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Friday, June 26, 2015

FT33 Guest Chef Dinner with [ONE]

Last Monday, I attended one of the dinners from FT33's Guest Chef Series. I wanted to go last year when I first heard of these dinners but never made it out. I was sure to try it this year!

They have it every 3rd Monday of each month. 8 course menu for $105 per person. Optional wine pairing +$55~ I reserved for 7 people on Monday, 6/15. The hostess informed me that the doors open at 6PM where there will be passed appetizers and cocktails. And we'll be seated for dinner around 6:45PM.

1617 Hi Line Dr.
Dallas, TX 75207
(214) 741-2629

Half of the group arrived at 6PM. We hung out at the bar where they were making their featured cocktails.

Guest Bartender: Matt Orth
Balvenie 12yr. Doublewood Penicillin. I opted for this one and asked to it to be a little sweeter. It had honey and lemon in it. It was sooooo good. And I NEVER drink whiskey because I've never liked it in anything. They definitely converted me! I usually don't drink on a weeknight either but I got a 2nd one before dinner started. :P It's all included, why not? 

Balvenie 14 yr. Caribbean Cask Old Fashioned. Most of the guys ordered this. It's more of a manly drink. hehe. One friend that knows his stuff about liquor said it was really really good. The bar ran out before we were seated for dinner though.

Waiters/waitresses also came around with white wine and a rose.

Passed Apps:
All the appetizers were nicely plated and were passed around by the waiters. Everything was tasty. We were off to a great start!
Don't remember what this is, but tasted like shrimp chips! This was pretty good, and it just kept getting better. 

Baby Corn Elotes. So cute! I love elotes.

Tomato Madeleines. My favorite of the night. They were cute, buttery, and full of flavor. And the serving platter was beautifully done with tomato vines since it was a tomato flavored madeleine. :)

Chocolate Liver Mousse Macaron. This was very interesting. The macaron is chocolate and sweet. The liver mousse filling was savory and rich. It had so much contrast but everything went together so well. The outside was crunchy, the inside was smooth. Sweet and savory. A very unique but wonderful combination.

Finally, we were all being seated at our tables. They had a pretty structured system for the dinner. Before the meal, the waitress collected all of our credit cards to enter in, then quickly returned to all of us. This way, they can get the check to us at the end of the meal without having to deal with collecting everyone's payments then. It really made a difference. We were not left waiting when we wanted to leave.

I went to the restroom before dinner started and walked by the open kitchen. I saw dozens of plates laid out and all the chefs plating the first course. I love that we can see through the kitchen. I love watching them plate. It always seems like an art form.

They welcomed everyone to the dinner and did a brief intro on the guest chefs and we are off!! Guest Chefs: Kim Floresca and Daniel Ryan from [ONE] in Chapel Hill, NC. I didn't know anything about these chefs but I'm sure that if Chef Matt McCallister invited them, then they are good at what they do.

So the way the menu was structured is that Chef Matt McCallister prepped and served dishes alternating with the dishes from Chef Kim and Chef Ryan. It wasn't what I expected. I had thought that the 3 chefs would all work together and make dishes together. All my friends kind of had the same expectation too, so we were all kinda surprised. The dishes from Chef Matt will be labeled (M), the Chefs from [ONE] will be (K/D).

(M) Summer Squash lightly cooked, Vegetable Tea, Nori. 
First course. As we were being served, everyone at the table was talking. All of a sudden I see this tattooed arm reach over me, pouring the vegetable tea. Then I looked up, and was like "Hey! This is the Chef!" Chef Matt was personally serving our table. Cool! :) It was a nice beginning to the meal. The plate was pretty and clean... in both style and flavor. Everything was light, but not bland. A good start.

(K/D) King Crab, Carolina Gold Plantation Rice, Soured Corn, White BBQ. 
This was the guest chef's first dish. OMG. So freaking amazing. It was so simple yet so complex. It's a cold dish. The large chunk of king crab under the rice was cooked perfectly. The rice with the sauce was also perfection. I wanted a giant bowl of this and I'd be happy with the dinner. The olive looking things were actually not olives and it added a nice acidity to everything. Everyone was blown away by this. This turned out to be my favorite dish of the night.

(M) Field Peas, Dried Goat Cheese. 
You know me... I hate goat cheese. But since it was dried, I could eat around it and the flavor wasn't too strong. The peas were an assortment of flavors and textures. Some seemed to have been fried/crisped, which the others were softer. I loved the difference in texture, especially the crispy ones... they had a smokiness to them.

(K/D) Black Garlic and Squid Ink Cavatelli, Krill, Aleppo, Crumb made of Pig Ears and Skin.
This was the dish I was most excited about when we got the menu since I love squid ink anything and cavatelli isn't something I get often. It wasn't what I expected... it was SO much more interesting! First of all, the cavatelli was jet black and kinda shaped like fat meal worms. haha. A little gross, but also kinda cool. It was perfectly al dente and the flavor of the cavatelli alone was wonderful. The toppings with the crumbs and krill provided a crunchy texture. Normally I don't like krill, but in this case it paired wonderfully. A friend of mine said the same thing about the krill. So much flavor and texture... again. The guest chefs are certainly outshining Chef Matt. (Which I was shocked!)

Two of my friends decided to order Whiskey Sour $6~ halfway through the meal. It was pretty. But not nearly as good as my Penicillin cocktail earlier. hehe. They liked it though. And it was only $6!!

(M) Pork Jowl, Braised Cabbages and New Crop Potatoes, Chicory, Chantrelle. 
I was also excited for this dish since pork jowls are usually really yummy. Which it was on this dish. It was like really thin shavings of pork. Super tender. The dish was good but I felt like it was missing something. The flavors were pretty one dimensional. I think a sprinkling of chili flakes would've really brightened it up?? I was a little disappointed.

(K/D) Lily Buds, Beef Cap, Vegan XO, Cucumber, Charred Eggplant. 
Another shining star. We didn't know what to expect with the vegan XO. The only time I've had XO sauce is in Chinese cuisine. The waiters explained to us that it is similar to the Chinese XO sauce, but instead of being made with meats/seafood, it was all vegan. The sauce on it's own was ok. But when paired with the beef. Magic happens!! Ahhhhhh! And the beef... oh the beef. Some of the most tender beef I've had that's not labeled "wagyu" or "kobe". Perfectly cooked. We all wished we had more than just the 2 pieces on our plates. For every bite of the beef, you had to smear it with sauce. It was delicious! This was a lot of people's favorite dish. And a very close second for me...IF I had to choose.

(M) Crocodile Tears, Seed Crisp, Basil Fermented Strawberry and Tomato. 
We were trying to guess what Crocodile Tears are the entire meal. We didn't want to google it because we all wanted to be surprised. hehe. But before this course, I went to the restroom. On the way back, some of the other tables already got it and it looked like a cheese plate. So Crocodile Tears turns out to be a goat cheese from Capriole farms in Indiana. Sigh... more goat cheese. This one was way more potent than the one in the beginning. I could smell it as soon as they put the plate in front of me. Ugh. It was almost unbearable. But I still tried it. Couldn't do it... after 2 bites.. I really tried! But I ate everything else. Another friend of mine doesn't like goat cheese either and she had the same reactions I did. This is by far my least favorite dish of the night. I felt bad for leaving pretty much the entire chunk of goat cheese on my plate. Good thing my friend took half.

(K/D) Carolina Peaches, Local Beeswax, Olive Oil Madeline, Angelica. 
The final dish of the night was a dessert by the guest chefs. The green licorice-like things on the plate was called Angelica. I had to look this one up... According to BBC: "Angelica may be familiar as the acid-green crystallized or candied strips used as a decoration on cakes and desserts, but angelica itself is a herb. It is known as ‘herb of the angels’ (hence the name) because it was believed to have medicinal properties. It’s a member of the parsley family, a tall plant with a long firm stem and bright green leaves. Candied angelica is made by boiling the stems in sugar syrup." It had a very unique flavor. Nothing I've ever had before, and I couldn't decide if I liked it or not. But other than the angelica I liked everything else. Those thin wafer things were by far my favorite. So buttery, thin, crispy, it held the dish together. the peach sorbet was a bit too sweet for some. I thought it paired with everything well. The beeswax cream was very interesting too. So many flavors in here that I don't have often!

It was a fun and interesting meal. I got to try a lot of new things I've never even heard of. But we all realized half way through the meal that we were liking all the dishes from the guest chefs. Their dishes were the clear winners of the night...every single one of them were fantastic. I was actually quite surprised. We all though that Chef Matt needed to step up his game... or wondering if he let the guest chefs have the spotlight?? I mean, we all agreed that his dishes were really good, but in comparison with the guest chefs, it wasn't as good. I really wonder what the thought process was for all the dishes from all the chefs to plan this meal. The other thing is that even though all the dishes were amazing, we felt that it didn't really have a cohesiveness for the entire meal. Wasn't that big of a deal though.

I definitely recommend getting in one of these dinners if you like to try new things. His next one is July 20th. I think that's the last one... I haven't seen any news of any other future dates. Also, if you like wine, I'd suggest the wine pairing. One of my friends regretted not doing it. And the table next to us said the wine pairing made their meal because it was so well done.

We had a lot of fun! The checks were brought out to us, included tax and gratuity already so the check out process was very fast. The service throughout the night was great too. Some of the waiters didn't know all the details about the different dishes but they were very eager to ask the kitchen and inform us.

Quality of Food:




Overall Experience:


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