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Sunday, November 25, 2012

John Tesar's Spoon Bar & Kitchen

Yesterday I was treated to dinner by 2 of my friends. They are also huge foodies so when I told them Chef John Tesar's new restaurant, Spoon, just opened, they said we should go there. Wheeee! Sooo excited! 

I've been reading articles and seeing pictures about the restaurant for many weeks now, even before it opened. I knew it was gonna be good! Plus Chef John Tesar is competing in this season's Top Chef Seattle! He's kicking butt too! Way to represent Dallas. :) 

Spoon Bar & Kitchen 
8220 Westchester Drive, Suite B 
Dallas, TX 75225 
(855) 947-7666 
Price: $$$-$$$$+ 

The place is already very popular. We were only able to get a reservation at 5:30PM. Walking in, I loved the decor. It was a bit dim but the ocean/seafood theme was carried throughout but not overwhelming. I liked the color scheme with the subdued aqua-ish blue. The bathroom handles were giant spoons, I thought that was fun. Even though it was fine dining, the decor still felt light-hearted and comfortable. :) 

The menu just sounded amazing all around, but I already knew what I wanted! 

A guy came around with a huge bread basket with a bunch of different kinds of bread. We asked him to explain the different kinds but it seemed like he wasn't so sure. I'm not sure what I got. But one of my friends wanted the baguette and ended up getting the same thing as me...hahaha. The bread was good, would be better if it was warm though. The butter was nice and soft and spreadable. 

After ordering we were served an Amuse Bouche: Monkfish Liver and Tofu (in chili oil). 
So delicate and pretty. I've never had monkfish liver before and I'm not really a liver fan. It was awesome! The liver was like and creamy with a hint of the fishiness which actually worked really well. In one little bite (which I split into 3 bites to savor it..haha) there were so many flavors. It was topped with a little sprinkle of sea salt which made the dish. It really brought out all the different flavors. Really great start to the meal. 

First We got the Grilled Octopus, Crispy Pork Belly (black garlic piquillo peppers, avocado, celery hearts) $16~ to share. 
This was one of the dishes I've been hearing about and really wanted to try. It was beautiful! The different pop of colors from the sauce and avocado against the black on the grilled octopus, very appetizing indeed! The octopus was cooked perfectly. So tender, lots of flavor and paired really well with all the other elements. I told my friends "I can't believe I'm saying this, but for once the octopus outshines the pork belly!" I'm such a pork belly fan, this really means that the octopus was great. The pork belly was good too but could've been a little crispier. I took my time savoring this dish!! 

For my entree, I've been thinking about the Squid Ink Pasta (little neck clams, Nantucket Bay scallops, lemon garlic, olive oil) $29~ since before the restaurant opened! haha. 
It was delicious!! I'm pretty sure they make all their pastas in house. The pasta was cooked perfectly al dente. I loved the texture. The scallops and clams were also cooked perfectly. The flavors were light yet complex, very well seasoned. I think there were also some chili flakes in there that gave it a hint of heat. Loved it! 

Lobster, Alaskan King Crab and Uni Butter (cannolicchi) $50~ 
One of my friends ordered this. It sounded so decadent and it was MORE than expected. Jumbo lumps of crab and lobster. The pasta was cooked perfectly and I loved the shape. It was rich and creamy and so sinful. I loved all the dishes we had but if I had to choose... this edges out on top. The price was a bit steep. But you can't deny that they used really great ingredients and the preparation was spot on. 

Roasted Monkfish (turnips, carrots, long bean, Asian mushrooms and lobster miso dashe) $34~ 
My other friend ordered this. I don't actually think I've had monkfish before. It's a really weird and ugly looking fish, but I've seen it used quite a bit on Top Chef episodes. The fish was cooked well and the flavors were clean. The best part was the dashe. It was super clear but had such bold flavor. I would love it if they made a udon noodle soup with that or something. hehe. 

Before dessert we got a Palate Cleanser: Coffee Ice Cream with Peppermint Pavlova. The pavola were fun and crispy. The coffee ice cream was good too. Nice little intermission before the finale. hehe. 

Caramel Pudding Pave (peanut butter streusel with bananas brulee finished with micro basil and sea salt). 
Very pretty presentation. So small... haha. The texture of the pave was interesting. It tasted like a great caramel candy but was softer and slightly gelatinous. We used the pave to pick up all the streusel which was my favorite part. Bananas had a nice crunchy brulee on top. Some of the parts with more sea salt was a little too salty though. 

Black Magic Chocolate (chocolate cardamom cake, milk chocolate crunch, feuillitine, cocoa nibs with soft chocolate ganache, white chocolate ice cream). 
This was my choice. Also very nice presentation. The cardamom was very present in the cake. I loved the addition of the spice. At first the cake seemed a bit dry. But I liked the pairing with the ice cream and the crunchy layer on top. I'm not sure what the crumbly looking white thing was but I really liked it. Almost like a crumble of really rich cream? Very interesting. I think this was also topped with a light sprinkle of salt which really brought out the chocolate flavor. 

Post Dessert 
We got another surprise after dessert. Oh man.. we were quite full already! (from front to back) Caramel Fudge, Almond Cake, Peanut Butter Truffle, Lemon Marshmallow, Raspberry Pates de Fruits
So cute! They were all good but the peanut butter truffle was my favorite... super creamy and just immediately melted in my mouth. My friend's favorite was the Raspberry Pates de Fruits (which is almost like a little fruit jelly candy). 

And that's not the end of the surprises! We all received a To Go Gift: Coffee Muffin. Wow... I've gotta save that for later because I'm stuffed!! 

This has been an epic meal! I wanna thank my friends for treating me. :) I think this has been one of the best meals I've had in Dallas in a while. Very few criticisms and most of them are kind of nit picking. Our waitress was lovely, friendly and very attentive. The other people in the restaurant were also very welcoming. Several people came by our table to check on us throughout the meal. And the cherry on top... we got to meet Chef Tesar and take a picture with him! :D We saw him running around the kitchen and took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to do a photo op with us. Really nice guy! I will continue to cheer him on as I follow this season's Top Chef Seattle!!!! 

I'll definitely be back here in the future! Make sure you make your reservation soon! 

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