Comforting Dishes at Five Sixty

by Steven Doyle

There are certain restaurants where we can get into a good groove and visit in a regular rotation. For me this includes a heavy amount of ethnic dishes, and many of these are in Richardson and might be considered dives. Then there are these incredible dishes that are fantastic but are forgotten for whatever reason. 

I certainly enjoy a great bowl of pho and a banh mi at La Me on the border of Garland and Dallas on Walnut Street located in the same shopping center as Hong Kong Market. Whereas I leave the battle of the best pho to others, this bowl settles very well with me.  Add a side of the very inexpensive banh mi sandwich that is plied with grilled pork, slathered with pate and dressed with plenty of vegetation including fresh sliced jalapenos and I am more than satisfied. I find myself eating this combo several times a month religiously.

Kings Noodles in Richardson

Kings Noodles isn’t too far away in the Asian Richardson corridor and has several dishes that I crave including the beef soup that is bountiful in freshly made noodles and large chunks of tender stew meat. Their Za Jiang Mein is also a monthly edible that consists of ground pork, plenty of Spring onions and loads of garlic. All can be had for a five spot making these crave worthy dishes.

On the other spectrum there are dishes in Dallas that I enjoy and often think about when friends and acquaintances ask me for dinner suggestions and Wolfgang Puck’s Five Sixty at Reunion comes up more often than not. Besides a grand selection of sushi there are a few dishes that I cannot stray from when I visit the restaurant.

Five Sixty General Tso Quail

I had an occasion to slip in for a visit last week and was impressed to see the new bar menu in action that included dim sum items and sushi that was paired with three generous samples of sake or your choice of sparkling wine for 25 bucks. The shrimp and scallop shu mai are pretty grand as are the tiny pork belly dumplings offered on the menu. The great part of this special is that the offerings are not limited to happy hour, but through the evening each night they are open for a more casual evening with friends.

I was a bit apprehensive with some of my go-to items that will always include the lacquered duck or the crispy quail served General Tso style. For most food savvy people the mere mention of Tso will make you run like hell with visions of overly sweet and tacky sauces, but my food memory reminds me that this is special. The only concern really was the new chef. I had not tried this dish since the departure of chef Sara Johannes.

Enter chef Pat Robertson. Classically trained at the London Cordon Bleu, worked with Puck at Spago in Vegas and eventually opened his own restaurant in Marble Falls, Texas. The chef was invited back to the Puck fold when Five Sixty opened as executive sous under Johannes.

As my evening progressed it was extremely apparent that Five Sixty had aged well and was even more blissfully obvious that chef Robertson was her great care-taker.

Dim Sum Assortment at Five Sixty

Dishes I wished to order as I saw them fly by was the Wok Fried Whole Sea Bass or the Grilled Mongolian Lamb Chops. I always get order remorse. But then again I had the Tso dish and it was ever-so-crisp battered in rice flour and glazed perfectly in a not-too-sweet chili sauce. For me that dish is the litmus test for the restaurant.

Meaty, crisp and not too sweet.

Five Sixty is doing the great cocktail thing that seems to be flying through the city at break-kneck speeds, and that is a good thing. Their sake choices are nice, but I really appreciate the Hendricks and house-made tonic they serve. Simple, and really when it comes down to it that’s what I enjoy the most. Always serve slices of cucumber when pouring Hendricks gin, as the temperatures rise this summer you will want to sip these poolside.

For this go-to place with the awesome view that always reminds me of the Larry Sanders Show (Hank’s Look-A-Round Café — hey now) I am always pleased with my comfort dishes where ever I may find them.


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Filed under chefs, Crave, Downtown, fun with food, Steven Doyle

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