Richard Blankenship is now execuchef at CBD Provisions at The Joule, one of the best restaurants in Dallas. Former execuchef Michael Sidoni gets an internal promotion in the Headington hierarchy (which owns and runs the restaurant) to oversee “new projects”.
Blankenship comes with a deep breadth of experience. He was executive sous chef at the old Charlie Palmer at The Joule, he cheffed at Nosh in Plano, as well as other places around town.
I reported on Blankenship’s menu at Charlie Palmer and especially his creative touch with vegetables in another publication. That skill fits in perfectly with the mission that Sidoni established at CBD Provisions. At a beer dinner featuring Lakewood Brewing Co. this week (at which I was a media guest) Blankenship made the menu his own, producing two dishes that were exceptional, and one of which I predict will have the same captivating effect on the public imagination as Sidoni’s Berkshire pig head – but only if-he-puts-it-on-the-menu. That dish is the Sticky Lamb Ribs below. Lashed with sherry vinegar and harissa spiced sorghum and served with scallions and lemons, these were a universal hit at our table and go down as one of the best Dishes of The Year thus far.
Also meriting menu status was a dry-aged beef tartar with house pickles, black garlic mustard, fried chili peanuts, charred scallions and potato toast all topped with grated eggs. Tartar lovers who want to cut the monolithic sensation of meat will love this thoughtful interpretation of a venerable old staple.
Service staff at the meal, including that classy welcoming lady at the maitre’d stand, delivered five star service. Lakewood has some great beers that I urge Dallasites to try. However, Lakewood, when I ask what hops you use in a particular beer, don’t tell me it’s a trade secret – that sounds like an answer from the NSA. Also, CBD needs a new valet service. You could stand outside the restaurant for an hour before one of the valets walked up from the entrance to The Joule (twenty five yards away) to help you. So different from the customer service of the likes of Jack Boles at The Mansion.
Postscript: Why is the largest eye in Dallas on a plinth opposite The Joule? A little bird (notice it’s always a little one, never a big one) told me: Joule owner and restorer Tim Headington applied to put a parking facility on that lot (he owns it) and the city council (those are the people that make you and I pay for bags and sent Calais Winery out of Deep Ellum, while they don’t fix the roads) denied the application, saying it was an “eyesore”. So Headington, an appreciator of the ironic, as well as the finer things of life, went out and bought a “sore eye”.
That’ll teach ‘em.