by Steven Doyle
This week is all about the burger, and Dallas certainly has no shortage of the delicacy. What makes a perfect burger is the flavor of the beef, and freshness of the bun, and toppings. A burger should develop a nice sear to trap all the juices inside. Pressing a burger releases all of its flavor and makes the burger dry and ends up crumbling. The toppings are just as important as the cooking process. Using fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and onions help bring a crisp texture and flavor depth that makes your burger scream fresh. To add more depth a spread or sauce needs to compliment the other toppings without making the burger too messy or all you have is a excessive use of napkins. Innovative burger toppings just makes the flavor depth more interesting you just need to keep them in check because there is such a thing as “too much of a good thing.” Continue reading
by Steven Doyle Gemma Bar
Valentine’s Day is one where we thinking about hooking up for a grand date, and Dallas has plenty of choices for prix fixe meals and specials for the night for that special someone in your life. But what if we are playing solo for the big night? Don’t play into the hype and feel you need to hunt a date, we have you covered for a perfectly acceptable night on the town with no regrets. Don’t stay at home, get out there and enjoy. It is always fun to people watch, especially the couple who just met for the first time from Match.com.
Reservations of tables for one are up 62 percent nationally over the past two years, according to OpenTable’s analysis of its online reservations. That makes it the fastest-growing party size, if one person could indeed be considered a party, the company said. Continue reading
by Steven Doyle
We are still in full swing soft shell crab season, and this is a good thing. Better restaurants and seafood hubs are flying in fresh, live soft shells ready for frying. Blue crabs are most common. The tender beasts shed their shells this time of year and make ready for a newer, larger shell leaving them vulnerable for my plate. Fortunately, the season can last as late as September.
If you find soft shells at one of your favorite fishmongers, and please avoid department stores which might offer a mealy previously frozen version, they should already be prepped for frying. Generally we enjoy a simple toss in seasoned flour and they are ready to be pan fried. Deep fried is acceptable but the pan version seems to carry more flavor. Continue reading
by Steven Doyle
In the world of appetizers it takes quite a bit to excite me. Beyond the typical fare you might see on the top side of the menu such as calamari, deviled eggs and a plethora of hackneyed charcuterie plates, I am always happy to set sites on a fantastic bit of foie torchon after having actually attempted to create my own in the past. I can appreciate the labor intensive subtleties of a great torchon and will go out of my way to order one when spotted.
That said, it is difficult to find an exemplary set of appetizers on a menu. This is not a blanket indictment of every menu found in Dallas, just a slight generalization. You see, it is often times I am not in for a full meal deal, but rather a glass of beer or wine and a few starters while perched at a restaurant’s bar. So you can imagine my happiness when I first gazed upon Jon Stevens’ menu at Stock and Barrel in the Bishop Arts District for the first time. There was a bit of elation, actually. Continue reading
by Steven Doyle
In our ever vigilant desire to find the best burgers in the Dallas area we have separated them into two classes, a chef driven burger and the classic burger joint where that seems to be their primary vocation. This hunt for the very best has led us across the city to some pretty amazing examples of what a burger should be. A great burger means an interesting bun, toasted or not, quality meat, and a smattering of high grade accouterments. This high speed chase brought us to Stock and Barrel this week. Continue reading
by Steven Doyle photos by Joy Zhang
Jon Stevens is the crazy good chef that has more than proven his stock in the Dallas food scene, and beyond. He recently opened his first restaurant in the Bishop Arts District, Stock and Barrel.
Stevens is originally from the San Francisco area, one of the great food cities in the United States and was mostly self-taught. The chef starting cooking at the age of 19 with his uncle who was also in the business. It was this uncle that gave Stevens the advice to pass on formal training as the city was bursting with great culinary experiences and the best way to learn was to do.
The young chef sat at the stoop of great culinary masters such as Traci Des Jardins of San Francisco’s Jardiniere. He also worked at Mecca and French regional Flytrap before landing at the Ritz Carlton where he worked up to a sous position just years later. It was then that Stevens found himself in Dallas as sous for the wildly understated but powerful talent, Chris Ward at the Mercury where he worked for a few years before hopping the fast moving Kent Rathbun train cheffing at Abacus, then opening Jaspers in 2003. It was there Stevens finally opened as chef at Aurora for Avner Samuels working for 2 years.
Stevens found himself missing California and moved back to work at the beautifully frenetic Bungalow 44 in Mill Valley just North of San Francisco where he stayed for 4 years honing his craft. But made his way back to Dallas where he opened at Neighborhood Services. Continue reading