Oak Cliff's acclaimed ode to fine seafood Driftwood changed hands a couple months ago, and the restaurant is now in the hands of restaurant group Misery Loves Co., a joint project from Driftwood co-founder Sal Jafar II and cocktail master Michael Martensen, with former Brooklynite Kyle McClelland in the kitchen.
McClelland officially started back in April, but Driftwood has just launched new food and drink menus showing off its new chef's style. Former Driftwood staples like the lobster roll and grilled octopus are gone, replaced with dishes like truffled snow crab with caviar, a baby beet salad with goat cheese croquettes, and raw ahi tuna with compressed watermelon and lotus root chips; the price point has risen, with entrees now ranging from $24 for a "market vegetable plate" to $36 for scallops and $49 for a notoriously pricey Dover sole (a fall 2013 menu depicts entrees hovering in the $25-$28 range). Small plates now range from $12-$16.
Besides new menus, the restaurant just completed a remodel of its bar, adding an additional 12 feet of bar-top space and more seating as well as eight taps to accommodate their new absinthe program; per a press release, "the absinthe list boasts the largest collection of premium absinthes in North Texas." (According to Martensen, "Oysters and absinthe are one of the best pairings in the world.") Absinthe and pastis can be served traditionally with "proper drip service," or had in one of five different cocktails (including a very interesting-sounding one made with Abita root beer and fresh mint).
The revamp clearly means that Driftwood will be up for re-reviewing by the critics soon; Leslie Brenner was a big fan of the restaurant under Baudoin and Flores, giving it four stars back in 2012, but expressed doubt in January that Flores could maintain such a level of quality while splitting his time between Driftwood and Casa Rubia.