop of house made sorbet. Peach for me and blueberry for him. Perfect palate cleanser.
For dessert we both chose the chocolate mousse. In some other reviews, most people have been sorely disappointed by the dessert's they received. Not here. a large square of mousse on a dallop of passion fruit sauce, covered in gold shavings alongside vanilla bean icecream. I was trying to bribe one of the waitstaff to smuggle some out the door and deliver it to my house, it was that good. We paired it with a port wine...balanced the chocolate out exceptionally well.
You would think the meal would be over, but nooo. Along came a plate of bite sized deserts. Strawberry gelee, tirimisu, blueberry muffin, chocolate truffle, shortbread....tiny bites almost too small to share (and we didn't want to share!)
Service was extraordinary. Not once were we made to feel like "discount diners". We appreciated Scott Gottlich checking to see if all was well with our meal, as well. It was a very personal type service, you felt like a special customer, even if you were in a room full of people all getting the same treatment. We will definitely go back.
I agree with FoodieDiva as I ate almost the same menu last night, but my one dissapointment was the timing. We arrived at 8:30 and were not out of there until 11. I think they were completely overbooked and couldn't handle the number of people. We sometimes had to wait 20 minutes between courses. I was fine with this because I was with friends, but as it near 11 I was getting a tired. And the bread lady came by one.
So, I'm not totally in agreement with extraordinary service, but the food was good.
Fromy my understanding, Bijoux reached a RECORD number of diners last night...We were seated around 8pm and were done within an hour and a half or so, but I know as we dined there were several large tables (5+ people) sat around the same time, that probably slowed the kitchen down....
Well, and yesterday morning my head kept thinking something was wrong about that dinner and then it hit me, why did we have the palate cleanser between dinner and dessert and why was the sorbet blueberry. I questioned friends of mine and we all agreed that was funny. It was tasty, but yet very funny timing and flavor for the sorbet.
Anyway, went to Salum last night and it blew Bijoux out of the water. The food was fantastic. I had a serrano capprese salad to start. I wanted something delicious that looked healthy. We will just not pay attention to all the cheese. The home-made pesto was excellent.
My next course was the ahi tuna. A nice big chunk of tuna was served, as rare as possible per my request. Very nice combination of flavors on the plate.
Dessert, I at first was a bit put out by. You couldn't pick. They just said you were getting a dessert trio, then it arrived. It was three full servings of bread pudding, creme brulle and a chocolate caramel confection (have to admit I didn't pay attention to that because my two favorite desserts are bread pudding and creme brulle). It was soooo good. I waddled out of there as happy as I could possibly be.
I keep forgetting about Salum. I'm glad we went last night. I need to put them back on my list!
I agree, I went to Lanny's on Wednesday night, the dinner and wine pairings were absolutely wonderful. Our service was good except that my water never got refilled...a pet peeve...the food was amazing although I would have liked one more entree choice as duck is not a favorite. The poblano risotto was delicious however!
We had a great meal last night at Fearings. It is in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and interestingly, if you are eating at Fearings the valet parking is free. The lobby of the hotel is beautiful and although it is an upscale hotel, it is elegant but not stuffy. There was a server in the lobby serving Guacamole on corn chips. It was some of the best Guacamole I had ever had so I knew that we were in for a delicious meal that night.
When we were seated at our table there was a personalized birthday card signed by Dean Fearing on our table. The wait staff were all extremely friendly and welcoming even though we were there for Restaurant Week instead of for ordering off of the regular menu. The Restaurant Week Menu choices were:
Dean's Tortilla Soup with South of the Border Flavors or
Caesar Salad with Smoky Red Chili Dressing, Grilled Radicchio, Baby Romaine, San Pedro Cheese.
Choice of :
Mesquite Grilled Wild Salmon Glazed with Apricot Barbecue Sauce, Black=Eyed Peas and Living Watercress Salad
Chili Braised Short Ribs with Queso Fresco Whipped Potatoes and Crispy Tobacco Onions
Ancho/Orange Brined Pork Tenderloin on Smoky Poblano Puree and Heirloom Tomato/Avocado Relish
Dark Chocolate Cake with White Chocolate Mousse
RW wine choices were Anabella Chardonnay or Nugan Cabernet Sauvignon or you could order Sapphire Sangria made with Blueberry-Infused Bombay Sapphire, Disaronno Amaretto, Spanish Rioja.The Restaurant Week menu offered the wine and Sangria for $7.00 per glass or $26.00 for the bottle (or pitcher of Sangria). We had the Cabernet and it was very nice.
We had the Tortilla Soup and the presentation was really nice. First the servers brought us large bowls and in the bowls were diced smoked chicken breast, cheese, diced avocado and shredded cheese. Then another server came with a pitcher of broth and poured the broth into the bowl The soup was very tasty. There was a little bit of a bite to it, but not overly spicy.
We both had the Braised Short Ribs and they were very tasty (I liked the Short Rib at Craft better, but my husband liked the Short Rib at Fearings better). Everything was delicious.
Before the dessert came they brought me a piece of wonderful Chocolate Cake with a Dark Chocolate Mousse and decorated with little chocolate covered balls which were like chocolate covered rice crispy balls. There was a candle on it. We were told that they call it their Birthday Cake and it is only served to people with Birthdays. If we go back, not matter what time of year, it will be my Birthday :-) . Then they brought the regular dessert and it was delicious, too.
During dinner Dean Fearing came to our table to wish me a Happy Birthday and he talked with us for a few minutes.
The service was great, the dining room we were in (The Gallery) was beautiful and the food delicious. We definitely plan to go back.
All in all it was a great Birthday meal.
Hmmm... We went to Lanny's last night (8/19) and were somewhat disappointed. We hadn't been before and had hoped to see more of the usual types of menu options. Just seems like everything was more mundane, without a real Mexican twist. We chose the optional 4th course which was sea scallops wrapped in chorizo with israeli cous-cous. They were perfect. The options for appetizer were a corn soup (which was delicious) or an ahi salad. Mains were rack of lamb (the only remotely mexican hint was the cheese in the potato mash) and halibut (had a spicy sauce with homemade noodles that were almost asian in texture). Desserts were the most disappointing. The chocolate "pound cake" had the texture and look of an airy cupcake. The sauce on top was good, as was the peanut butter ice cream along side. The creme brulee was boring and needed to be warmed - kind of a strange, "how long has this been sitting out" kind of temperature. We may try Lanny's at another time to check out the regular menu, but the Restaurant Week version was lacking...
Had a lackluster meal at Abacus Saturday night. I can attribute the sloppy kitchen errors and the bare-bones service to Restaurant Week exhaustion and overload, but choice of certain ingredients (smaller scallops) and no-choice, unimpressive dessert sampler (which probably oohs and ahhs the inexperienced diner with “variety”) seem to indicate that Abacus is tailoring its Restaurant Week menu to patrons that they don’t anticipate will return during regular times.
My starter was the seared diver scallop with Meyer lemon risotto and white asparagus in shellfish butter sauce. For the sake that it was Restaurant Week, I won’t dwell on the fact that this was one of the smallest scallops I’ve seen in a fine dining restaurant in… well, ever. Portion size issues aside, the scallop was almost burnt to a crisp on top. Once you start working that addictively rich shellfish butter sauce with the food, though, you could almost forget the unfortunate texture of the scallop. Risotto was perfectly creamy with the occasional crunch of the white asparagus.
My companion had the buffalo-shiitake potstickers. When they came out, the delicate skins on half of the potstickers were broken (on the bottom). Additionally, the skin was limp and slimy, and thus had a greasy-like mouthfeel. A generous streak of too-sweet plum sauce topped the potstickers and overwhelmed the flavor of the filling. When you scrape off the plum sauce topping, the flavor of the buffalo and shiitake combination comes through as smokey but balanced.
Pan seared cod with parsnip puree and artichoke in a tomato butter sauce was a winning combination in terms of flavor combination, though the fish fillet was barely holding it together by the time it arrived at the table.
Braise beef short rib was a small, but deliciously tender and moist, serving. Port wine sauce that topped the short rib and mushrooms was a little light on port flavor but unified the dish nicely.
Dessert sampler was not memorable at all.
Link to full review with photos: http://donnacooks.wordpress.com/2008/...
We ate at Bijoux and were underwhelmed. The food was ok but not great. We thought that the wine pairing option at $35.00 was expensive for a Restaurant Week Menu. Maybe we were spoiled by Fearings where they offered reasonable wine choices ($7.00 per glass or 27.00 per bottle of wine or pitcher of Sangria) for RW to encourage more people to add the wine. We ended up ordering a glass of wine each.
We all enjoyed amuse bouche of cucumber, goat cheese and watermelon.
Three in our party had the pork belly appetizer and I had the corn coconut chowder. The three who had the pork belly thought that it was fatty and tasteless. We had tried pork belly at a restaurant in Portland a while back and it was delicious there and the pork belly at Bijoux didn't compare.
We had the 4th course coupons and had given them to our waiter when we ordered. Instead of bringing out our shrimp 4th course they brought our entrees next. When we asked where our shrimp dish was they said it was coming after the entrees. It was obvious that they had forgotten to bring them and were trying for a "save". We weren't happy campers.
Three of us ordered the Risotto and the fourth person in our party ordered the steak. I thought that the Risotto was very tasty, although we all thought that the cheese on top should have been added at the table. The steak was OK (we all got a taste), but not great. We all thought it tasted like super market grade beef.
After our entrees they brought our smoked shrimp dish. The dish was as described in the post above, but we only had 3 half shrimp in our servings. It was very tasty, though.
After the shrimp dish we were served a small serving of green apple sorbet. Three at our table thought it was delicious. Green apple isn't my favorite, so I didn't enjoy it as much.
Three of us ordered the chocolate mousse and it was very good. My husband ordered the blue cheese dessert and it was a little strange. We thought that because it was a dessert it should have come with fruit instead of carrot mousse. Also, there was no cracker or bread served with the Blue Cheese. We were never asked if we wanted coffee with dessert.
Went to Central 214 on Sat of RW. Food/Service was excellent as usual, however, the chairs had changed since the opening (at least from what remember) and it was the most uncomfortable I had been in a long time. Until they get new chairs i am not going back.
So far we have eaten at Salum and Al Biernat's. Salum was fantastic, the service was outstanding. We were in a group of six and not one of us had a bad meal. Really you cannot go wrong with any of their main course options, and dessert is a sampler platter that is outstanding.
Al Biernat's was more disappointing, the menu was a bit boring, and although the waiters were fabulous...the food was blah.
Consequently, I am glad the person above had a great time at Lavendou. My fiance and I recently went for the first time, and our waiter was horrendous. Seriously, it wasn't even restaurant week, and it was clear he hated his job and us. He took our order, and then we flagged him down once for drinks, which seemed to really annoy him. We will go back because the food was great, but by no means will we ever have him as a waiter again.