Mister Charles, the latest and what the Duro Group, in a press release, calls its “most ambitious restaurant and bar,” opened quietly this week on Knox Street in the former Highland Park Soda Fountain Building. Well, as quietly as a place with an eye-catching design and a hospitality group with a reputation this strong in the city can.
The release describes the menu as featuring plays on classic Italian and French dishes (humorously enough, it describes itself as having “an irreverent play on the classics”). But knowing the Duro Group’s M.O. and how they love representing their restaurants as something-ish, anyone with eyes can see this is a take on the classic steakhouse. On the menu, diners will find some familiar dishes that come with little plays to subvert expectations: oysters, beef carpaccio, a Caesar salad, Dover sole, baked Alaska, and a narrow selection of four very expensive steaks.
Steaks are the star of the show, with options including a 16-ounce A wagyu New York Strip from Bar N Ranch served with au poivre sauce for $94, a 26-ounce prime beef ribeye served with sauce Diane and wild mushrooms for $98, and 8-ounce Snake River Farms filet served with sticky Shallots and Bordelaise sauce for $79, and a Japanese A5 strip loin that requires a 4-ounce minimum for $36 per ounce (the starting point on that one, to do the math, is $144). It also features a lamb loin Wellington for two with foie gras and fennel sausage for $91.
Steak also makes other appearances on the menu at a lighter price point. The “canopies” section, which is full of single bite dishes, features an A5 strip served on brioche with wasabi is there for $14, and the aforementioned beef carpaccio from the appetizers section is generally from a sirloin or tenderloin cut and available for $26.
The dinner menu, which is a slim 26 items, also features the expected steakhouse sides with a bit of a twist, including creamed spinach with black garlic, tandoori cauliflower with a celery pistachio salad, sesame ginger broccoli, pommes aligot (also known as cheesy mashed potatoes).
Highlights of the dessert menu are a take on baked Alaska that twists it into a banana pudding mash-up and the Duro take on a soda fountain sundae in honor of the location.
The Highland Park Soda Fountain, which closed in 2018, was in a building over 100 years old, the Dallas Morning News reported. The exterior of the building, which is landmarked, was restored and maintained during restaurant construction, and the restaurant includes the original building and new construction in a connected space.
As much as Italian and French inspiration pop into the menu, they’re the driving force in the decor, which merges Venetian and Parisian elements, both modern and classical. The black and white checked bistro-inspired floors and brass-and-glass bar that are a hallmark of any spot worth its salt in the city of love and crystal chandeliers and light, colorful wallpapers and pastel palette reflect what a night out in the city of water feels like.
Mister Charles is open now at 3219 Knox St., Suite 170. Make reservations online for service from 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 5 to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.