Pet of the week • 12.10.10

Danali is a delightful dog. She’s a shepherd mix with a sleek and shiny brown coat with black highlights. At 10 months old, she weighs 46 pounds and is just about fully grown. Danali is happy, friendly and very playful. She loves people and is hoping for a home for the holidays.

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Danali and many other great dogs, cats, puppies and kittens are available for adoption from the Dallas Animal Services Adoption Center, located at 1818 N. Westmoreland at I-30 on the northeast corner. The shelter is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.; closed Mondays. The cost to adopt is $85 for dogs and $55 for cats and includes spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations, microchip and more. All dogs are negative for heartworms, and cats have been tested for FeLV and FIV.  For more information, visit DallasAnimalServices.org or call 214-671-0249.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 10, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Ooh-la-la

There’s a reason The French Room has a rep as one of Dallas’ best restaurants — because it is

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor jones@dallasvoice.com

MAIS OUI | The food at The French Room is as impressive as its decor.

Overall Rating 4.5 Stars

The French Room inside the Hotel Adolphus, 1303 Commerce St. Open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner,  6–9:30 p.m. 214-742-8200. HotelAdolphus.com.

There’s fine dining, there’s special event dining, and then there’s The French Room. Chef de cuisine Marcos Segovia has maintained the high standards of this jewel box restaurant, with food as elaborate and impressive as the decor. Despite a mix-up on the bill that was quickly resolved, service is almost impeccable

Food: 5 stars
Atmosphere:  4 stars
Service:  4 stars
Price:  Expensive

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Mark Twain defined a literary classic as a book everyone praised and nobody read. The same might be said of any creative undertaking with a long-standing reputation, even a restaurant. Sure, it was once great, but has it maintained those qualities, or do people’s expectations simply mask its weaknesses?

So after years of The French Room at the Hotel Adolphus getting credit as Dallas’ best dining establishment, a reassessment was in order.

Wow. Or rather, still wow.

Some things just resist diminishment. Certainly the room itself — an ornate rococo jewel box of space that almost makes Versailles look like a double-wide in Abilene — has retained its bones.  Soothing seafoam blues and angelic pinks on the walls and ceiling, soft ecru linens and comfy medallion back chairs inject a luxe Gallic panache into the boots-and-denim familiarity of most Texas-based restaurants. (It’s one of the few places in town where men are still required to wear a jacket.)

The mechanics of service are also intact. Waiters invisibly replace silverware for each course and refill water glasses with stealthy precision. The sommelier introduces the wines with authority but not pomposity. Plates are deftly serves from the left and removed from the right. (A mix-up on the bill on our visit was unfortunate but quickly resolved.)

But while bad service or a shabby atmosphere can ruin a good meal, it’s the food that should be the star, and here, it still is.

The menu at The French Room permits one of two prix fixe choices: An elaborate feast chosen by chef de cuisine Marcos Segovia ($110), or a three-course dinner (usually $80, but $50 Tuesdays through Thursdays) that allows some a la carte selecting by the diner. We went with the three-course, without disappointment.

The meal, of course, begins with a bread basket (the fennel wafer and oat bread were fantastic) and a complimentary amuse bouche of lobster salad with white grape and chanterelles, where crisp, earthy texture of the seafood combined seamlessly with the rich, soft fruit. But that’s just the beginning.

VERSAILLES REDUX | Compared to the usual denim-and-leather style at most Dallas restaurants, The French Room still requires men to wear a coat to dinner. Nice.

The appetizer of Hudson Valley foie gras was a perfect starter for the season. With its autumnal influences of cranberry reduction (so thick and tart, it almost tasted of raspberries), it’s a soothing cold-weather bite. The spongy fluff of banana bread, topped by a wedge of pecan crust, melted effortlessly on the tongue — helped along, no doubt, by the glass of Sauternes-like Torrentes wine that came with it. The floral, apricot-like notes with a bit of pear educed the fatty richness from the liver and bread.

The crab cakes took on an herbaceous quality, with lobster sauce imbuing the crab with a distinct muscularity, while the combination of goat cheese and polenta, pancetta and figs on slightly warm spinach elevated the salad to haute cuisine. (An apple cider sorbet, served in a charming bloom of a cup, makes for an excellent palate cleaner.)

The veal tenderloin, turned a vibrant red from the intense Chambord sauce as well as the medium rare prep, can only be described as creamy, with the beef nearly blue alongside an equally rich risotto with Spanish chorizo spicy. The boldness of the chorizo is not exactly French in character, but then who needs to be a purist? The black angus beef entrée melted in the mouth.

A rare misstep was with the halibut. It came as a beautiful piece of fish: big, white as a mountain with its top of toasted cocoanut. The cooking was also spot-on, though the sauce was too salty, interrupting the flavor of the fish.

Any place calling itself The French Room better know something about pastry, and naturally it does, under the eye of Joe Garza. If there was anything wrong with the Grand Marnier soufflé, it was just the strength of the orange sauce, which swirled around inside the lightest custard balloon imaginable. Soufflés can be tricky, but this one nearly floated out the dish.  Just as delicious was the banana bread pudding: Chunky but smooth, served warm with pralines and bourbon glacé.

There’s fine dining and there’s event dining, but The French Room is something else entirely: A restaurant whose food brilliantly mirrors the extravagance of its setting, where style is confluent in all disciplines. A classic? Yes. But one people definitely want to come back to again and again.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 10, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Pet of the week • 11.12.10

Rock is a gorgeous black-and-white collie mix with one blue and one brown eye. He also has the greatest grin and a personality to match. Rock is 3 years old, very friendly and affectionate. He sits on command and loves to run and play. He’ll make a wonderful companion for someone with an active lifestyle.

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Rock and many other great dogs, cats, puppies and kittens are available for adoption from the Dallas Animal Services Adoption Center, located at 1818 N. Westmoreland at I-30 on the northeast corner. The shelter is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.; closed Mondays. The cost to adopt is $85 for dogs and $55 for cats and includes spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations, microchip and more. All dogs are negative for heartworms, and cats have been tested for FeLV and FIV.  For more information, visit DallasAnimalServices.org or call 214-671-0249.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 12, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Pet of the week • 10.29.10

As her name implies, Gemma is a real gem. This beautiful white-and-cream-colored Labrador retriever mix is about 1 year old and weighs 54 pounds. Gemma is as friendly and outgoing as she looks. She’s a typical Lab, with lots of energy, always ready to play and personality plus.

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Gemma and  many other great dogs, cats, puppies and kittens are available for adoption from the Dallas Animal Services Adoption Center, located at 1818 N. Westmoreland at I-30 on the northeast corner. The shelter is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.; closed Mondays. The cost to adopt is $85 for dogs and $55 for cats and includes spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations, microchip and more. All dogs are negative for heartworms, and cats have been tested for FeLV and FIV.  For more information, visit DallasAnimalServices.org or call 214-671-0249.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 29, 2010

—  Kevin Thomas

Pet of the week • 10.01.10

BruceBruce is a 2-year-old beagle mix. He has a short, white coat with a black-and-brown mask on half of his face and a sprinkling of black freckles on his ears. Bruce is a happy guy who smiles a lot and stands on his back feet to clap his front paws together when he’s excited. He’s good with other dogs and just loves people.

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Bruce and  many other great dogs, cats, puppies and kittens are available for adoption from the Dallas Animal Services Adoption Center, located at 1818 N. Westmoreland at I-30 on the northeast corner. The shelter is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.; closed Mondays. The cost to adopt is $85 for dogs and $55 for cats and includes spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations, microchip and more. All dogs are negative for heartworms, and cats have been tested for FeLV and FIV. For more information, visit DallasAnimalServices.org or call 214-671-0249.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 01, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Pet of the week • 09.17.10

MasterMaster is an unusual but regal-looking mix of collie and shar pei. He has the coloring of a collie, with a short red coat and a plush white bib, but the definite facial features of a shar pei. Master is 10 months old and pretty much full grown at about 55 pounds. Despite his rather serious expression, Master is friendly, gentle and calm.

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Master and many other great dogs, cats, puppies and kittens are available for adoption from the Dallas Animal Services Adoption Center, located at 1818 N. Westmoreland at I-30 on the northeast corner. The shelter is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.; closed Mondays. The cost to adopt is $85 for dogs and $55 for cats and includes spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations, microchip and more. All dogs are negative for heartworms, and cats have been tested for FeLV and FIV. For more information, visit www.DallasAnimalServices.org or call 214-671-0249.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 17, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Pet of the week • 08.20.10

Sylvester
Sylvester

Sylvester is a beautiful black, tan and cream-colored shepherd mix with a soft coat and warm brown eyes. He’s about a year old, is very friendly and has a great personality — not to mention a super smile. Sylvester is always ready to play and is eager to please. He’ll make a wonderful canine companion.

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Sylvester and many other great dogs, cats, puppies and kittens are available for adoption from the Dallas Animal Services Adoption Center, located at 1818 N. Westmoreland at I-30 on the northeast corner. The shelter is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.; closed Mondays. The cost to adopt is $85 for dogs and $55 for cats and includes spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations, microchip and more. All dogs are negative for heartworms, and cats have been tested for FeLV and FIV. For more information, visit www.DallasAnimalServices.org or call 214-671-0249.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 20, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Business Briefs • 07.23.10

Karim Harati-Zadeh opened a second Spectrum Chiropractic & Acupuncture location at 1300A W. Arkansas Lane in Arlington. His first office is on Lemmon Avenue in Oak Lawn.

Derrick Dawson passed his Texas real estate salesperson licensure exam and has joined Texas Pride Realty in Carrollton.

Eric Johnson has formed a new law firm with John Helms and Manuel Diaz at 6060 N. Central Expressway.

Turtle Creek Consignment & Estate Sales, a gay-owned, Web-based business, recently opened their warehouse showroom to the public. Located at 3737 Atwell Street, behind the Home Depot on Lemmon Avenue, they specialize in new and pre-owned luxury home furnishings, home décor, collectibles, fine art, vintage home accessories vintage jewelry, crystal, glass and pottery. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Lula B’s moved from its Lower Greenville Avenue location to 2639 Main St. in Deep Ellum. Their second store is on Riverfront (Industrial) Boulevard and features 80 vendors selling funky, kitschy and collectible, vintage and pimpadelic items.

—  Kevin Thomas