by Andrew Chalk
What do you expect from a steak house? A litany of classic cuts (filet, ribeye, strip, porterhouse/t-bone) and derivative sides like button mushrooms and baked potatoes? Maybe with a giant monolithic whole carrot to add color?
What if you have been there, done that, and become somewhat more demanding. Want a choice of grass-fed beef? Dry-aged corn-fed beef? Sides that are as creative as the entrées in most farm-to-table restaurants? Charcuterie that is made in house? Housemade mustard and chutney? A 300-selection wine list that includes Texas selections from Duchman Family Winery and The Vineyard at Florence? Local beers from Deep Ellum Brewing Company? To turn to credentials, how about a chef who Staged at The French Laundry (and only turned down the job that was offered because of the prohibitive cost of living in Napa Valley, California). How about also staging at Alinea and working for a year at TRU in Chicago?
If this hasn’t got you to load the reservation page of OpenTable you may be gastronomically hermetically sealed. Because, it is all the case right now at Dallas Chop House under recently appointed chef, Chad Starling. Like all (well, many) rising chefs in Dallas he came out of the Bolsa stable, but that was preceded by stints in the aforementioned establishments, The Waldorf Astoria in Key West and The Fairmont Hotel (as executive chef) in Chicago. Romance and parents brought him back to Texas (he and his wife had their first child two weeks ago). I have personally never met his Texas-born wife or his parents but, on behalf of Dallas diners, I want to give them a big hug for bringing him here, rather than letting him languish in some Michelin-starred banned-from-selling-foie-gras-or-using-plastic-bags-for-doggie-bags establishment in Chicago.
At a recent media event the kitchen pulled out all the stops to show the breadth and depth of their capabilities. Every diner is greeted with a complementary deviled egg topped with domestic caviar (consider this an amuse-oeuf). Unlike examples I have recently had served by legendary BBQ establishments, this one was light and fluffy. Exactly as the ancient Romans intended.
Deviled egg topped with domestic caviar
The Hawaiian Bigeye Tuna Tartare was tuna and avocado, the two separated by that scarcely visible chaperone layer of crushed wanton. It was a winner. Lime juice kept the avocado lively and a bath of ponzu provided moisture if you desired it. Domestic caviar and micro greens accented the mouthfeel. I decided some time ago when I tasted familiar dishes to ask myself the question: is this the best incarnation of this dish that I have had in the Dallas/Fort Worth area? For tuna salad, this was it.
Hawaiian bigeye tuna tartare
Look at the roasted baby beet salad and ask if you could pass that up. It has red beets, golden beets marinated in a sherried caraway (almost) pickling liquid served with watercress frisée, ricotta salata and a crunchy pistachio brittle. This light, tasty item could actually make a case to stay on the menu throughout summer.
Roasted baby beet salad
Niman Ranch Pork cheeks, ricotta gnocchi, English peas, carrot saffron purée and pickled ramps screams spring and joins the menu this week.
Niman Ranch pork cheeks
The bone-in rib eye was perfectly cooked to a medium-rare consistency.
Consider some of these sides. Brussels sprouts, were tossed with caramelized onion, medjool dates, bacon, lemon zest and chives. This was another Dallas winner and we will have the recipe here on Crave as soon as the security people confirm it doesn’t contain a virus.
Roasted Brussels sprouts
Jumbo asparagus came with hollandaise sauce and grated ricotta salata.
Jumbo asparagus with hollandaise sauce
Crawfish mache-chou contained roasted poblanos, roasted peppers,spices from manzano chiles, tarragon cream reduction, crawfish.
Crawfish maque choux
All this adds up to one of the best steakhouses in Dallas. If you want a modern steakhouse Dallas Chop House is worth a visit. Its location, adjacent to the Majestic Theater, makes it especially convenient for theater goers.