Snout-to-tail dining has trotted into downtown Dallas with today's much-anticipated opening of CBD (that's "Central Business District") Provisions at the Joule Hotel. The "modern Texas brasserie" is brought to you by Consilient, the same restaurant group responsible for Dallas dining staples like Fireside Pies and Victor Tangos, and executive chef Michael Sindoni wants diners to savor the whole hog.
Just as they did with catfish and collard greens, coastal chefs have been elevating po' folks food to gastronomic stardom. Now Sindoni hopes Dallas diners will discover the rustic wonders of eating from snout to tail: crispy pork rinds (which share zero DNA with those fatally salty bags of Styrofoam at the gas station checkout), lardo (cured pork fat, here spiked with absinthe and whipped) and roasted pig tails.
The show-stealer looks to be the pig head carnitas: A heritage-bred pig's head (sans glands) is brine-soaked for five days, slow-cooked for 18 hours and then finished in a hot oven while bathed in its own hot fat to crisp up the skin. The presentation is not for those squeamish about food with a face, but the luscious wonders of pig cheeks and sweet, crackling pig skin should win some converts.
In the same spirit of uplifting humble ingredients, the menu features other once-lowly foods, but with a twist: fried Gulf Coast by-catch (fish netted alongside their intended, more pricey targets), broiled oysters with lardon crumbles, cabrito in a shepherd's pie pastry, cracklins in lime salt and, of course, tripe (here, it's braised and served with housemade chorizo).
Sindoni, who is trained in classic Italian and French cooking, defines the "modern Texas brasserie" concept at CBD as using "high quality, local ingredients with the same refined techniques found in French cooking." He focuses on local, sustainable sourcing of Texas staples such as beef, oysters and goat and has tapped growers, ranchers and fishers across Texas to supply the kitchen.
Sindoni's supporting players include a craft cocktail menu created by bartenders Chad Solomon and Christy Pope — who are also hard at work on the Joule's soon-to-open "luxurious subterranean drinking establishment" Mirth & Refuge — and desserts by Ruben Torano, who was also the pastry chef at the hotel's recently shuttered Charlie Palmer.
According to the restaurant's website the ambiance at CBD Provisions is intended to be "equal parts rich and raw," which means exposed brick walls, hand-hewn tables and chairs made by a local artisan, and warm wood and leather accents in a room of comfortably human proportions. Though it's housed in the luxe Joule Hotel, the place has a distinct identity and its own entrance on Main Street.
CBD Provisions is open for three meals a day plus weekend brunch; hours are Sunday through Thursday 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday 7 a.m. to midnight.