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Monday, August 23, 2010

RW #2: Fearing's

Fearing's @ Ritz Carlton
2121 McKinney Avenue
Dallas, TX 75201-1873
(214) 922-4848
Price: $$$$+

Restaurant Week destination #2 was Fearing's at the Ritz-Carlton. I've been wanting to go here for the past 2 years....finally it's here! I've heard nothing but rave reviews on this place from friends in the past so I was dying to go. Sooo excited when I was able to make a reservation. Even when I called the FIRST morning when RW reservations opened up, I was only able to get a party of 4 for 8:30PM dinner. Immediately I said "I'LL TAKE IT!!" haha.

We arrived 5 minutes early and were immediated seated. I had requested to be seated in Dean's Kitchen, where you can see the kitchen and the people working in it. I thought that would be cool. The decor was nice, but wasn't as fancy as I expected it to be. The chairs for the tables were 'picnic bench' style...and they were quite low. I felt really short sitting in them...and also made me not have a good view into the kitchen. So it kinda defeated the purpose of being in that dining room. OH wellz~

So after making our orders they gave us a bread basket with jalapeno cornbread, rolls, and french bread.
The cornbread came highly recommended by someone I talked to, and man were they delicious!! Whole kernels of corn inside each delicious bite! Mmm!

For the appetizer I ordered the Caesar Salad (with Smoky Red Chili Dressing, Grilled Radicchio, Baby Romaine and San Pedro Cheese). It was different than the menu description I got from online... The actual salad had pomegranate, no radicchio from what I could tell, and some sort of crunchy slices...I'm guessing it's jicama? Not sure. Well was great. I really enjoyed it. The flavors were good, it was fresh, no complaints!

Everyone else got Dean’s Tortilla Soup (with South of the Border Flavorings). This came highly recommended by a friend of mine and apparently every review online. It was described as the best tortilla soup ever. It was served in a huge bowl with the ingredients in it, then the waiter poured the soup in after it was served. This way the ingredients stayed nice and crisp, that was pretty smart. The soup is thicker than most tortilla soups I've seen before. The broth was kinda smoky and creamy. It's not bad. But they used strips of corn tortilla...which I don't like and I could smell it as soon as they poured the soup in. bleh. I would say as far as tortilla soups go, it was pretty good. But I'm typically not a fan of tortilla soup, and this doesn't make me wanna go order it or anything. I didn't get the hype. Cool presentation though.

For the entree I ordered the Chili Braised Short Ribs (with Queso Fresco Corn Whipped Potatoes and Crispy Tobacco Onions). I can never say no to braised short ribs!! Especially when it has "chili" in front of it. haha. The dish was really good. Everything was cooked nicely. The short ribs were tender and juicy, great flavor. The whipped potatoes were light and fluffy and sooo lumps at all. And the crispy onions added a nice change of texture. I liked it a lot...although I never really got the hint of chili in the entire dish.

A friend of mine ordered the Mesquite Grilled Wild Salmon (Glazed with Apricot Barbecue Sauce, Black-Eyed Peas and Living Watercress Salad). It was a pretty big chunk of salmon! I would guess around 7 oz. or so? The fish was pretty good....a teeny bit overcooked for my preference but was still pretty juicy. I was surprised that I liked the bbq sauce on top. I'm not normally a bbq sauce person. The black eyed peas and string beans on the side provided a good amount of veggies. I would say this was pretty good...not great. She really enjoyed it though.

Two of my other friends got the Watermelon/Jalapeno Glazed Berkshire Pork Tenderloin (on Sweet Corn Pan Stuffing with Gunbarrel City Greens and Fried Okra). The pork was nice and tender and the glaze was surprisingly good. We were a little apprehensive on the watermelon bit. But it wasn't too sweet so that was good. The fried okra was done nicely...crispy outside with nice spices. The greens...we were guessing to be collard greens, but I'm not sure. The flavor actually reminded me of a Chinese dish my mom makes at home. The best part of this dish was the corn stuffing. It was delicious. I wanted to take the bread from the basket and sop up all that creamy goodness. It basically tasted like the batter for their jalapeno corn bread. Y-U-M. YUM!!

We each got a Duo of Dessert (Caramel Brownie Sundae and Texas Peach Parfait). The peach parfait was nice and light. I really liked the whipped cream on top. However, it didn't take me long to notice that the peaches were canned. WAT??? I couldn't believe it... I would've never expected a restaurant like this to use canned peaches. Thought that was kinda sheisty. And the cookies on top would've been good if they were crunchy for texture, but it was kinda soft and spongey. It was still pretty good, but I was quite disappointed with the quality. The brownie sundae on the other hand was just divine!! The brownie was rich and loaded with chocolate chips. The caramel sauce was awesome! I don't usually care for caramel but this just made it better. Plus the scoop of ice cream on top was creamy and cold and cute the denseness of the brownie. Great dessert....I could eat that all day.

Overall it was a great meal. For the most part, the quality of the dishes were definitely there, except the canned peaches, for which I deducted cookies for. However, I was a little underwhelmed with the food. Don't get me wrong, everything was pretty tasty, but I feel like Fearing's wasn't SOOO much better than most other fancy restaurants I've been to in Dallas. I had the expectation that it was a cut above the rest, but in reality it's pretty much on the same level. Also, even though the waiters were friendly, I felt they were a little clumsy...the way they changed the settings from course to course, how they cleared our tables, etc. I felt interrupted a couple times during dinner because they were trying to do something. All in all, it was still a good night. I would recommend checking out Fearing's for yourself, but I'm not sure if I would return to dine with the regular menu any time soon.

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