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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.

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