This week’s round-up of restaurant reviews kicks off with Dallas Morning News critic Leslie Brenner’s take on Julia Pearl Southern Cuisine, the Tre Wilcox-influenced concept that opened its doors a few months ago in Plano.
Before getting into the details, Brenner expressed some worry about projects where “celebrity chefs create menus but don't run the kitchens,” noting that these restaurants “often have the soul sucked out of them.”
Despite that preconceived notion, Brenner found the cooking at Julia Pearl to be “quite good.” The “uneven” service, however, left a bit to be desired:
The first time I dined there, a busy Friday night, the restaurant had no record of my Open Table reservation but was happy to seat us -- at a table so wobbly we were afraid to put drinks on it. As we tried in vain to get someone's attention, a couple on their way out stopped by to say they had been given the same table and refused it for the same reason. So management knew about it but seated others (us) there without fixing it? Our server that night turned out to be excellent: professional and attentive. Another evening, a well-meaning and likable server interrupted our conversation every time she approached the table. She didn't have the foggiest idea how to serve wine. And I'm pretty sure the king salmon on the menu is not "local," as she told the gentleman at the next table.
D Magazine’s Eve Hill-Agnus filed a review of Matt McCallister’s smoking-hot Deep Ellum restaurant Filament. The cuisine, everything from light appetizers to pastry chef Maggie Huff’s delectable desserts, certainly impressed:
In general, dishes aren’t as heavy as they could be. Not even when a meal is anchored by the low-country heritage grains Sharp loves and a tour of Huff’s fabulous baking. There’s a balance of parts—a judicious hand with bacon, touches of acid where they’re needed, a crunch, a temperature difference, a slight bitterness. The result: your palate stays interested and not overwhelmed. You’re reminded that the true food of the South is lighter and more daring than you think. Filament’s polish is welcome. But at heart, its premise is simple, its truth incandescent: this is just really good food.
Unfortunately, Hill-Agnus’ visits clearly occurred before Chef Cody Sharp left the kitchen, so only time will tell whether or not Filament will continue to be so well-received among critics and diners.
Elsewhere, the Dallas Observer’s Cody Neathery scoped out DISH Preston Hollow, praising newly-installed Chef Garreth Dickey’s changes to the menu. Neathery particularly appreciated Dickey’s take on that old stand-by side dish, jalapeno mac and cheese. “The mesh of cheese with the onion crust and jalapeño sets a standard for what can often be a so-so offering on most menus,” he writes.
All in all, a solid week for Dallas (and Plano) restaurants.