Marquee Grill Even Better, Now That Top Chef Tre Wilcox Has Amped Up the Menu
Tre Wilcox has rolled out a revamped menu at Marquee Grill , and it firmly places the former Top Chef competitor’s restaurant among the best to open this year. Rabbit, duck, oysters, steak—with big flavors to match. Wilcox is strutting at Marquee. Finally.
I wasn’t exactly enamored with Marquee when it first opened. Now, I look forward to going back.
“We had to start out slow” when Marquee first opened, Wilcox admitted to me during a recent tasting of the new menu where I was a guest.
“The kitchen team had to gel, but now it’s time to get a little creative.”
Without abandoning popular dishes like Wilcox’s spice-rubbed roasted chicken thighs (a recipe featured in Food & Wine Magazine and a hot seller at Marquee) with smoked red pepper sauce, Wilcox has amped up the flavor intensity, incorporating more spices, more flavors, more proteins in the selections.
To a dozen Wellfleet oysters from Cape Cod, Wilcox adds a gelee of pomegranate mignonette and powdered lemon juice he’s created with molecular magic; instead of a splash of acidity, you get a fleeting pop of tartness, then a brief wave of pomegranate essence, and, finally, the briny flavor of the oyster.
In his entrée of coffee-chile rubbed rabbit tenderloin , he reimagines a Mexican mole by utilizing the ingredients of the ground sauce as components on the plate, adding a disk of chocolate panna cotta on one side, jalepeno-spiked honey and tiny specs of pumpkin seed to the other.
No one in Dallas does venison better than Wilcox, who ligthly infuses the tenderloin with oak smoke from cooking over a wood grill, then rests the rare filet over a mound of wilted broccoli rabe and a pool of dried cherry-port wine reduction. To the side: creamy polenta enriched with butternut squash and a heavy hand of parmesan. The bite of the greens and the acidity of the sauce bring the yin to the rest of the plates yang. Simple. Intensely flavored. Balanced. Perfect.
Service has always been crisp at Marquee, and it remains a strenghth. The retro b&w motif in the dining room positively glows at night, when golden light bathes the room and everybody looks fantastic. (If your guests don’t look fantastic, you need barman Jason Kosmas to mix you a drink.) In the open kitchen, Wilcox puts on quite a show. He’s a whirling dervish, calling orders one moment, working the line the next, wiping his hands then stepping into the dining room a moment later for a meet-and-greet.
“This is a big opportunity for me to show what I can do. The people who come to HPV (Highland Park Village, where Marquee is located) travel all over the world,” Wilcox said. “They know good food, and they won’t stand for anything less from us.”
33 Highland Park Vlg Dallas, 214-522-6035