For more than a few years David Anthony Temple, or Chef DAT as he is sportingly known, has been the undisputed king of the underground dinner party. The chef has been mixing up long weekends of these intimate dining excursions featuring only what is local and fresh to the huzzahs of an ever-growing following. More recently DAT has taken that concept and formed it into a more permanent restaurant in the very digs where he often dabbled. Twenty-Seven is a culmination of those years of development, and I am personally pleased with what we found this past weekend.
Twenty-Seven is only open Thursday, Friday and Saturday with a duo of seatings: 6pm and 8:30pm. The later reservations are typically booked, and more difficult to snag. The restaurant itself is not large, and has a small bar in the back of the room an a private tasting area that is actually draped off. DAT makes the space work to his advantage and still has that underground feel which is so desirable to his clientele.
The name Twenty-Seven plays on the curious fact that so many artists have died at that ripe age. This is a theme mostly found in the restrooms which are festooned with memorabilia and art from the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison.
Twenty-Seven has a series of tasting menus that are developed for varied tastes. A vegetarian may now dine with a voracious omnivore, or pescetarian. All will be pleasantly surprised with their unique dining experience which is snapped out at an excellent pace. For those who fail to make a reservation, you may still join in on some of the fun at the bar where DAT has a more limited offering which actually allows you to create your own tasting. Consider a smattering of “bar snacks” such as a huitlacoche hummus (a must order item), or an amazing BBQ’d Kobe oxtail tostada. Each of these are packed with a variety of flavors,and loaded down with some amazing ingredients.
The very best dish I have enjoyed this year comes from the Twenty-Seven kitchen. The oddly monikered Marijuana Chicken, named as such for its unique scent which erupts from smoldering various, and very legal, herbs. Simply described as featuring toasted hemp, Jidori chicken, and wild mushrooms is a total understatement. The chicken itself consists of the portion often overlooked, the “oyster”. Chicken oysters are the two small, oyster-shaped pieces of dark meat that lie on either side of a whole chicken’s backbone. Arguably the best part of the chicken, these tender bits are frequently known as the chef’s reward for cooking. DAT generously offers up the “oysters” by the plateful, bedded with insanely good mushrooms (note the baby morels hiding under the plates foliage). If for no other reason, you need to drop in Twenty-Seven to sit at the bar and order this dish. You will find it is the DAT proving ground.
The sea scallop crudo was played with its backbone of mango notes and curiously topped with yuzu pop rocks. At first bite, and ignoring the actual menu description, the pop rocks reminded me of szechuan button, giving a slight fun numbing affect to the tongue. This made me salivate and eager for the next bite. Genius.
The drink menu at Twenty-Seven is not an after-thought, and there are several nice bottles of wine and bubbles to choose from at a pleasant mark-up, along with some terrific cocktails. The sazerac is definitely the signature drink. Also, an absinthe drip is also available for those wanting that fun experience.
DAT’s playful spirit shines through on the menu and translates extremely well to the plate. Add this young chef to the growing herd of amazing talent that is stampeding this city by storm.
Twenty-Seven | 2901 Elm, Dallas | 972-803-3265