Jason Weaver and Cory Garrison, the chefs behind Texas Spice at the new Dallas Omni Hotel, are taking the local/seasonal thing to the extreme. They cook with gusto. Their farm-to-table menu takes the concept beyond the field and right to the barn.
“I’m buying local milk, the kind with a thick layer of cream on top,” Garrison told me over a recent dinner at which I was a guest. “We’re going to churn our own butter. Our chickens are local. Once we’ve fully ramped up, I won’t just buy local produce—I’ll buy whole crops of fruits and vegetables and jar all the extra to use in the off-season, just like my grandmother used to do.”
It’s mindful eating. You won’t mind a bit.
I had Garrison’s cage-free deviled eggs drizzled with Texas olive oil, pigs head fritters with onion-parmesan jam, and hanger steak lettuce wraps strewn with caramelized onions and local feta. All of them were terrific $8 appetizers. Any one of them would suffice as an entrée.
“We’re going to churn our own butter. Our chickens are local. Once we’ve fully ramped up, I’ll buy whole crops of fruits and vegetables and jar all the extra to use in the off-season, just like my grandmother used to do.”
The mains have bushels of flavor, too: fresh redfish with charred tomatoes, black beans, jalapenos and avocado vinaigrette; gulf shrimp with cheddar and chorizo grits; wild salmon with beet risotto and Texas ruby red grapefruit. The menu is ambitious. Almost all of it succeeds. (I didn’t particularly care for the chicken and dumplings, but I’m not about to criticize Garrison’s grandmother’s recipe.)
Done up in dark woods and iron, with big windows, tall ceilings and exposed brick, Spice Market is a stunner. A big chandelier sculpted from the limbs of an inverted tree hangs right up front, anchored to a barrel vaulted entrance of brick and wood. Just inside the dining room sits a farm table with pretty glass jars of confiture, fruits and veggies. Towards the back: painted garage doors and secluded alcoves. The whole effect is rustic and warm, as if the space were constructed with the repurposed guts of old farm sheds.
Long community tables soldier the swanky bar, while two-tops and larger tables with wooden seats are spaced far enough apart that you won’t be caught spilling secrets (this is a hotel, after all).
With a seductive menu, mindful cooking, and reasonable prices, eating at Texas Spice is a delight. Resisting the second (and third) cookie on a plate of the best chocolate chip cookies in Dallas, though, was torture.
(A glass of ice-cold farm milk only goes so far.)
Texas Spice in the Omni Dallas Hotel, 555 S. Lamar Street, Dallas, 214-652-4180