by Melissa Robert
As November draws to a close we have heard the many beautiful and heartwarming things that our friends and family are thankful for. Personally, I’m thankful for an amazing fall menu. The particular Dallas restaurant that has given me this attitude of gratitude is none other than Dragonfly inside the Hotel ZaZa. The Fall 2012 menu, which was introduced approximately 2 weeks ago, is filled with flavorful and elegant dishes that we have come to expect from Executive Chef Dan Landsberg. Landsberg, who made a name for himself at Tillman’s Roadhouse and Stephan Pyles Restaurant, has been with Hotel ZaZa since February of last year.
I’m a big fan of small plates and there are some real gems on the “To Share” portion of the menu, although after sampling a few I’m not sure I’d be sharing. The shrimp and chive dumpling might have arrived on a small plate but was big on flavor.
The dumpling had an intriguing flavor profile, which seemed to explode on your palate. I anticipated not enjoying the pork belly, I’ve eaten a lot of pork belly this year, but Chef Landsberg’s execution was most certainly the exception. The portion was perfect atop a parsnip puree that was a wonderful complement to the velvety pork belly.
The house made fettuccine had great depth in flavor, while still being a light and approachable pasta. The cremini mushrooms and roasted butternut squash provided just the right amount of meatiness, pardon the irony, for this delicious vegetarian option. Another win in the pasta column belongs to the diver sea scallops with housemade ramen and bacon-dashi broth. The scallops were buttery and bright while the ramen was the perfect co-star with ideal texture and a memorable broth.
Typically I don’t order chicken in restaurants, largely because this is something I cook decently at home, so I don’t think I’ll be that impressed. Well, how embarrassed should I be when I tell you that the roasted Amish chicken breast showed me just how incredible chicken can be? Admittedly, I’m not embarrassed at all, I’m just hungry for more chicken. The curry sweet potatoes and cauliflower gratin made this dish sing. My tastebuds are eternally grateful.
I wouldn’t dare leave out the lamb lollipops. These tender and savory pieces of lamb were a pleasant reminder of why people become quiet while at the dinner table. No, not that awkward silence created by forced family meals, but the quietness that is shared when dining amongst friends which is commonly accompanied by head nods and mmmmm’s. The flavor was rich but not overpowering. These too can be found on the shared plates section of the menu but don’t feel bad if they make you want to be greedy.
If the colder nights are making you a little stuffy be sure to try the peach jalapeno martini. This cocktail starts off spicy but finishes sweet. I also truly enjoyed the Belle Glos Pinot Noir, and if you are after a nice scotch then you’ll appreciate the remarkable selection. Dragonfly has a very popular brunch as well. Heck, it’s a hotel, so just book a room and indulge in dinner and brunch.
We appreciate Melissa’s contribution to craveDFW and excited that she will pay regular visits. Melissa has a wonderful palate and love for food, and is extremely knowledgeable about the Dallas restaurant scene.