[Photo credit: Ocho Kitchen & Cocktails/Official]
When word got out that Chef Eric Di Stefano of New Mexico's highly-regarded Coyote Cafe was teaming up with Brian Black and Benjamin Crosland of Hatch Partners to land a Southwest spot in Preston Center, Dallas foodies freaked. Black and Crosland of Mi Piaci fame summarily hired Ross Demers from the recently shuttered The Commissary as executive chef for their eighth (get it?) restaurant venture, Ocho Kitchen & Cocktails, and September heralded a much-anticipated opening.
With whispers of an intensely cool design and a hella unreal patio, Eater called it one of our "15 Most Anticipated Fall Openings," and Culture Map named it one of "10 Hot Restaurants for October," so we have to ask: Does Ocho thrill or disappoint?
· Ocho Kitchen and Cocktails [Official]
The Just Desserts News: The Tres Leches cake is the show-stopper. A Yelper was at first leery of the biscuit base, but found himself quickly bedazzled by the odd twist saying, "I don't care. It's the best thing I've had in months." And, the Gay List Daily says that, while it's unlikely you'll even have room for dessert, the cake is "among the best in town." Likewise, an Urban Spoon reviewer calls the Tres Leches "terrific," and another notes that kids love the S'mores that come to the table with a "mini fire pit" which is "fun and interactive." [Yelp/Urban Spoon/The Gay List Daily via Pegasus News]
The Mac-and-Cheese News: While you might not initially expect mac on a Southwest menu, The Dish on Dallas says Ocho's cheesy app "struck a chord." The mild green chili flavor and tasty bacon highlight the dish's real superstar: The cheese, which the Dish says doesn't often get played up enough. To make a meal of it, you can add on ancho roasted chicken or BBQ duck, but the Dish likes it "as-is." [The Dish on Dallas via Pegasus News]
The What's the Deal With the Jalapeno Butter News: One Yelper was annoyed and confused by the green chile butter that comes with the chips and salsa, saying "what was I supposed to do, just eat it straight?" and "how about a tortilla." But, Try Something Different in Dallas says "you haven't lived until you've buttered a tortilla chip." Mystery solved? Try Something Different also loved the fry bread, which, in a New Mexican kick, comes (instead of chips) with the queso. They write, "it wasn't exactly the same fry bread that I bought from an 80-year-old woman at Four Corners, New Mexico, but it was darn close." And, as long as there are Hatch chiles involved, who cares, right? Steven Doyle calls the compound butter a "particularly good" use of them, and that a "simple basket of those chips and a flight of interesting salsas" is a great way to enjoy the upstairs lounge after-hours. [Try Something Different in Dallas via Pegasus News/CraveDFW]
The New-in-Town Jitters News: While critics have looked favorably upon the new kid in town, lay-reviews from the masses have proved less laudatory. While Ocho may be lobbying for an 8-star rating, Yelpers have given it only 2, with consistent concerns about befuddled, stressed, and occasionally unpleasant staff and repeated remarks about blandness. However, several commenters noted that the cons were probably just a function of being a young restaurant and several have said they plan to give the Och another try, including one who said he'd "like to see the improvable things improve." On the other hand, 78% of Urban Spoon reviewers have raved about the "good flavor" and sexy decor. [Yelp/Urban Spoon]
The 50 Hand-Selected Tequilas News: Love for the patio at 8 Bar -- the upstairs, adults only lounge that makes up the "cocktails" side of the concept -- is unanimous. With it's retractable roof and climate control, the two-story patio can accommodate patrons year-round, and an Urban Spoon reviewer says it's the "best PATIO in Dallas hands down." But, what is one to do on a patio that swank? Toss back some of the fifty hand-selected tequilas, of course. Urban Daddy says the fact that the "bi-level oasis" stocks as many tequilas as there are weeks in a year gives patrons 52 reasons to stop on in. Even when the weather's not perfect, the patio's still rocking since it's designed like kind of like a "more tequila-heavy Cowboys stadium." [Urban Spoon/Urban Daddy]