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John Tesar hits an early home run with Spoon Bar and Kitchen


crudo sampler includes geoduck, lobster, uni, tuna, scallops and a whole lot of wow

a puff of smoke blankets smoked scallop crudo topped with salmon roe and herbs

red wine poached octopus, hand-rolled penne pasta, marinara and bone marrow

housemade squid ink pasta with little neck clams, nantucket bay scallops, lemon, garlic, olive oil

that amazing grilled octopus

big eye tuna, pounded thin, draped over foie gras, toasted baguette, plus a confetti of chives

Bad-boy chef John Tesar‘s new Dallas restaurant, Spoon Bar & Kitchen, really wowed me a couple of nights ago. Comfy seafoam hues, cozy alcoves, counter seating right up front, a chef’s counter in the back, a simple, two-page, seafood-centric menu that’s a crazy quilt of fresh fish and shellfish. And no drama. Service is crisp and precise, the bar man knows how to pour a stiff drink, and the kitchen operates with a quiet, organized buzz.

While I was eating dinner at Spoon, the electromagnetic spectrum was buzzing with the national broadcast of Top Chef Seattle, on which Tesar was the evening’s impetuous star. Yet there was nary a peep from Tesar about the show. No celebratory toasts, no throng of supporters crowding around a tv. In fact, there’s no tv in the restaurant. Instead, Tesar propped his glasses on his forehead and got down to business, cooking, grilling, plating, chatting.

On the way out, I asked Tesar about the show and why he hadn’t brought it up.

“This restaurant really is my focus,” he told me. “Nothing is more important to me than making Spoon successful.”

If Tesar can keep the same level of focus and precision I experienced at Spoon, his new seafood boite will rise to the top of the Dallas restaurant scene.

Of the may dishes I tried, one of my favorite dishes of the 20 or so I sampled: the charred octopus with crisp, sweet pork belly and pequillo peppers. The crudo sampler is the best raw seafood dish in town. But really, almost everything thrilled. Go. You will be impressed.

Spoon Bar & Kitchen, 8220 Westchester Drive, Dallas, (855) 947-7666.

 

5 Comments

  1. Mike Hiller    2/25/2013

    Becca, was that a recent visit?

  2. Becca    2/25/2013

    It is probably the best seafood in town! Our dessert was TERRIBLE! We even didn’t finish it! The new pastry chef left much to be desired! Our server was very poor as well. He spilled our wine, then refilled it with whatever was in the restaurant ice bucket, he was distracted and didn’t listen to anything that we said. He then badmouthed other chefs to us! Very unprofessional! I don’t know if we will go back!

  3. Mike Hiller    2/25/2013

    Chris, I’ve heard service can be spotty. Tesar says crisp service is essential to Spoon’s success, so let’s see if he can pull it together. As for the food, I’ve eaten at Spoon three times and never left disappointed. I approach Spoon not as a fancy restaurant but as a neighborhood spot — one that specializes in seafood, nonetheless — with excellent food, usually good service (Chris, their GM, seems genuinely dedicated) and a comfortable, cozy dining room.

  4. Christopher Bird    2/25/2013

    One of the hardest reviews to write because the restuarant is in 2 halves. The products coming out of the kitchen are phenomenal. Beautifully plated, beautifully cooked and very tasty indeed. On the night we went, the service was a disaster. A waiter who had no idea how to manage the pacing. Intruded when not wanted, ignored us when needed.
    It’s a hard place to expedite, the expediter was doing a decent job of keeping up. Clearly well organized. Good touch with the towel to ensure the dishes were spotless on the way out. But that little corner is a traffic jam.
    Seated at the kitchen counter – odd that it seats 5 people. One can sort of see into the kitchen. But there is a towering pile of plates that makes it tricky.

  5. Gail    11/26/2012

    I went there last week and loved it.

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