by Steven Doyle
Deep Ellum is fast becoming a hotbed of culinary fashion with the advent of new openings that seem to be increasing in speed. The latest opening that gives us cause for a bit of reverie is STIRR located on Main in the space formerly known as Club Clearview.
Cheffed by Chad Bowden, who made a transition from Culpepper in Rockwall, fits into this concept which implements fire as a component in his cookery. There are some familiar flavors that many in Dallas have never sampled but was part of his arsenal in Rockwall. Having Bowden on this side of the bridge is as welcome as plum pudding on a Christmas morning. For those that have never met chef Bowden, you are in for a playful treat.
STIRR’s menu features a range of offerings, from savory small plates to sophisticated entrees from Bowden. Guests will enjoy American classics infused with new age spices and flavors like the Roasted Texas Quail with sage stuffing, green beans and cranberry gastrique. The quail dish is particularly delicious, and a must order. Although listed as an entree, the dish would be welcomed as a shared plate. The flavors will remind you of a Thanksgiving feast, and is ensured to place a smile on your face.
You may have heard rumor of STIRR’s Rattlesnake Bites. They were sadly lifted from the menu as of this writing. With this appetizer Bowden would take the snake each day and break it down, which I am told gave some of the staffers a bit of shock and awe. The small plate was set off with a sauce laced with Szechuan buttons that give the mouth a bit of a buzz. A fun dish that Bowden promises will show up again at another concept soon.
foie and purple hull hash
stirr crazy burger
We started our meal off with several appetizers, including a pan-seared foie that rested upon a bed of purple hull pea hash. A bit decadent, and all delicious. We also sampled the Sweet Bacon Slab, which is exactly what it professes to be. A giant slab of bacon griddled and sauced, and made into bite sized portions. What a delicious way to start any meal of champions. The calamari is like nothing you may have tasted. They cut large shanks of squid steaks and give it the old chicken fry treatment. Simply delicious and fresh.
From where we sat at the chefs table, which is in full view of the kitchen, we saw all the dishes filing out as the expediter loomed over each plate for sight inspection of perfection. We saw a crazy amount of flatbreads shuffle off to tables. The upstairs lounge is massive with open seating, and we were told that the flatbreads are a popular side for cocktails up there.
vanilla scallops with Swiss chard and wild mushrooms
frontier ribeye comes with a cleaver
We ended up ordering several entrees including the Frontier Ribeye, which is a sixty-day aged twenty-ounce slab that Bowden cooks on top of the coals. He calls this “caveman style” and it creates this beautiful rustic char. We chose to share the steak and also order the Vanilla Scallops which was a treat. The light creamery vanilla-scented sauce was actually a perfect pairing for several of the items we ordered, including the charred Brussel’s Sprouts.
Other must order dishes include the Pimento Cheese Tortellini with roasted red pepper cream and basil parmesan crumbs, and Parm-Polenta Fries with smoked tomato sauce.
We were tempted by the bodacious Tofu Tikka Masala, which looked dreamy. We will order this on our next visit.
You must save room for dessert, and pastry chef Rachel Jeske has some tempting offerings including a massive take on S’Mores, and a heavenly cinnamon roll bread pudding that is amassed with ice cream. You really want to order these.
Even brunch at STIRR gives unique flavors to traditional morning dishes, like the Tex-Mex Waffles with jalapeño corn waffles, eggs your way and Texas venison chili and the Lobster Claw Omelette with chervil, melted brie, chive oil and chefs hash.
sticky toffee pudding
“From the menu creation to the design and aesthetic, we have worked hard to perfect every element of STIRR and are thrilled to finally open its doors,” said Imran Sheikh, co-owner of Milkshake Concepts which also owns Citizen and the upcoming restaurant Nikkei (Japanese-Peruvian). “We are honored to bring Deep Ellum a comfortable and lively place where friends and family can gather.”
Reservations are a must. We attempted several visits, going early and even once where we wanted to sit at the bar – everything is booked in advance. We mentioned the upstairs lounge seating, and that was full every time we made our way in.