This week must have been quite the rollercoaster of emotions for chef Omar Flores, thanks to Dallas Morning News critic Leslie Brenner. After lauding his new Trinity Groves restaurant Casa Rubia with four stars earlier in the week, the critic pulled an unexpected punch this afternoon on Eats Blog by bringing the quality at Flores' other restaurant Driftwood into question.
She cites a single meal she had at Driftwood — which she awarded four stars back in the summer of 2012 — in late December that "lacked the sparkle" she's come to expect of the seafood-centric restaurant, specifically calling out "flat-tasting" tilefish, a "a prosaic cushion of 'aromatic rice'" that tasted less interesting than it sounded, and shrimp and grits that "didn't add up to more than very good shrimp and grits" (wait, what?).
Of course, she credits this to Flores' attention now being divided between the two restaurants, saying that "for two restaurants to maintain four-star quality, two strong chef de cuisines would be required, in addition to the executive chef." Clearly anticipating readers who would feel her criticism perhaps a bit hasty, she says, "You might say sure, but give the guys a break — they've been opening another restaurant. Well, tell that to the people who are still showing up at Driftwood, spending the same money as always and expecting a four-star experience."
Flores made a lengthy (and quite gracious) reply via Facebook, saying in part, "Can you sum up a restaurant in one visit? I don't think so, us like any other restaurant out there have good and bad nights. In the end it's just a balancing act to have more good than bad. As for now I'll just roll with the punches."
· As Casa Rubia Takes Off, Can Sister Restaurant Driftwood Stay on Top of Its Four-Star Game? [Eats Blog]