Restaurant Week has a special place in my heart. For many of us, this is our opportunity to experience some of the finer establishments in DFW and support great causes in both the North Texas Food Bank and Lena Pope Home. It was through Restaurant Week that I discovered Pappa Bros. Steak House and Chamberlain’s Fish Market Grill, places I had wanted to go to but did not ever get around to going to. This year, my wife and I decided to focus on places we have not been to yet but thought might be worth a visit, hence a quick drive over to Southlake to try out Trulucks.
Walking in, you are immediately greeted with dark wood and white tablecloths. On the left was the wine cellar, a clear glass room with wine stacked high, and on the center and right were the main tables for the restaurant. We were quickly seated along a window overlooking the Southlake Town Center and with a clear view of the other guests, some of whom were more cozy than I would have preferred (seriously, making out between courses is for 16 year olds, not 30 somethings!). We asked for the Restaurant Week menu with wine pairings and away we go.
The most talked about dish from the service staff was the Central Market 4th course starter, a Moroccan spiced scallop over mustard fruits and toasted hazelnut butter. It was well cooked, with a smoky tinge to the scallop that was cut by the sweetness of the fruits and the sharp bite of spice. A nice little bite to start the evening.
Next came the soup courses: a cold melon soup and the corn and crab chowder. The chilled soup was heavily influenced by green herbs to reign in the sweetness of the melons. Simple, yet elevated with the wine pairing, the Marques de Caceres Rose from Rioja. The acidity from the wine brought the creaminess of the soup into balance while providing apple and pepper flavors that helped to accentuate the dish and bring everything into balance.
With the corn and crab chowder, it was more of a contrasting style to the pairing, with the creamy, sweet and savory chowder being paired with a very crisp and acidic unoaked Chardonnay, the Morgan Metallico. The wine helped to cleanse the palate and made the next bite taste like it was the first.
For the main courses, the choices were a “carpetbagger”, a 5oz. filet with fried oysters, broccoli mash and tartar hollandaise and the blackened redfish with dirty rice, artichoke remoulade and blue crab “dynamite”. I can tell you that the steak was cooked as asked and that the sauce was a very strong flavor that almost overpowered the steak. I cannot comment on the fried oysters but my wife said they were “like butter, with a very light crust.” All I know is that I blinked and they were gone. This was paired with an uninspiring Katherine Goldschmidt “Crazy Creek Vineyard” Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine was too fruit-forward and the tannins in the wine overwhelmed the delicate filet. The course was good and a substantial portion, just not anything to go crazy about.
The blackened redfish was a better all-around course and pairing. There was a fair amount of spice in the rub but the true kick was in the dynamite sauce. The fish was able to hold up to the spices and the rice without being lost. I admit I really loved the wine pairing here. The Marques de Murrieta Reserva from Spain was subdued, offering vanilla and pepper notes to compliment the dried cherry and tobacco notes.
The fun thing is the tannins. Tannins in a wine will make spicy food taste hotter and can make food taste flabby but the acid in the wine helped keep things in line while the tannins kicked it up a notch (should I say BAM!). Overall, this was a much more successful dish.
Dessert time and man did they not skimp. I did not know if this was the standard size for Restaurant Week or if we just got lucky being there when we were but full dessert portions the size of my head! We opted for the Chocolate Cake and the Carrot cake and boy did they deliver. Stuffed from the main courses, I thought about only taking one bite and taking the rest home in the to-go boxes the server brought because he knew about how large the pieces were. I ended up having more than one, more like eight, and still had enough for breakfast. Delicious, especially the carrot cake, it made for a great breakfast.
For the record, Trulucks will be serving the Restaurant Week menu for the next two weeks and it was definitely worth the money to come in and enjoy some great food and thought-out pairings. Next up, Bolla at the Stoneleigh Hotel.