Being enamored with a restaurant is one of the casualties of what I do. Sometimes it manifests not too unlike a school girl crush. Last night I convinced a group to join me at JoJo Eating House and Bar; it wasn’t a difficult task. After the dining experience I wanted to pull JoJo’s hair and pass her sweet notes with two boxes at the ending: yes or no. She never says no.
This is a First Look post so there is no need to get into all the entanglements, but rest assured JoJo should rate high in any sensible review in the near future.
The word JoJo is playful, just as the restaurant is meant to be. It is Chef Laurent Poupart’s playground, and it appears he is having a bit of fun with his new toy. The restaurant itself is modern and sleek, with some nooks even a bit curvy and sexy. The doors are open wide in order to be more alluring and emanate a bistro feel.
The kitchen is super wide open and offers up many seats facing the gallery of Poupart’s line chefs. Here you can watch quenelles being created as a raw pizzas are slung into a cavernous oven. You will witness plenty of slicing and dicing and soon learn the difference between an alumette and a julienne. This is fun.
The dishes speak for themselves. Many of the slow roasted meats are cooked in the heavy enameled cast iron Le Cruset brasiers. The restaurant has a supply of nearly 50 of these beautiful pieces, and they lay heavy table top making an incredible display. The Beef Cheeks ($24) are served in this dish, as are the Clams Picante ($16) which are served with white wine, chorizo, tomatoes, shallots & fresh herbs.
Other special dishes that sent our eyes back into our head included the Scallop Ravioli ($14) which is served over a beautiful beet salad. The ravioli were ever so tender that protected a sweet bite of scallop. The beets were sliced very thin and made for delicate balance with the pasta.
I have been personally raving about the Artichoke and Jumbo Lump Crab Ceviche ($16) which should be sampled by anyone dining at JoJo.
Desserts are often an afterthought at many restaurants the size of JoJo, but Laurent was able to nab Craft’s former pastry chef Laurel Wimberg who is able to perform her special wizadry in the very small space provided her at JoJo. Coming from a large hotel kitchen Wimberg was spoiled with her own walk-in refrigerator and a domain to create the pastries she enjoys making. Last night the pastry chef mentioned there are talks of actually opening an off-site bakery that would be open to the public and serve as a commissary for JoJo’s pastries. Dallas needs a beautiful patisserie.
Be sure to order the souffle early, it can take 40 minutes on a busy night.
JoJo is perfect for a relaxing happy hour cocktail followed by a light snack, or fun evening out with friends or family to enjoy Poupart’s fantastic cuisine. If you live in the area JoJo will deliver you one of their delicious pizzas as well. Aren’t you a lucky soul.JoJo Eating House and Bar 2626 Howell, Dallas (214) 754-4949