by Steven Doyle
Years ago, I will not admit how many, I read a book that contained recipes from several local chefs including Richard Chamberlain of his eponymous steakhouse in Addison, and Steven Pyles of the then wildly popular Routh Street Cafe. Both were young sprites with many years of success ahead of them. The book was called Great Chefs, Great Cities of the Southwest. I was enamoured.
I grew to know both these chefs rather well but our first topic of conversation for both was this television series and the book that accompanied. I have visual proof below of Pyles’ episode.
I grew to master the recipe for bread pudding that chef Chamberlain offered, but it was Pyles recipe that was a quagmire. It was his first incarnation of the crab tamale tart that was made with a tamale masa crust, a roasted garlic custard crowned with Gulf crabmeat. I attempted this recipe many times, with each its own unique fail. Chef Pyles has since agreed to assist me with the recipe, but I have been too timid to agree on a time.
Tamale Tart 2.0 📷 Joey Stewart
Tamale Tart 1.0
Today chef Pyles owns the very lux restaurant Flora Street, which in my mind will be the very first Michelin starred restaurant in Dallas. Imagine that. It is at Flora that the chef has created the Tamale Tart 2.0. I haven’t mastered 1.0 now I get this curveball. And I certainly was not finished tasting 1.0 by any stretch.
The new Tamale Tart is marvelous. This savory starter is made with a sweet corn custard perched on a liquid tamale guajillo chile-flavored nixtamal, micro greens and edible flora, topped with butter-poached Maine lobster, black garlic purée, pickled corn, and paddlefish caviar, and the crystal glass is rimmed with ancho powder and more of the caviar with a lemon puree. It is masterful in its brilliance.
Damn you chef Pyles for all the love you show our city.