I had a chance to check out chef John Tesar’s latest concept The Commissary today. As I approached the One Arts Plaza building in the former space of Dali Wine Bar that is steps to the west of Tei An, I could see the always-animated Tesar through the window as he was putting the final touches on the room with his new crew.
Tesar is always warmly polite and gave me a shout of recognition as he completed his task. I wandered aimlessly throughout the space, checking out the interesting art pieces mounted on the walls and watching workmen putting final coats of paint around the patio and assembling Adirondack chairs.
The new ovens were up full blast, baking in a sear that seasons the equipment. In the back prep area a fresh case of pork belly had just been delivered and awaited its turn in refrigeration. There was a lot of that pork belly.
Walking back to the front of the house the chef was negotiating with a local purveyor on a delivery of pigs feet, stressing that he was just days away from opening.
This is a familiar scene of a new restaurant walking through the paces of an opening. Tesar looked a bit sleepy and he admitted that he has pretty much been living in the One Arts space in preparation.
He poured me some Pinot Noir into its proper glass from the tap we have all been hearing about. A few craft beers and a few wine selections on tap, the rest from their bottles. Commissary will also offer bottles of wine to-go and Tesar demonstrated his new fangled blow up wine container that would keep the bottle cool and protect it in transit. He explained that the contraption is “green” with respects to its reusability.
There will be a few select cocktails contrived from wine, and a house-made sangria compliments of master cocktail creator Michael Martensen of Cedars Social. If you want the hard stuff you will need to trek next door to Tei An or one of the other One Arts eateries.
Tesar shared a copy of the menu with me, and it looked fairly simple. He will feature a burger bar with the plain and simple as low as five bucks, after that the skies the limit with ingredients — remember that pork belly?
Tesar intentionally kept the prices low; sure you can find a hangar steak for $18 and diver scallops for $22, but there are no surprises. Drop in and enjoy a punchbowl of that sangria to share with friends on the patio while crunching through an assortment of nuts that will be sold by weight, or belly up to what promises to be a fantastic plate of sweet breads.
The chef wants you to stop by often, and he will even reward you by paying half your valet tab. If you come often enough you park free. There has been an obvious attention to detail at The Commissary.
I am excited and also look forward to Tesar’s restaurant-within-a-restaurant scheme he dubs The Table. The prix fixe chef’s tasting menu where you buy your seat for the entire evening and a new menu rolls out constantly. The cheese and dessert carts are being revived as well. This will prove to be Tesar’s creative release and I hope to be seated in the room with the separate entrance often.
The Commissary opens to the public Wednesday April 20 for dinner. Lunch and delivery service will begin at a later date. There will be an industry party at the restaurant Monday evening starting at 7PM.