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Monarch is the lofty downtown restaurant Dallas has always needed. Go there now.


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When Monarch restaurant debuts Wednesday, Mar. 10, high atop The National building in downtown Dallas, diners will find a lot to like on that 49th floor perch. And there’s a lot more than simply the best window seat in city.

Chicago chef Danny Grant is credited with the bulk of the menu at Monarch, which springs from the same Windy City group that also owns notable Chicago steakhouse Maple & Ash. More about that in a minute.

For now, trust that the guys turning out Monarch’s fresh pastas and prime steaks, chefs Eric Dreyer and Eric Freidline, are the real wizards here.

Don’t be misdirected by the restaurant trumpeting itself as a modern Italian restaurant. Other than a few pastas, the wood-fired grill and a “Bistecca” porterhouse, Monarch is a Dallas chophouse through and through. Yeah, you’ll find fresh seafood courses, a handful of light dishes and some Italian touch points. But it’s the hefty entrees that carry the flag here, especially the prime bone-in steaks, which are sourced from Chicago’s Allen Brothers and Celina’s A Bar N Ranch.

That’s a smart move. After all, a $15 salad isn’t going to pay the rent up here in this rarified air with gorgeous views of downtown. But a 50-ounce coal-grilled porterhouse steak, Alaskan king crab and U6 prawns probably can.

Fortunately, both Erics know their way around a grill, impeccably sourced seafood and a good steak.

Dreyer, you probably recall, ran the kitchen for Dean Fearing at Fearing’s restaurant at the Dallas Ritz-Carlton before Oprah recruited him to her enclave as her private chef. Freidline is no stranger to the scene either – until a couple years ago, he oversaw the cooking at Sevy’s Grill, a favorite of many in Dallas.

And since you’re probably also a careful restaurant industry observer if you’re this deep into the story, you’ll likely recognize several faces in the dining room.

On a VIPreview last weekend, for example, I espied Ravinder Singh behind the bar, Sally Evans running FOH, Yuri Tukuli as the star sommelier, and Bradley Bandfield as a floor captain. All good choices, so kudos to Monarch owner David Pisor and corporate chef Grant for corralling an all-star Dallas team.

Which brings me back to Maple & Ash, the steakhouse brand that Pizer also owns and positioned outposts in Chicago and Scottsdale. Pisor confirmed that he plans to open a Maple & Ash steakhouse in Dallas in 2022. The location? I’ll reveal that to you very soon, which will probably raise some eyebrows.

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