Spoon Bar and Kitchen will more than likely be open for business this weekend, but that could change depending on the mood of chef-owner, John Tesar. For the sake of brevity, I am sure most in the city are familiar with Tesar, but if not you may catch him tonight as the 10th season of Top Chef premiers. Although the chef can’t, and won’t give up any juicy details of his exploits on the program, you may rest assured he charges out with his guns blazing.
Last night I was an invited guest of Tesar at the soft opening for Spoon, Tesar’s love child of a restaurant that he has been working on for the past year. Guests were not offered selections from the regular menu, but rather from his tasting menu, which will change often to keep up with seasons and availability of ingredients. The tasting menu will be offered each day on the menu.
The restaurant itself is cool and inviting with a few nods to his theme of the spoon, some which Tesar has gathered from friends and restaurant industry folks. There was a marrow spoon from Tom Spicer and a whisk-looking spoon device from chocolatier Zach Townsend. I called Zach to see what his donated spoon was all about and he explained that it belonged to his great aunt who used the spoon to make meringues. The dear woman did not own or need an electric mixer.
The restaurant is not large; just over 50 seats are available with what looks to be no hope for a patio in the future. This gives a cozy feel that is quiet and relaxing, and a reserved atmosphere created by the chef himself. As you walk through the large glass doorway you pass through a dining friendly bar and notice a cheese cart that was not in operation last night, but was loaded for display of curds to come.
The dinner menu spells out what this restaurant is all about, and that is seafood. Tesar is a master of the sea and he has assembled some bright, interesting dishes that should not only tantalize but also educate the palates of Dallas. Having known Tesar for some time, educating his guests is part of his enjoyment as a chef.
Look for both East and West coast oysters on the menu. We are seeing more West coast oysters appear on the menu as restaurants begin to understand the laws, and this is a very good thing. Also look for Osetra caviar on the menu at all times, as well as a selection of crudo including geoduck which can be difficult to find in Dallas.
The menu glides through a series of incredible firsts like the Big Eye Tuna and Foie Gras, Tesar’s nod to Eric Ripert, a beautiful grilled octopus and seriously delicious Uni Terrine topped with more of the Osetra caviar.
The main courses are equally as entertaining. I spotted fresh Mayan Prawns and Pork Belly, something Tesar played with when he opened Cedars Social in Dallas. You will also find a list of simple fish dishes which are not too fantastical by design, but more than likely will give pause to his guests.
For the beef baron in your group, they may enjoy a massive 40-ounce porterhouse steak that is served with what Tesar said will be his house potato, pommes soufflé.
I had a foreshadowing of the crisped soufflé at the chef’s charitable event, Burgers and Burgundy, where he served the crispy potato in a back yard settting. The narrow and thinly sliced potato is immersed into three baths at the fryer to achieve a perfect puff that is delightful to witness and to taste. This is a classic hot item made famous by Arnuad’s in New Orleans.
My prognostication for Spoon is that it will be in the winning category for the mass influx of restaurants opening in 2012. Watch for more information to come regarding Spoon very soon.Spoon Bar and Kitchen 8220 Westchester Drive, Dallas (855) 947-7666