The dish on Dish

Posted on 27 Jan 2010 at 4:22pm
By ARNOLD WAYNE JONES | Life+Style Editor jones@dallasvoice.com

At Dish, sophistication and quality don’t come at too high a price

OVERALL RATING 3.5 out of 5 stars

Dish at the ilume, 4123 Cedar Springs Road, suite 110. Open daily for dinner and for weekend brunch. 214-522-3474.

Hip without suffering from trendiness overload, the great recipes and solid design make for a terrific new eatery.

Food: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Atmosphere: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Service: 3 out of 5 stars
Price: Moderate
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At least part of the appeal of Dish is its locale. Sure, the Centrum has housed some fine restaurants, including Stephan Pyles’ Star Canyon, and very nice restaurants pepper the neighborhood. But west of Oak Lawn along Cedar Springs, the choices diminish — at least when it comes to edgy, serious dining.

SWEET TASTE OF SUCCESS | Desserts, like the pecan brownie with peanut brittle, are stars at Dish.

Dish changes that. Housed in the posh-but-flashy-to-the-point-of-overload ilume development, it could have priced itself out of competition for those who want a regular spot where they can eat good and well. It’s what the Crossroads has long needed (and what Bishop Arts has seemed to do effortlessly for a decade): Dish is a local high-end restaurant that knows its neighborhood but doesn’t pander, serving excellent food with style and approachability. It’s a jewel of sophistication and glamour that doesn’t merely target club kids and Highland Park doyens willing to venture a few blocks outside the bubble.

Sophisticated, but not stuffy or pretentious. The menu is diverse enough for a multitude of tastes and pocketbooks. The flatbreads ($4 to $14) work equally well as table-wide appetizers, bar grub and carbo-licious entrees. They can be overdone; the mushroom version slathers on the arugula (if I want that much green, I’ll order a salad), but underneath, the sweet richness of pesto and sun-dried tomatoes melds with the tart goat cheese quite nicely.

The Cobb salad "martini" ($12) — shredded Romaine, blue cheese and bacon dropped in a glass and shaken like a British nanny with a crying baby — is an inventive and tasty salad that serves enough for two or as a standalone main course.

The menu is fairly tight, with fewer than a dozen regular entrees (not counting sandwiches), but several specials work their way onto the list, including a Bronzini with basmati rice and Swiss chard that scored with its lemony tang and a likeable chicken that dances along the lofty scent of herbs. (The special truffle risotto — for $15, available as a side — didn’t pack the aromatic punch we had hoped.)

We loved the perfectly cooked flat iron steak ($17), tender and with a buttery cream sauce licking its edges. The sea scallops with Israeli couscous (at only $21, the most expensive item on the menu) boasted a sweetness not only from the caramelization but also the roasted corn.

Sides (all $5) are mostly a la carte, and complement each dish with unexpected versatility. Certainly the buttery mashed potatoes lived up to its name, with a creamy, heady consistency that could ruin any diet. The spaghetti squash, sautéed with tomatoes, almost seemed like a dessert of angel hair pasta. The five cheese orechiette wasn’t quite as rich as others we’ve had, but delicious nonetheless.

Desserts are a star. I could not get enough of the apple cobbler (more like a bread pudding), or the lemon pie (made with condensed milk), and the selection of ice creams and sorbets was staggering; the smoky maple ice cream beautifully accompanied the pecan brownie and chunk of peanut brittle as thick as a block of travertine (but much, much better tasting).

Overall style is hip without being insufferably trendy, though any theme has been difficult to parse. The room, seemingly hewn from blocks of wood, is open, decorated in dark purples and reds without seeming cavernous.

But the bar area — which extends to the outdoors in good weather — has energy (and some damn good mixologists making great signature drinks), and the wine list is extensive and well-priced (a $32 bottle of a delicious Meritage was a real find).

What impresses most is how successfully all the elements of Dish blend. It’s not only what the gayborhood needed; it’s what is has long deserved.                       

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

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