The temperatures are dropping and coats are finally being donned in Dallas, which can only mean one thing, Fall menus are upon us. Lucky North Texas diners are seeing new plates surface at their favorite eateries across the Metroplex. I had the pleasure of sharing a meal with colleagues Tuesday night at Driftwood near the Bishop Arts area of Oak Cliff. If you didn’t know why they created the DLink bus before, the seafood cuisine at Driftwood will leave no doubt in your mind that they are a fixture in the destination dining landscape.
With right around fifty seats, the dining room is intimate, and even on a Tuesday evening the patrons are plentiful and energetic. The outdoor space accommodates an additional twenty guests and features a fireplace as well as a second side to the main bar which is fully exposed when the accordion-style glass is folded back. While at the bar, inside or out, order a cocktail off the Fall drink menu. Behind the bar, Michael will whip up a Holy Grail with fresh cranberries and chai that will quench your liquid holiday needs. Also, look for a new bar bites menu to be available in the next week or two.
Our meal began with a pair of Summerside Oysters. In addition to the rosemary bubbles and black pepper, the satsuma gelee was a lovely compliment to the briny oyster and added a bright element to the bite. Our next dish featured sea urchin, a delicate and flavorful treat. Bosc pear and Bird’s Eye chili presented unique contrasts in texture and heat. Sea urchin’s distinct richness makes me wonder, could this be the foie of the sea?
The third course of bronze die extruded spaghetti brought the heartiness one craves alongside a light and clean seafood menu, luckily for you it can indeed be ordered as a side. The Burgundy truffle-topped pasta might be listed on the “To Share” section of sides on the menu, but this is an item I could keep all to myself. The al dente spaghetti was creamy and soothing, yet finished with a familiar bite thanks to the truffles and Telicherry pepper. Our next plate was the Sunchoke Veloute which was executed at the table. The warm veloute, poured slowly, met the chantrelles, dill, and Maine lobster at the edge of the platter. The lobster and sauce were savory, but the pickled golden chantrelles stole the show. My taste buds awoke with the bursting, bright flavor of the chantrelles. Given the bold profile of the dish, the portion was perfect and accented nicely by the dill.
Chef Omar Flores might have saved the best for last. Our final dinner entrée consisted of Nantucket bay scallops, which Flores informed us are only available for a few weeks. Lightly dressed with a parsnip brown butter and adorned with pomegranate, Brussels sprout leaves, and black trumpets, the bay scallops, while the clear lead, were backed by a strong supporting cast. As Omar put it, the Nantucket bay scallops truly were “jewels”, and I was delighted to see them perfectly seared yet tender and abounding with flavor.
Desserts are not an afterthought at Driftwood. The lemongrass pot de crème and blackberries & cornmeal are terrific final acts to the new Fall menu. Or, you can always drink your dessert. You did read the part about the cocktail with cranberries, right? Weeknight or weekend you’ll be in good hands at Driftwood. Sal Jafar, co-owner, was right, Driftwood is continuing to bring exciting seafood to Dallas. Stay updated on future events with featured chefs by visiting their website or facebook.