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Friday, October 11, 2013

Cadillac Road to Table featuring FT33 :D

On Tuesday, a friend of mine got a last minute invitation to Cadillac's Road to Table event (presented by Cadillac and Bon Appetit). He had been on the waiting list for several weeks and they contacted him the afternoon of the event. So it wasn't until 2 or 3PM that day when he called me to see if I wanted to go. Initially we were hesitant since it was such late notice and it didn't start til 8:15PM in downtown. (We both live in West Plano...btw. It's a bit of a drive.) But we decided to go. Why not? Do something new. Plus it includes a full dinner featuring some special chef!

I started do some digging into the event since I knew nothing of it. I realized that the featured chef was Matt McCallister of FT33! One of the hottest new restaurants in Dallas and of course it's been on my radar since it opened a year ago!! Now I'm super excited!

I met up with my friend and we carpooled downtown. We arrived at the Cadillac venue, got registered, and they told us we'll have a car waiting for us to test drive to the restaurant. Restaurant?? I assumed we'd just have some food made by the chef at the venue, but we get to actually go to his restaurant?!?! I'm on cloud 9 by this point. haha.

So Cadillac was featuring their new ATS which we got to test drive. It's a pretty sweet car. Lots of leg room, smooth ride, and plenty of gadgets.

And then we arrived at FT33. OMG OMG OMG!!! I still can't believe this is happening! This place has been at the top of my list for a while and I heard it's pretty hard to get a reservation. And now we get to have a 3 course meal AND meet the chef? So excited my heads about to pop! hahaha.

While driving to the restaurant, our Cadillac rep actually gave us a brief background on the name of the restaurant. Apparently FT33 stands for "fire table 33". Table 33 is a table for 6 that is directly in front of the kitchen, and deemed the best seat in the house. Cool! That's a nice little trivia. And I said how awesome would it be if we got to sit there tonight! :P

1617 Hi Line Drive, Suite 250
Dallas, Texas 75207
(214) 741-2629
Price: $$$$

We were greeted by people from Cadillac. So far I've been very impressed with their friendliness and professionalism. Everything was running very smoothly since we didn't have much event details to go on. We were directed to some waitresses with cocktails and wine. They told us that dinner wasn't starting for another 20 minutes so feel free to have some drinks and hors d'oeuvres.

I started with a Gimlet. Pretty good! But I need some food in me so I don't pass out! haha.

Several waiters walked around with food on wood platters. I loved the presentation!

Chicken Liver Mousse. Very rich mousse and quite livery. Liver is not usually my thing. But you could tell the quality and smoothness of the mousse is good.

Next was a Pork Terrine of some sort. With some kind of gelee on top. It was beautifully presented and my favorite hors d'oeuvres of the night.

Charcuterie Board. Hard to eat in passing but the meats paired well with the pickled vegetables.

Then it was time for dinner. We walked into the restaurant and looked for a table to sit. A lot of the tables were pushed together so we had to sit with other people. Which is cool. We met some good/interesting people at our table. And guess what, when we walked in, there were 2 seats left at table 33! It's like fate. It was left there just for us! :D I couldn't stop taking pictures of the kitchen. haha.

Here's a blurb I got from the FT33 website on the restaurant...
"FT33 is Chef Matt McCallister’s first solo venture, opened on October 13, 2012 in Dallas and serving “season-inspired modern cuisine.” He showcases the highest-quality products and treats them with respect. “I don’t print my menu until I know which ingredients are best that day,” he explains."

It's pretty cool that he doesn't finalize his menu until that day. This ensures the best quality of ingredients. I'm super impressed!

Before dinner, a rep from Cadillac welcomed us all, and then introduced the chef and he talked about his food and restaurant for a bit. They did this in between every course so we got to understand more about the restaurant and also the dishes we were eating. Each course was paired with wine as well. OMG! And the waiters just keep refilling your glasses. haha. I wish I drank wine! XP

For the first course we had Farro Risotto (herbs, wild mushrooms, puffed grains, kale juice). 
I love farro (ever since I saw Giada De Laurentiis cook with it. hehe). I love the texture and this dish was fantastic. All the flavors were balanced and there were several layers of textures. The kale juice kept it fresh while the puffed grains added a crunch. And the wild mushrooms were earthy. Loved it! I did hear mixed reviews from other people though. Farro is not a common ingredient so some people didn't know what to make it, especially when they see "risotto" and already had a different expectation. And some didn't like the texture. For me, I'd take chewy and crunchy over soft and mushy any day! I think if you like cous cous, quinoa, wheat berry, or the like... then you'll love this dish.

For the main course it was a Sterling Lamb Duo (salsify, apples, coffee-chocolate crumble, pumpkin). 
I was nervous about this dish since I don't like lamb at all. There's a stank and gaminess to it that I just cannot stand. But I told my friend I'm going to eat it all! The presentation was fantastic. It looked small but it was quite filling. The piece on the left was lamb shoulder. It was leaner but still super tender and moist. The meat was fork tender. And guess what, I did not mind it being lamb at all! I could still get a hint of the gaminess but the meat was cooked so well that I didn't even care. The piece on the right was the lamb belly. You know how I feel about pork belly and this was pretty close. Again, fork tender. It was amazing. Every element on the plate was fantastic, but it worked together so well to make an even better complete dish. The pumpkin puree was magnificent. Everyone at our table raved about it. Silky smooth and you can really taste the pumpkin. The sweetness paired with the lamb superbly. There was another sauce that was an apple puree. It was so fresh, it help cut the fattiness of the lamb belly. The salsify is a type of root vegetable. You'd think it would be hard but it was tender with just the right amount of crispness. And the coffee chocolate crumble? Genius! It wasn't overly sweet or bitter, but helped elevate the flavor of the lamb. And I liked the extra crunch it gave the dish. Gorgeous dish... and so yummy.

For dessert we had Roasted Sweet Potato Budino (coffee, cocoa nibs). 
I was really excited about this. Budino is basically pudding. But his budino had this fantastic texture. My friend and I were wondering how they got the consistency. The budino was rich and smooth and paired nicely with the soft and fluffy mocha cream. The coffee and cocoa nibs added a slight bitterness and depth of flavor to the pudding. And I liked the texture of the crumble and thin brittle/wafer pieces on top. A perfect end to a fantastic meal. I scraped every plate clean!

Such an amazing experience. Flavor and texture explosion! haha. I'm so thankful for my friend for bringing me! :D After the dinner we got to meet the chef. Holla! I told him that I had never eaten more than a bite of lamb in one sitting and I cleaned my plate! I hope he knows that's probably the biggest compliment I can give him. haha. I'm super impressed that the chef is so young too. Only a few years older than me. This Saturday will mark their one year anniversary of FT33!! Yay!!! Best wishes to Chef Matt McCallister and the FT33 team. Actually, if they continue to do what they do, they really don't need any luck! :)

Quality of Food:

Service: 4.5

Ambiance: 4.5

Value: n/a (courtesy of Cadillac & Bon Appetit)

Overall Experience: 5

But wait... the night's not over yet! The Cadillac people have brought over Escalades to drive all the guests back to the venue. Since everyone's been drinking they shuttled us back. Never been in an Escalade before! Sweeet! We got to sit in one of the uber big Escalade ESV's. :)

Back at the venue there were more desserts (from La Duni) as well as gourmet coffee. You can also walk around and look at some of the new cars. We were stuffed, but of course I tried all the different desserts. :P

We also got a gift bag to go! Wow... I'm so happy I got to experience this event. And impressed from beginning to end, with Cadillac and FT33. Professional, welcoming, and enthusiastic. What a night! :) And the cars were really nice! If you are in the market, don't forget to check out Cadillac.

Overall Event:


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