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DINING IN DALLAS, Part Two by John Mariani
DINING IN DALLAS, Part Two
by John Mariani
been one of Dallas' preeminent chefs,
first having made his mark with Routh Street Café, where he
Texas ingredients with nouvelle techniques that were wholly
complementary. Afterwards he stayed closer to traditional Texas
and cowboy cookery at Star Canyon, then was in and out of the city's
dining scene for years before opening his namesake Stephan Pyles
restaurant four years ago, and that seemed a culmination of his
work and culinary thinking. So Samar comes as quite a surprise, a
restaurant that showcases his affinities for the flavors and styles of
Mediterranean cuisines, from Spain to the Middle and Far East, and he,
along with executive chef Matt MacAllisster does it all with amazing
any other in the USA, proven by the
number of fine Asian restaurants and ethnic enclaves there. Shinsei is
one of the
best, an effort by co-owners Lynae Fearing and Tracy Rathbun (below), to give
Texas dash to Japanese food.
The pristine quality of the sushi is evident in everything I tasted, from pure, unadorned sashimi to to various rolls like spicy tuna with a Texas-style habanero mayo and avocado to the Shinsei specials, like the hot crab hand roll of jumbo crab meat, radish sprouts. diced japaleño, mayo and habanero, or the "Elvis 'Mack' Sashimi of Spanish mackerel, yuzu, olive oil, shiso, and Japanese cucumber.
Starters are a good array of generous items, like coconut shrimp with japaleño peppers and a delicious yellow curry dipping sauce, some plump garlic pork potstickers, and lettuce wraps with chicken, rock shrimp, or tenderloin. There's also a selection of five tempura items. For main courses--again Texas sized--the braised short ribs with noodles is a stand-out, as are pan-seared jumbo scallops with Asian risotto in soy brown butter, and tamarind BBQ chicken that is actually roasted and served with grilled summer squash.
of sweet things at the end of a
meal but Shinsei takes as much pride in its desserts as everything
else, so you get chocolate crème
brûlée, banana parfait, and "Lynae's
famous oatmeal cookies," which go remarkably well with a glass of Port.
Shinsei is open for lunch Fri. only; for
dinner, Mon.-Sat. Sushi ranges from $7-$18, starters $6-$22, and main
1722 Routh Street
Tei-An promotes itself primarily as a soba noodle house, but there is a great deal more on the menu here that draws people who want something a little different but still within the realm of the familiar. Chef-owner Teiichi "Teach" Sakurai took a space at One Arts Plaza in the Deep Elum neighborhood where his charming Asian servers gently instruct those who need a little visual aids on the way the menu is constructed and the food eaten. They make it fun as well as a learning experience. There is a chart with nutritional data about buckwheat noodles, as well as info on its healthfulness. To me, it just tasted great. Indeed, it is hard to imagine anyone not taking to this style of food enthusiastically, so riddled with tastes and textures that will come as a delightful surprise to most palates.
As in Italy, noodles are prepared in myriad ways, and many restaurants in Japan serve nothing but soba, whose aficionados say they are at their best when cold and put into a dipping sauce or broth. Tei-An serves about 30 varieties, from black sesame soba and Texas pecan soba with dipping sauces to tempura soba and fried tofu soba in soup. There's even a Japanese take on spaghetti alla carbonara, here made with soba. There is also Sanuki style udon noodle dishes.
But much of the interest at Tei-An is on the lefthand "Beginnings" side of the menu, where you'll find a tangy white seaweed salad; stuffed sepia with buckwheat grain; tuna tartare, and fried shisito peppers. "From the Land" section involves dishes like Kurobuta black pork on skewers and miso-braised washu beef with truffled mashed potatoes. So, you can see that Mr. Sakurai expands the possibilities of Asian flavors into other countries' cuisines. Every day he makes numerous specials, so it's unlikely a weekly visit to Tei-An will ever deplete the entire menu. Which really is the appeal of a place like this, which is wide-open, very comfortable, done in serene colors of red-brown wood paneling and soft gray banquettes, its tables simply and well appointed to Asian ceramics.
Mr. Sakurai lives up to his nickname in the most delectable way for he is indeed someones who teaches the rest of of the diversity of Japanese and his own cuisine.
Tei-An is open Sun., Tues.-Thurs, for lunch and for dinner nightly. Starters range from $4.75-$17.50, Soba from $8-$20; specials $8-$32.
To read Part One of this
NEW YORK CORNER
NEW YORK CORNER
JUST ONE MORE THING TO
LOVE ABOUT AMERICA
WHY NOT JUST KEEP EXTENDING THAT METAPHOR?
✉ Guidelines for submissions: QUICK BYTES publishes only events, special dinners, etc, open to the public, not restaurant openings or personnel changes. When submitting please send the most pertinent info, incl. tel # and site, in one short paragraph as simple e-mail text, WITH DATE LISTED FIRST, as below. Thanks. John Mariani
May 15 – 16, 21 – 23, 28 –31 in San
Francisco, CA, The
will host the temporary exhibit “From
Earth to 5-Star.” Exhibit will look the rich history of food in
Area and how it has impacted the way San Francisco, the nation and the
think about food. $15pp or $5pp for SFMHS members. Visit: http://earthto5star.com
or call (415) 537-1105 x100 for more info.
* On May 16th in Portland, OR, Cochon 555 holds the only heritage pig and chef competition in the U.S., with 5 Chefs, 5 Pigs and 5 Winemakers working to raise awareness for heritage breeds: Gabriel Rucker, Naomi Pomeroy, Jason Barwikowski, Andy Ricker, and Cathy Whims; winemakers incl. Elk Cove Vineyards, Bethel Heights Vineyard, Domaine Drouhin Oregon, Soter Vineyards, Domaine Serene. To be held at The Governor Hotel. Visit www.cochon555.com.
* Starting May 17 in Los Angeles, Drago Centro is introducing “The People’s Cocktail” contest. Twitter followers can submit favorite original cocktail recipe for chance to appear on summer menu. Follow @dragocentro for additional info or call 213-228-8998.
*On May 21, Le Titi De Paris in Arlington Hts., IL, will highlight Cakebread Cellars of the Napa Valley. $85p p, 847-506-0222.
May 22, the Southern Food and
Beverage Museum in New
Orleans, LA will
host a discussion and tasting of the classic southern drink, the mint
Food and drinks included, $20 for Non-members, $15 for members. Then,
Butler will sign her newest cookbook, River
while Chef Doug Clark prepares Mussels Rockefeller. Free for
members, $10 for non-members. Visit www.southernfood.org.
* On May 27 in Peoria Heights, Ill, June restaurant will host a 6-course Grower Dinner, paired with wines, with the chefs from Epiphany Farms Enterprises. $125 pp, Call 309-682-JUNE (5863).
* From June 4-12, in NYC, the Gourmet Latino Festival makes its debut at the Astor Center , a celebration of Latin gastronomy and culture, with over 30 food and beverage experts, incl. chef Aarón Sánchez and noted mixologists, who will showcase regional dishes, wines, spirits, beers, cocktails and gourmet coffees. Local Latin spots will tie-in via “Authentic Dining Week.” $65-$85 per seminar and grand tasting event. Visit www.gourmetlatinofestival.com.
6, in Clayton, GA, Persimmon Creek Vineyards presents
Southern Accents Dinner; an
evening of Southern cuisine prepared by Chef Jay Swift, of 4th and Swift,
Atlanta, and Persimmon Creek wine paired by Winemaker Caroline
pp. Call 706-212-7380.
Everett Potter's Travel Report:
I consider this the best and savviest blog of its kind on the web. Potter is a columnist for USA Weekend, Diversion, Laptop and Luxury Spa Finder, a contributing editor for Ski and a frequent contributor to National Geographic Traveler, ForbesTraveler.com and Elle Decor. "I’ve designed this site is for people who take their travel seriously," says Potter. "For travelers who want to learn about special places but don’t necessarily want to pay through the nose for the privilege of staying there. Because at the end of the day, it’s not so much about five-star places as five-star experiences." THIS WEEK:
Eating Las Vegas is the new on-line site for Virtual Gourmet contributor John A. Curtas., who since 1995 has been commenting on the Las Vegas food scene and reviewing restaurants for Nevada Public Radio. He is also the restaurant critic for KLAS TV, Channel 8 in Las Vegas, and his past reviews can be accessed at KNPR.org. Click on the logo below to go directly to his site.
Tennis Resorts Online: A Critical Guide to the World's Best Tennis Resorts and Tennis Camps, published by ROGER COX, who has spent more than two decades writing about tennis travel, including a 17-year stretch for Tennis magazine. He has also written for Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel, New York Magazine, Travel & Leisure, Esquire, Money, USTA Magazine, Men's Journal, and The Robb Report. He has authored two books-The World's Best Tennis Vacations (Stephen Greene Press/Viking Penguin, 1990) and The Best Places to Stay in the Rockies (Houghton Mifflin, 1992 & 1994), and the Melbourne (Australia) chapter to the Wall Street Journal Business Guide to Cities of the Pacific Rim (Fodor's Travel Guides, 1991). THIS WEEK:
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nickonwine: An engaging, interactive wine column by Nick Passmore, Artisanal Editor, Four Seasons Magazine; Wine Columnist, BusinessWeek.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.nickonwine.com.
MARIANI'S VIRTUAL GOURMET NEWSLETTER is published weekly. Editor/Publisher: John Mariani. Contributing Writers: Robert Mariani, John A. Curtas, Edward Brivio, Mort Hochstein, Suzanne Wright, and Brian Freedman. Contributing Photographers: Galina Stepanoff-Dargery, Bobby Pirillo. Technical Advisor: Gerry McLoughlin.
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