Not all great works of art are created on canvasses, or in marble, or even on film. Not all are permanent. Some are meant to be savored for all their exquisite beauty briefly, passionately, completely. The experience may be fleeting, but the memories define a life in appreciation.

That’s the case of great restaurants.

For my money, at this point in time, two Dallas are restaurants stand out — one an older, familiar face, one among the newest (though brought to you by Dallas’ godfather of fine dining).

The dining room at the Hotel St. Germain remains one of the few truly breathtaking culinary and cultural experiences you can have in Dallas — Old World extravagance imported to trendy Texas. You arrive in the circular driveway and are escorted to a salon for cocktails; when dinner service is ready, you are whisked into a smallish but painstakingly decorated dining room of ornate elegance, from the personalized menus to the fine china. Servers call you by name as they deliver all the courses of the prix fixe menu with optional wine pairings. And what arrives at your table is not just worthy of Instagram — it would look comfortable in a museum. No where has service, atmosphere and food come together as consistently strikingly, and as refined and classy, as at the St. Germain.

You get a similar feeling at Flora Street Cafe by Stephan Pyles, the newest concept from the James Beard-honored chef, who helped invent modern Southwestern cuisine. For fans of Pyles’ recently-closed eponymous restaurant (or, going back further, Star Canyon, AquaKnox and Routh Street Cafe), there will be nods of familiarity in the detail, the exotic combinations of flavors, the one-of-a-kind twists on classic dishes (like his reimagined cowboy ribeye pictured). At the heart of it all is Pyles’ exactitude, creating a seamless experience that delights all the senses, from the curated music to the wall of windows that bring the outdoors inside. Bon appetit.
— Arnold Wayne Jones

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 02, 2016.