I have known Andre Natera for more than a few years, and have enjoyed his talents while he worked the kitchens at the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas. He is a bright chef that has a passion for his craft while maintaining a delicious humility, a trait that could be well learned by a few chefs new and old. Recently we reported that Natera took over the helm at the Village Marquee Grill in Highland Park Village and I personally was elated.
I enjoyed former chef Tre Wilcox’s cuisine, and was now looking forward to seeing what Natera would do with the menu. I was also eager for more people to experience what I have had at the Fairmont, which has always been tough for locals to make that small trek downtown for an amazing meal for whatever reason.
I planted the moniker Zen Chef on Natera not only because he studies Eastern Philosophy, but also for his demeanor and the way he lives his life inside and out of the kitchen. I had the honor to cook with Natera on several occasions and his patience and understanding of all the elements factor into his dishes.
Last week I was able to sample a few of the dishes on the new menu at Marquee and I am excited to tell you that Andre Natera is back. He said he was not using any of his old recipes from the Fairmont, but instead creating new dishes in his new environment.
He changed the lunch menu almost immediately but took several more weeks to craft a new dinner menu. Natera says his menu is inspired by local tastes and that he is keeping things familiar by using common ingredients with elevated technique and presentation. He explains, “Highland Park is my muse, and I am taking influence from a number of things around me including nature, art, fashion and the seasons. It is my personal interpretation of Dallas and Dallas dining.”
I chatted with Marquee owner Mark Hearl and he said that when searching for a chef Natera’s name kept popping up. At that time Natera had quit the Fairmont and the chef was taking time off weighing his options. Natera had already been offered a few positions in Dallas and around the country. When the two met up they had an instant liking for each other and soon Natera was offered the position he ended up taking at Marquee.
We broke the story how the second floor at Marquee would soon be retooled into a sushi and seafood restaurant separate from Marquee. We should see that coming together soon.
Until then try the new duck dish at Marquee. Amazing.