Tasting Notes: High steaks

RCSH ToastLots of news in the area of beef in Dallas this week. First is the official opening last night of the newest Ruth’s Chris Steak House (the 147th) in Dallas’ Uptown area. Its address is Cedar Springs, but it’s a far cry from the old Ruth’s Chris on Cedar Springs just outside the Cathedral of Hope, which closed a number of years ago. Rather than a ribbon-cutting, RCSH opened with a “steak cutting,” and a thick-cut filet certainly is a good way to inaugurate a beef factory. (The resto also made a donation to Big Brothers/Big Sisters of $9,000, raised during the soft opening last weekend. I even met BB/BS Lone Star’s new CEO, Pierce Bush, the grandson of Bush 41. Nice guy. Kinda short. … We didn’t talk politics.)

Sundays through Fridays from 4:30–6:30 p.m. is happy hour, with $8 food options, including full-sized sandwiches and other items (some normally as much as $20) selling for just eight bucks. The decor is nice, the bar spacious, the servers friends. I’ll check it out for a review as soon as I can. (Until then, check out some photos from the opening below.)

If you want to have a beautiful evening at a more established steakhouse, SER Steak + Spirits at the top of the Anatole has quite an offer for you. On Wednesday (Nov. 11), the restaurant is hosting an exclusive wine dinner … well, really a champagne dinner.

Clovis Taittinger, the eldest child of Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger who heads the legendary estate (based in Riems, France) will present bubbly pairings from his brand at the four-course dinner (plus dessert). Among the items served will be the latest cuvee, a 2006 Comtes de Champagne blanc de blanc. It’s very limited seating, so they haven’t even revealed the price, but if you want to check out the rare experience, call 214-761-7479. The dinner begins with a reception at 6:30 p.m.

You probably will spend a lot less on Wednesday if you attend a beer dinner at Kent Rathbun‘s newest restaurant, Hickory. Franconia Brewery will serve local craft beers matched to the four-course dinner, for $55. For reservations, call 972-712-7077.

Knife Fight 1Former Rathbun chef Tre Wilcox will compete tonight on the Esquire Network’s new series Knife Fight, airing at 9:30 p.m. Wilcox will face off against Spanish chef Luis Bollo of NYC’s Salinas (the judge is former Top Chef winner Ilan Hall) … On Monday, Nov. 16, NorthPark Center‘s latest eatery, chef Tim ByresThe Theodore, opens. … This Saturday is the Indian holiday of Diwali (Festival of Lights), but India Palace on Preston and LBJ will celebrate on Wednesday with a special dinner, offered from 5:30–10 p.m. … closer to the gayborhood, Scott Gottlich‘s new Kansas City-style barbecue joint, 18h and Vine (located locally on Maple Avenue), is open for lunch and dinner.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Dallas police seek help in identifying suspect

Screen shot 2014-12-05 at 2.48.03 PM

Dallas police have received a large number of reports in the last week of vehicle burglaries in the Uptown area, and have asked for the public’s help in identifying a suspect in at least one of the incidents.

The man, pictured above, is described as a Latin male, age 25-30, driving a late-model red- or maroon-colored Jeep with four doors and paper tags. He was photographed by a security camera committing one of the vehicle burglaries.

Most of the offenses have occurred in apartment complex parking garages, with several vehicles targeted during a single offense. The suspect or suspects are hitting vehicles in which electronics have been left.

Anyone that can identify the suspect or who has additional information is asked to contact the Dallas Police Central Investigative Unit at 214-670-4414.

—  Tammye Nash

Sam’s Club temporarily blocked from building in Uptown

East Village

Proposed Sam’s Club would be north of Cityplace tower

Judge Emily Tobolowsky granted the East Village Neighborhood Association a temporary restraining order on Friday afternoon halting Walmart from moving ahead on its plans to build a Sam’s Club in the Cityplace area.

Tobolowsky was filling in for Judge Phyllis Lister Brown. She questioned attorneys for both sides as well as city attorneys defending its neighborhood notification of change of zoning. Some of her questions at the morning hearing indicated she was hedging on the side of not pushing ahead with a project that was not actually her case.

The restraining order stops the city from issuing a building permit for the 100,000-square-foot retail space.

Among the variances granted by the city is one involving parking. The city has granted a variance requiring fewer spaces than required by ordinance because customers may shop in the area using DART transportation. Cityplace station is a short walk from the planned location.

Demolition permits have already been granted. The restraining order does not cover those because even if the Sam’s Club project is halted, The Trammell Crow Company may move forward with other retail development. The neighborhood association was not challenging that.

The controversy revolves around what a mega-store does to a neighborhood by putting small retailers out of business and creating massive traffic jams on already-crowded streets with no plans to upgrade those streets.

The closest Sam’s Club to Uptown was on Park Lane and Greenville Avenue. That store remained open less than 10 years. Since the site was abandoned by the company, no new retailer has taken up the space. The acres of empty parking lots surrounding the empty megastore has added to urban blight in an area that leads the city in crime just blocks away from NorthPark.

In court, the neighborhood association argued that the rezoning request was for mixed-use development. Their attorney said they were expecting something similar to West Village, just blocks away on the opposite side of Central Expressway. They argued one megastore is not mixed-use development.

The neighborhood also argued that as Uptown has become more densely developed with mid-rise and high-rise structures, a megastore does not mesh with the area’s growth.

—  David Taffet

It’s National Tequila Day — celebrate!


A la carte tacos at Urban Taco

I take national holidays seriously. I mean, if somebody took the time to put “national” in front of a few words on a particular date, I should honor that effort. And it’s not mine to pick and choose. Do I call my mom on Mother’s Day but ignore my dad a month later? Of course not.

And so, in anticipation of today, July 24, National Tequila Day, I did my required research. Call it my tequatechism.

That research included a trip to Urban Taco on McKinney, to see if this Uptown taqueria was holding strong since I reviewed it nearly three years. And I’m happy to report, it’s strong as ever (and still better than the one at Mockingbird Station).

This drive-by tasting (and sipping) was looking not just at how well the menu worked for busy luncheoners, but whether the tequila selection was worth spending National Tequila Day here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Private | Social closes for good

PS salmonThis Friday is our Food Issue, so as a kind of preview, I lament here the closing of Private | Social, the Uptown restaurant that was opened by Top Chef fave Tiffany Derry less than two years ago.

I liked the restaurant when it opened, and while crowds dropped off over time, the food remained good (and the beverage program was top-notch, too.) Derry left earlier this year, and a new chef, Najat Kanacche, was doing some remarkable things with molecular gastronomy. I ate there just last week, and enjoyed smoked salmon marinated in grapefruit (pictured — hanging from a hook!) and the grilled fish, as well as all the many clever courses the chef perfected in her short time there. I had hoped to write a follow-up review this week, but alas, that won’t be necessary.

No word yet on what will take over the McKinney Avenue space.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Meal deal: Salata opens in Uptown

Screen shot 2013-04-17 at 2.45.11 PMThe best way to “go green” in Uptown today is with a salad from the neighborhood’s newest eatery, Salata. It’s been open to walk-ins and guests for a few days, but the official grand opening is Thursday. And it pays off in a few ways.

First, all day long they will be serving $5 salads (usually $8). Second, if you’re among the first 50 guests (it opens at 11 a.m.), you’ll win a gift card, ranging from $5 to $50.

But the big pay-off might be to your body. The salads and wraps here are all organic and gluten free; in addition to four lettuce options (including spinach), there are free 42 add-ons (from snow peas to strawberries), 10 house-made dressings and an assortment of proteins. You can also enjoy some bread, soup (check out the tomato basil), even a cookie for dessert since you were good to start with. And if you’re real lucky, maybe the Uptown location’s owner, Raul Ruiz (pictured), will be on-site to welcome you. Beefcake might not be on the menu, but you can get a side of it with Raul.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Business Briefs: AssociaTitle names Mark Sadlek director of business development

AssociaTitle names Mark Sadlek director of business development

Mark Sadlek

AssociaTitle announced it appointed Mark J. Sadlek director of business development at its corporate headquarters in the heart of Uptown Dallas at Crescent Court.

“We are thrilled to be adding Mark Sadlek to the AssociaTitle team,” said AssociaTitle President Paul Reyes. “He is a seasoned real estate professional in the Dallas area with a track record of proven success and will serve both our clients and our company well.”

Sadlek joins AssociaTitle from Republic Title of Texas, where he served as vice president of business development and director of coaching services. He worked to build and promote the company externally with Realtors, developers and lenders. His focus also included business coaching and training.

He has also served as vice president of business development for American Title and as home mortgage consultant for Shelter Mortgage & Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. Previous to his work in the North Dallas real estate industry, Sadlek worked in marketing and sales for almost 20 years and was intimately involved in the start-up of two companies, VerCeram and Velux-America.

For the past nine years, Sadlek has worked in the North Dallas real estate industry, building positive relationships with local Realtors and lenders. He was awarded the 2010 Affiliate of the Year Award from MetroTex Association of Realtors, served on the MetroTex Board as an affiliate appointee board member, and chaired the Affiliate Forum Committee of MetroTex.

He was a co-founder and co-chair of Leadership Lambda Inc., an LGBT leadership development organization. He was also a board member of Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA) and has chaired the Heart Strings Fundraiser at the Majestic Theatre. Additionally, Sadlek served on the Board of Governors for the Human Rights Campaign, as well as a co-chair of the Dallas-Fort Worth Federal Club.

Ernst & Young Announces Gross Up for Jan. 1

On Jan. 1, Ernst & Young joined more than 30 major U.S. employers that are equalizing the pay for gay and lesbian employees by covering the cost of state and federal taxes for domestic partners.

Employees enrolled in domestic partner benefits incur additional taxes as the value of those benefits is treated as taxable income under federal law, while the value of opposite-sex spousal benefits is not.

Federal law treats domestic partner benefits differently from federally-recognized spousal benefits.

—  David Taffet

Work it!

Dallas is awash in places for fitness-conscious gay men to build muscles … and show off a little

There’s not a loss for gyms around the Oak Lawn neighborhood. Several fitness centers dot the healthy landscape from Uptown to Downtown and several in between. This is a list of health clubs that are among the favorites for the LGBT community.

— Rich Lopez


Club Dallas
Exclusively serving gay men for more than 30 years, this institution actually has one of the largest gyms in the city, and is open 24 hours, 365 days a year.
2616 Swiss Ave

Diesel Fitness
Located on the third floor of the Centrum, it’s right in the heart of the gayborhood.
3102 Oak Lawn #300

Energy Fitness joins an already bustling roster of gyms in the Uptown area. Located in the West Village, this gym has garnered praise for its no-nonsense approach and competitive membership fees.

Energy Fitness
This recent gym has gained a reputation for affordable memberships and solid service right in the West Village.
2901 Cityplace West Blvd.

Located in the old Park Place Motorcars location, it offers a full range of fitness services
4023 Oak Lawn Ave.

Gold’s Gym
Locations are throughout the city, but the one in Uptown serves a fit, very gay customer base.
2425 McKinney Avenue

The LA Fitness by Love Field has been a favorite for the community with its convenience to the Oak Lawn area and an impressive list of amenities and classes. (Rich Lopez/Dallas Voice)

The LA Fitness by Love Field has been a favorite for the community with its convenience to the Oak Lawn area and an impressive list of amenities and classes. (Rich Lopez/Dallas Voice)

LA Fitness
Has multiple locations, but the one at Lemmon and Mockingbird by Love Field is popular with gay clientele.
4540 W. Mockingbird Lane

Trophy Fitness Club
With four total locations, one can be found in the downtown Mosaic (formerly Pulse) and in one Uptown.
2812 Vine St. Suite 300

24 Hour Fitness
Popular locations include the one Downtown and one at Mockingbird Lane and Greenville Avenue.
700 North Harwood St.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 17, 2012.

—  Michael Stephens

‘The Temperamentals’ tonight at Uptown Players

Keep it hush-hush
Uptown Players regional premiere of The Temperamentals closes out the season on a high note. If you were “temperamental” in the ’50s, that was code for gay. Jon Marans play touches on the alternatve vocabulary used by gay men to communicate in a more conservative time.

DEETS: Kalita Humphreys Theater, 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd. 8 p.m. Through Oct. 23. $25–$35. UptownPlayers.org.

—  Rich Lopez

From screen to stage

Q Cinema veterans tackle live theater with the guerrilla-like QLive!

CURTAIN UP! | Producing partners Todd Camp and Kyle Trentham have theater backgrounds, but QLive! is a departure from the movie-focused work their organization, Q Cinema, has done for a dozen years.

MARK LOWRY  | Special Contributor


Trinity Bicycles patio,
207 S. Main St., Fort Worth.
Sept. 23–24 at 8 p.m.
$15, QCinema.org


Anyone who’s ever wanted to start a theater company will tell you that the biggest hurdle is finding the right space. It’s no different in DF-Dub, where the opportunities seem endless, but affordable spaces that can work for the demands of theater are limited.

QLive!, a new theater company based in Fort Worth, is finding ways to work around that. Its first full production, for instance, is None of the Above , a two-person drama by Jenny Lyn Bader. It opens Friday on the back patio of a bicycle shop just west of downtown Cowtown.

“One of the things we’ve talked about is the immersive experience, where it’s not just that you sit down and watch a show, but you experience a show,” says QLive’s Todd Camp, who founded Fort Worth’s LGBT film festival, Q Cinema. “The three shows that we have lend themselves quite well to that.”

Those three shows, which run this fall, begin with Above, which deals with a parochial school student and her teacher. In November, there’ll be Yasmina Reza’s oft-produced Art, which will hopefully happen in a gallery space (they’re still negotiating). It will close out the year with Terrence McNally’s controversial Corpus Christi, taking place in a machine shop near downtown Fort Worth.

QLive! has been a project three years in the making, and will be led by Camp’s Q Cinema cohort Kyle Trentham, as artistic director. The group has already launched a successful Tuesday night open mike comedy event at Percussions Lounge, and in February presented a staged reading of Frank Wedekind’s 1891 play Spring Awakening, the day before the musical based on that play opened at Bass Performance Hall. They also brought Hollywood comedy writer Bruce Vilanch in for a one-night performance.

Like other arts groups with a large LGBT following that present works of interest to that community — including Uptown Players and the Turtle Creek Chorale — Trentham says QLive doesn’t want the label of “gay theater” … despite the big “Q” in its name.

“Young [audiences] don’t think in those terms anymore,” he says. “They just want to see theater they like.”

With Corpus Christi, Trentham says that creating an immersive experience will be crucial to the production. “It’s a working machine shop,” he says. “You walk in and the actors are working, getting their hands dirty. Then in the cleansing scene, they actually are cleaned.”

Camp, who has led Q Cinema for 13 years, is no stranger to controversy. He was a critical player in the late ‘90s “Labor of Love” project at the now-defunct Fort Worth Theatre. That group presented shows like Paul Rudnick’s Jeffrey and The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, and Mart Crowley’s The Boys in the Band. A few times, there were protesters in front of the performance space, Orchestra Hall.

Considering the dust-up Corpus Christi caused in Texas last year when a Tarelton State University junior had his student production of it canceled, Camp is prepared for blowback.

“You are not going to tell me what I can and cannot do in my town, even if you’re the lieutenant governor,” he says. “This is an important work by a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright who’s from Texas. … It’s an incredibly pro-spiritual show. It’s not anti-religion or blasphemous. It takes organized religion, which has been used to club the gay and lesbian community for many years, and retells the story that makes it a little more compatible and open to them.”

For now, they’ll have to see how their audience deals with a show outside a bike shop.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 23, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens