This week, Stephan Pyles’ Flora Street Cafe earned what could be departing Dallas Morning News food critic Leslie Brenner’s last five star review.
Filed this week, Brenner’s review couldn’t find much fault in Pyles’ latest venture. And if there’s one thing that’s been consistently true about the critic, it’s that she wasn’t exactly generous with the five star reviews. In fact, Flora Street Cafe is currently the only Dallas restaurant that holds the honor — former five-star spots like The Mansion Restaurant and FT33 have since been downgraded.
But clearly, Pyles is doing something right, at least in Brenner’s ever-persnickety eyes. Check out the five best lines from the critic’s most recent review.
On how the restaurant has improved since Brenner last awarded it four stars:
“Since then, the chefs – Pyles, chef de cuisine Peter Barlow and executive pastry chef Ricardo "Ricchi" Sanchez – have reined in and focused their aesthetic, unleashing unfettered brilliance.”
On the tasting menu:
“Seven courses plus chefs' surprises, [the tasting menu] is a captivating adventure, led off recently by a bowl of shaved, cured foie gras ganache that communed exquisitely with ripe, shaved peaches. That wasn't even one of the official courses – just one part of a three-part amuse.”
On how Flora Street Cafe defines Dallas dining:
“Flora Street Cafe, where chef de cuisine Barlow no doubt deserves a good deal of the credit, is a breathtaking restaurant, a singular achievement. It is not only the most exciting restaurant in Dallas at the moment, it is also one of the most impressive new restaurants in the country.”
On how to eat cheaply at Flora Street Cafe:
“Consider sinking into a comfy seat in the lounge and ordering from the bar menu, beginning with one of head bartender Lauren Festa's stupendous drinks. Her Elotes cocktail, which tastes like smoked cornsilk, tequila and magic, deserves some kind of hall-of-fame award. If you dream of heading to Mexico City to experience the taco omakase bar at Pujol, ordering two or three things from Flora Street's lounge menu could well blow you away, no passport required.”
On Stephan Pyles:
“At a time in his career when many a successful chef would be phoning it in, or raking it in, or resting on his laurels, 63-year-old Stephan Pyles – who may well be Texas' greatest native-born chef – is creating at the top of his game; he is absolutely one of the most outstanding chefs in the United States.”