When Matt McCallister closed his much-lauded restaurant FT33, everyone wondered what would come next. The highly experimental restaurant earned national acclaim, and came to define Dallas’s dining scene in the six years before its shutter. Now, McCallister is back with Homewood, a casual and cozy new restaurant that continues to exemplify the chef’s funky, preservation-obsessed fare.
The result is a menu of dishes that run the gamut from intricately-layered, complicated flavors to the simply comforting combination of fluffy Parker House rolls served with rich, cheesy mornay sauce. Before trekking to this Oak Lawn newcomer, take a look at how the restaurant’s most compelling dishes are made courtesy of Eater photographer Kathy Tran.
Flexing McCallister’s ability to flawlessly combine every texture imaginable on a single plate, this dish begins with slices of French-style saucisson, a hard-cure sausage packed with pepper. It’s served with housemade focaccia, each topped with a decadent, razor-thin slice of lardo (aka pork fat) that dissolves immediately on the tongue. Cutting through this intense richness is a balancing trio of pickled gherkins, mustard-spiked aioli, and a fermented turnip and sesame seed salt sprinkle that’s inspired by Japanese spice blend togarashi.
Tomatoes and Plums
It’s easy to forget that tomato is a fruit, until trying this dish. First, McCallister rehydrates sundried tomatoes in vinegar, then mixes them with fresh dill seeds. That mixture is spread across the inside of the bowl, then topped with halved tomatoes and plums and a healthy sprinkle of fresh basil from Homewood’s on-site garden. Aerated olive oil is piped on top, and the dish is then garnished with punchy, powdered tomato skins, garlic powder, and spring onion powder.
Small in portion and mighty in flavor, this raw dish makes stunning use of rich Spanish mackerel. Four rectangular slices of raw mackerel form the base for a dot of smoked corn aioli, pickled ramps, and fresh serrano pepper, all hit with a squirt of lime juice. A hole-punch perfect circle of hoja santa leaf, a Central American herb grown in Homewood’s garden, rests delicately on top and lends a peppery, herbaceous note to balance the rich fish.
One of the most popular pasta dishes at Homewood, the fusilli’s simplicity belies the work that goes into making it. The dish begins when a whole lamb is brought into the restaurant, broken down, and marinated in fresh herbs and oil. The lamb is seared in a ripping hot skillet, leaving behind a flavorful fond (aka the crispy brown bits left behind) that serves as the foundation for the dish’s sauce. Tomatoes and aromatics go into the pot along with the lamb and braise until tender.
And then, of course, there is the pasta. Fresh dough is rolled out of a pasta machine, the end of the extruder capped with an attachment that spirals the dough into the recognizable double-helix shape of fusilli. The edges of the pasta are rougher than the ubiquitous dried pasta, which helps every single spiral cling to the sauce. After a quick cook, the pasta is tossed with the lamb and sauce to produce a perfectly-coated bowl of lamb ragu. A shower of freshly-torn mint and Romano cheese gilds the lily.
Dark Chocolate Popcorn Torte
Pastry chef Maggie Huff followed McCallister from FT33 to Homewood, and her desserts are a rich way to end dinner here. The dark chocolate popcorn torte is especially compelling. wo stripes of dense chocolate cake flank a stripe of soft Valhrona caramelia cremeaux, a type of chocolate caramel hybrid that cuts through the fudgy richness. Dollops of airy chocolate mousse and vanilla cream are piped onto the plate, then spliced with snappy shards of malted caramel popcorn brittle. Like Cracker Jacks on steroids, the brittle lends much-needed crunch.