What Tony Archibald, chef and owner of Quarter Acre, really wanted when he opened his own restaurant was to have a place he could walk into and feel like he was home — metaphorically but also literally. He worked with Coevál Studio to create a scheme full of the soft blues, greens, and sandy browns of his homeland, New Zealand. The textures of rattan, soft sheep throw blankets, and wood evoke nature. And the fire grill and smoker in the kitchen lend themselves to beach-y food.
Archibald has a history with Dallas now, too, having worked under Bruno Davaillon at Bullion and on the opening crew at Georgie by Curtis Stone for the past six years, and in a moment of brutal honesty admits he thought he could open his own place within a few weeks of landing here. “I was so naive,” he says.
Now that he has, all his food experiences, from childhood favorites to training in French bistros and fine dining establishments to steakhouses, make an appearance on the menu at his Lowest Greenville restaurant.
“Food memories are what it’s all about,” Archibald says. Below are five dishes (and a slew of bites) guests can order from the tight menu at his restaurant. And everyone leaves with a “lolly bag” — a little sweet treat from the pastry team inspired by his childhood trips to the corner store for a grab bag of goodies. For free, because Archibald already knows everyone loves a freebie.
Snacks: Fish on Chips, Fire-Roasted Wagyu, Brassica Balls, Crispy Chicken Nugs
“The fish and chips are on a potato chip we make ourselves, painstakingly, with a lemon chive mayonnaise and we smoke kingfish, which is in the jackfish family, which is what we get in New Zealand. A lot of our native ocean fish are oily. We put a lot of salt and brown sugar on them and put them in a box that’s got hot smoke, which preserves it. It’s topped with a nice bit of caviar and the sugar makes it bright and tasty with big flavor. I grew up with smoked fish down at the local rugby club where some guy who’d been out fishing for the day would bring in a bunch of smoked fish, drop it on the table, and the adults would take some bread and go in for it.
“New Zealand is so close to Southeast Asia that we get a lot of influence from it. The fire-roasted wagyu comes from that. This dish is a wagyu sausage with a bit of ginger and garlic in it, wrapped in an hoja santa pepper leaf native to Mexico and South America. The dip is a Thai flavor with fish sauce, chilis, cilantro, ginger, and lemongrass. It’s acidic and bright. Over the top, we Microplane macadamia nuts, which is a trick I picked up in London.
“For the Brassica Balls, we take brassica — roots and turnip tops — mix it with a local goat cheese, and then dip them in onion dip, and some puffed, crispy quinoa on top for a nice texture. They’re served room temperature, not hot. Onion dip is something I grew up with — potato chips and dip, watching sport on the weekend with your dad.
“The crispy chicken nugs are gizzards. We confit them and crispy fry them to order with dirty aioli. The recipe for that comes from when I worked in New York, we had a bunch of guys in the kitchen who were from Mexico and their staff meal was always better than ours. One of the guys made mole that was amazing. He shared the recipe with me after about eight months of me asking. I wanted to get it into a dish, but it was a French restaurant. So I adapted it into a dirty aioli — it’s got chocolate, cranberries, golden raisins, chili, and that’s maybe half of what’s in it.
Smoked Beef Tartare
“I’ve worked with so many French people over the years, although beef tartare is good all over the world. But that trained me in so many different iterations of it. When I moved to Dallas and dreamed of opening my own restaurant, I was eating Texas barbecue for the first time — the burnt ends at Pecan Lodge, it was so good. So I created a dish that looks and feels like beef tartare but has elements of barbecue using beef jerky from the back on the brisket, the smoked chewiness. We add crispy shallots for crunch. Then I add a black mustard tamarind, which is the secret ingredient in every steak sauce ever. We add to it burned leeks and heavily caramelize onions, plus a lot of dijon.
Hot-Smoked Glory Bay Salmon
“This salmon is another smoked fish, but this one comes to the guests straight out of the smoke box. We also use brown sugar on this and it’s freaking delicious — I’m not even a fan of salmon, but this is how I like to use it. It’s served with sea lettuce, which on the menu reads as sea and soil lettuce. We’ve got regular lettuces from Profound Microfarms. I met them very early on, because when they were starting out I was too. And you’ve also got seaweed from Monterey, California, on here, which is underutilized. It’s delicious and super good for you. We don’t have to do anything to it, it comes pre-seasoned; it’s salty, mineral-y, and full of umami. It adds seashore to the dish. And we’ve got a shallot emulsion, which is an olive oil emulsion, and we fry our sourdough in olive oil to make croutons. Plus, cured and roasted turnips, and preserved Buddha’s hand which is a citrus that we shave and preserve in a syrup infused with coriander seeds and lemongrass. Vibrant color is part of the design; I like things that look good.
“Back home, my parents worked hard to get everything they got. Smoked salmon would be a special treat. Our smokebox actually came from New Zealand, my dad brought it over in a suitcase.
Tropical Mille Feiulle
“This is 100 percent the creation of my pastry chef, Celina Villanueva. She’s Filipino and came to Georgie really green. We stayed in touch through the pandemic. She created this dish based on a sweet eggroll with dumas. After she made it, we tweaked it and after a few iterations, we ended up with this. The ice cream is ube, purple sweet potato. The wafers are puff pastry and the top is a caramelized sugar dust. Inside is a caramelized white chocolate plantain ganache.”