As a generally impatient person, the hardest part about keeping tabs on openings, closing and trends is waiting. Waiting for permits, waiting for soft openings, waiting for tables. It's champagne problems, sure, especially given that I have literally nothing at stake when it comes to restaurants opening or not. But because I've watched Jason Dady sneakily open restaurants for the past four-plus years as food and nightlife editor, I've learned to ... wait.
After being in Dallas for his first wave of uber exclusive family/client openings, and not wanting to review a restaurant that's limiting how many guests it'll serve during its first week, I popped in Thursday for lunch. I know, a full THREE DAYS after they officially opened.
Though many a good memory was made at Lüke (RIP), the transition from John Besh brasserie to Jason Dady chophouse is lovely. Shades of blue cover the space, along with granite, mirrors, blue linens, blue-grey napkins — it's certainly a lot to take in. The seating now includes plush banquettes (in a dark blue hue) and several communal tables. It's contemporary, thoughtful, serene and inviting.
Once you get past the aesthetics, take in the service. No fork goes unchanged, no thank you goes un-welcomed.
The menu, bound in thick leather, deserves several minutes of study. Branded thoroughly, inside and out, it's modern and sleek. This is Dady's first opening after being a successful turn on Iron Chef Gauntlet,
so the stakes are high and the attention to detail shows.
When it comes to the food, we couldn't get enough of the blueberry muffins with pink peppercorn butter. Our shabu shabu starter — Dady's riff on hot rock dishes — suffered technical difficulties and though the staff tried several times to make it right, time restraints forced us to give up hope. Give it a minute, and order the Parisa instead. An Alsatian recipe that hails from the Hondo/Castroville area, Parisa combines lean beef, lime, jalapeño, sharp cheddar and onion for a tasty, Texan bite. The Bibb lettuce salad contained probably one of the best soft-boiled eggs I've eaten in recent memory and a dinner-size portion with added chicken or salmon would make for a great meal. Instead, I went with the lunch portion of the culotte steak with brussels sprouts and a blood orange gastrique that brightened up the roasted veg.
To end the meal? Freshly spun blue cotton candy. Yes, they have an industrial-sized machine. Yes, it's as magical and goofy at it sounds.
There's so much more of the menu to explore, including the sandwiches, family-style sides and cocktail menu, but for now, Dady's latest is showing plenty of range.
125 E. Houston St., (210) 227-4455.