Several months ago craveDFW revealed that Kelly Hightower was leaving Nova in Oak Cliff and that was partially true. Hightower still has a stake in the Kessler X+ restaurant. Also, today we spoke to the newly appointed executive chef, Ian Tate formerly of Brownstone in Fort Worth and Kent Rathbun’s Blue Plate in North Dallas.
Tate stated that he was planning on getting to know the area residents and clientele a bit before making any changes to the menu, but offered that it works pretty well as it stands. He showed admiration for Hightower’s menu and said the pizzas worked especially well.
“We really will go out of our way not to alienate the regulars but I have been introducing some of my cuisine as specials. We did one special that was crab claws with chorizo and a crab broth that worked very well and was a take on mussels,” said the new executive chef.
He continued to speak about his philosophies in cooking and added that he wanted to always use seafood and other products from the closest source. For seafood that would be the Gulf. We also took the impression that Tate’s cooking style was Southern influenced or Low Country. He had spent time in new Orleans cheffing, so that would make great sense.
“I am fortunate to work with owners that will give the leeway and the trust I need to make this work. That said, they are also very honest. If they taste something that doesn’t work they will be quick to let me know,” added Tate.
During the hiring process Tate and a small handful of other applicants were subjected to tasting’s for the owners. We asked Tate to share with us some winning dishes but he wasn’t so sure it was one particular dish that won their hearts (and stomachs). He thought it was more his respect for what Nova is already doing. This is a fact that owner Darren Scott shared with me during a very recent conversation. He thought Tate exemplified the course Nova had been taking during the first year for the concept.
We particularly enjoyed Tate’s playfulness with his cooking. Case in point a frog leg dish that he hit with a blue cheese sauce that is a take on hot wings but so much better.
Chef Tate mentioned that he wanted to do more takes on classic bar food, like reinventing the nacho. Stop in Nova soon and check out some of the great new things they will be trying out. We recommend the hummus, ramen de jour or any one of the crazy good entrees served up daily.