Three Days in Dallas

Just got back from a three-day bacchanal in Dallas. The idea was to hit the best restaurants without the hassle of having to drive 90 minutes home after dinner.
First night was Fearing's at the Ritz-Carlton. Dean Fearing was the power behind the ascendency of the Mansion at Turtle Creek. He was lured away by the Ritz about six years ago. Dinner was disappointing. Despite a beautiful facility and a very inviting cocktail bar at the entry, the ambience of the dining area was much more informal than one would expect at a Ritz-Carlton premier restaurant. Wait staff was uniformed in wide stripe orange/white short-sleeved shirts and looked more like what you expect in Applebee's.
The food was way over-smoked and the melange of competing flavors piled on was not pleasing. Wine was a Turley syrah which I had to try since I'd never tasted other than Turley zins. Big, dark, characteristic in-your-face no apologies fruit bomb.
Night two was Stephan Pyles. A stand-alone restaurant very much in the California classic chrome, tile and modern artwork mold. Again the intense smoke flavors infused in the food were a disappointment. And, again the apparent need to deluge the plate with a half-dozen or more competing elements trying to make the dish exotic. Noisy as well.
And, again the wine was the saving grace. My choice from the wine list was not available and the recommended alternative was from Wrath Vineyards. I'd never encountered Wrath before but this syrah was simply outstanding. A web search later revealed Wrath as a limite production winery on the California coast. If their other varietals are as good, they've got a great product for the $$. Will have to see if they are accessible or it is a wait list and allocation program.
Night three was Charlie Palmer at the Joule. (Eponymous eateries seem to prevail in Big D.) This was the hands-down winner of the trip. Simply outstanding on all aspects: decor, welcome, service, knowledgeable staff, menu, presentation, even the art work on the walls.
Wine was an experience. My choice was a pinot noir and they had a '99 Robert Sinskey. The story was that it was part of a planned tasting dinner of Sinskey wines and was a library offering. Great wine. Very dark, full-flavors, what I call a Burgundian style.
The "experience" however was the wine list. It was offered on a tablet computer running Android. Choose your style (red/white/rose/bubbly), varietal, country or region, winery, vintage, price range for sort filters. Get the list of available wines (my initial sort on US pinot noirs revealed 800 wines in stock!) You can check wines of interest and create your own short list for refining your choice.
A great idea, but not quite mature in execution. The database stalled on the first tablet I was given. Then I was frustrated by the lack of flexibility to browse wider options. Talking with the sommelier he agreed with me that it could be off-putting for someone unfamiliar with wines. It restricted the ability to discover new varietals or regions and was cumbersome. He freely admitted that most of his regular customers prefer the familiar paper wine list for ease of use. But it may be a coming trend.
Reply to
Ed Rasimus
Great report, Ed. Your writing ability came through loud and clear. Too bad about your first two restaurants, but live and learn. It sounds like you've gained back a lot of your sense of smell. Regarding Robert Sinskey: I've liked their wines in years past, but it's been a while since I've tried one. Their vineyards are in Carneros, the coolest district in Sonoma/Napa (it straddles both counties) so I'm a bit surprised that it was so dark, but then again such judgments are in reference to one's own standards. If I ever get to the Big D, I'll keep your recommendations in mind!
Mark Lipton
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Reply to
Mark Lipton
> Great report, Ed. =A0Your writing ability came through loud and clear. > Too bad about your first two restaurants, but live and learn. =A0It sound= s > like you've gained back a lot of your sense of smell. =A0Regarding Robert > Sinskey: I've liked their wines in years past, but it's been a while > since I've tried one. =A0Their vineyards are in Carneros, the coolest > district in Sonoma/Napa (it straddles both counties) so I'm a bit > surprised that it was so dark, but then again such judgments are in > reference to one's own standards. =A0If I ever get to the Big D, I'll kee= p > your recommendations in mind! > > Mark Lipton > > -- > alt.food.wine FAQ: =A0
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Went to Sinskey on our last trip to Sonoma. Really nice wines and yes, very dark fruit.
Reply to
lleichtman
> Just got back from a three-day bacchanal in Dallas. The idea was to hit > the best restaurants without the hassle of having to drive 90 minutes > home after dinner. > > First night was Fearing's at the Ritz-Carlton. Dean Fearing was the > power behind the ascendency of the Mansion at Turtle Creek. He was lured > away by the Ritz about six years ago. Dinner was disappointing. Despite > a beautiful facility and a very inviting cocktail bar at the entry, the > ambience of the dining area was much more informal than one would expect > at a Ritz-Carlton premier restaurant. Wait staff was uniformed in wide > stripe orange/white short-sleeved shirts and looked more like what you > expect in Applebee's. > > The food was way over-smoked and the melange of competing flavors piled > on was not pleasing. Wine was a Turley syrah which I had to try since > I'd never tasted other than Turley zins. Big, dark, characteristic > in-your-face no apologies fruit bomb. > > Night two was Stephan Pyles. A stand-alone restaurant very much in the > California classic chrome, tile and modern artwork mold. Again the > intense smoke flavors infused in the food were a disappointment. And, > again the apparent need to deluge the plate with a half-dozen or more > competing elements trying to make the dish exotic. Noisy as well. > > And, again the wine was the saving grace. My choice from the wine list > was not available and the recommended alternative was from Wrath > Vineyards. I'd never encountered Wrath before but this syrah was simply > outstanding. A web search later revealed Wrath as a limite production > winery on the California coast. If their other varietals are as good, > they've got a great product for the $$. Will have to see if they are > accessible or it is a wait list and allocation program. > > Night three was Charlie Palmer at the Joule. (Eponymous eateries seem to > prevail in Big D.) This was the hands-down winner of the trip. Simply > outstanding on all aspects: decor, welcome, service, knowledgeable > staff, menu, presentation, even the art work on the walls. > > Wine was an experience. My choice was a pinot noir and they had a '99 > Robert Sinskey. The story was that it was part of a planned tasting > dinner of Sinskey wines and was a library offering. Great wine. Very > dark, full-flavors, what I call a Burgundian style. > > The "experience" however was the wine list. It was offered on a tablet > computer running Android. Choose your style (red/white/rose/bubbly), > varietal, country or region, winery, vintage, price range for sort > filters. Get the list of available wines (my initial sort on US pinot > noirs revealed 800 wines in stock!) You can check wines of interest and > create your own short list for refining your choice. > > A great idea, but not quite mature in execution. The database stalled on > the first tablet I was given. Then I was frustrated by the lack of > flexibility to browse wider options. Talking with the sommelier he > agreed with me that it could be off-putting for someone unfamiliar with > wines. It restricted the ability to discover new varietals or regions > and was cumbersome. He freely admitted that most of his regular > customers prefer the familiar paper wine list for ease of use. But it > may be a coming trend.
I left Dallas in 1954. Things have changed greatly since then, I see. ;-) Very interesting report. It is at least as valuable to learn of things to avoid as it is to detail things to seek out.
Godzilla
Reply to
Godzilla
> >> Just got back from a three-day bacchanal in Dallas. The idea was to hit >> the best restaurants without the hassle of having to drive 90 minutes >> home after dinner. >> >> First night was Fearing's at the Ritz-Carlton. Dean Fearing was the >> power behind the ascendency of the Mansion at Turtle Creek. He was lured >> away by the Ritz about six years ago. Dinner was disappointing. Despite >> a beautiful facility and a very inviting cocktail bar at the entry, the >> ambience of the dining area was much more informal than one would expect >> at a Ritz-Carlton premier restaurant. Wait staff was uniformed in wide >> stripe orange/white short-sleeved shirts and looked more like what you >> expect in Applebee's. >> >> The food was way over-smoked and the melange of competing flavors piled >> on was not pleasing. Wine was a Turley syrah which I had to try since >> I'd never tasted other than Turley zins. Big, dark, characteristic >> in-your-face no apologies fruit bomb. >> >> Night two was Stephan Pyles. A stand-alone restaurant very much in the >> California classic chrome, tile and modern artwork mold. Again the >> intense smoke flavors infused in the food were a disappointment. And, >> again the apparent need to deluge the plate with a half-dozen or more >> competing elements trying to make the dish exotic. Noisy as well. >> >> And, again the wine was the saving grace. My choice from the wine list >> was not available and the recommended alternative was from Wrath >> Vineyards. I'd never encountered Wrath before but this syrah was simply >> outstanding. A web search later revealed Wrath as a limite production >> winery on the California coast. If their other varietals are as good, >> they've got a great product for the $$. Will have to see if they are >> accessible or it is a wait list and allocation program. >> >> Night three was Charlie Palmer at the Joule. (Eponymous eateries seem to >> prevail in Big D.) This was the hands-down winner of the trip. Simply >> outstanding on all aspects: decor, welcome, service, knowledgeable >> staff, menu, presentation, even the art work on the walls. >> >> Wine was an experience. My choice was a pinot noir and they had a '99 >> Robert Sinskey. The story was that it was part of a planned tasting >> dinner of Sinskey wines and was a library offering. Great wine. Very >> dark, full-flavors, what I call a Burgundian style. >> >> The "experience" however was the wine list. It was offered on a tablet >> computer running Android. Choose your style (red/white/rose/bubbly), >> varietal, country or region, winery, vintage, price range for sort >> filters. Get the list of available wines (my initial sort on US pinot >> noirs revealed 800 wines in stock!) You can check wines of interest and >> create your own short list for refining your choice. >> >> A great idea, but not quite mature in execution. The database stalled on >> the first tablet I was given. Then I was frustrated by the lack of >> flexibility to browse wider options. Talking with the sommelier he >> agreed with me that it could be off-putting for someone unfamiliar with >> wines. It restricted the ability to discover new varietals or regions >> and was cumbersome. He freely admitted that most of his regular >> customers prefer the familiar paper wine list for ease of use. But it >> may be a coming trend. > >I left Dallas in 1954. Things have changed greatly since then, I see. ;-) >Very interesting report. It is at least as valuable to learn of things to >avoid as it is to detail things to seek out. > >Godzilla
As with any review or opinion, "your mileage may vary".
I will definitely return to the Ritz-Carlton. It was an absolute top-drawer hotel experience. Fearing's probably not. It was interesting that in a conversation with the maitre'd at Charlie Palmer's he mentioned that he had worked with Fearing when he was still at the Mansion. When I said I was a bit disappointed, he simply nodded and replied, "He's lost his way."
I'd give Stephan Pyles another shot and will definitely return to Charlie Palmer's if given the chance.
Other recommendations for Dallas include Abacus and for very upscale Mexican, Javier's Gourmet Mexico.
There are plenty of great steak houses in the Morton's, Ruth's Chris, Del Frisco genre as well.
Good thing I don't win the lottery. There's no telling where I'd be eating and what I'd be drinking.
Reply to
Ed Rasimus
>> >>> Just got back from a three-day bacchanal in Dallas. The idea was to >>> hit the best restaurants without the hassle of having to drive 90 >>> minutes home after dinner. >>> >>> First night was Fearing's at the Ritz-Carlton. Dean Fearing was the >>> power behind the ascendency of the Mansion at Turtle Creek. He was >>> lured away by the Ritz about six years ago. Dinner was disappointing. >>> Despite a beautiful facility and a very inviting cocktail bar at the >>> entry, the ambience of the dining area was much more informal than one >>> would expect at a Ritz-Carlton premier restaurant. Wait staff was >>> uniformed in wide stripe orange/white short-sleeved shirts and looked >>> more like what you expect in Applebee's. >>> >>> The food was way over-smoked and the melange of competing flavors >>> piled on was not pleasing. Wine was a Turley syrah which I had to try >>> since I'd never tasted other than Turley zins. Big, dark, >>> characteristic in-your-face no apologies fruit bomb. >>> >>> Night two was Stephan Pyles. A stand-alone restaurant very much in the >>> California classic chrome, tile and modern artwork mold. Again the >>> intense smoke flavors infused in the food were a disappointment. And, >>> again the apparent need to deluge the plate with a half-dozen or more >>> competing elements trying to make the dish exotic. Noisy as well. >>> >>> And, again the wine was the saving grace. My choice from the wine list >>> was not available and the recommended alternative was from Wrath >>> Vineyards. I'd never encountered Wrath before but this syrah was >>> simply outstanding. A web search later revealed Wrath as a limite >>> production winery on the California coast. If their other varietals >>> are as good, they've got a great product for the $$. Will have to see >>> if they are accessible or it is a wait list and allocation program. >>> >>> Night three was Charlie Palmer at the Joule. (Eponymous eateries seem >>> to prevail in Big D.) This was the hands-down winner of the trip. >>> Simply outstanding on all aspects: decor, welcome, service, >>> knowledgeable staff, menu, presentation, even the art work on the >>> walls. >>> >>> Wine was an experience. My choice was a pinot noir and they had a '99 >>> Robert Sinskey. The story was that it was part of a planned tasting >>> dinner of Sinskey wines and was a library offering. Great wine. Very >>> dark, full-flavors, what I call a Burgundian style. >>> >>> The "experience" however was the wine list. It was offered on a tablet >>> computer running Android. Choose your style (red/white/rose/bubbly), >>> varietal, country or region, winery, vintage, price range for sort >>> filters. Get the list of available wines (my initial sort on US pinot >>> noirs revealed 800 wines in stock!) You can check wines of interest >>> and create your own short list for refining your choice. >>> >>> A great idea, but not quite mature in execution. The database stalled >>> on the first tablet I was given. Then I was frustrated by the lack of >>> flexibility to browse wider options. Talking with the sommelier he >>> agreed with me that it could be off-putting for someone unfamiliar >>> with wines. It restricted the ability to discover new varietals or >>> regions and was cumbersome. He freely admitted that most of his >>> regular customers prefer the familiar paper wine list for ease of use. >>> But it may be a coming trend. >> >>I left Dallas in 1954. Things have changed greatly since then, I see. >>;-) Very interesting report. It is at least as valuable to learn of >>things to avoid as it is to detail things to seek out. >> >>Godzilla > > As with any review or opinion, "your mileage may vary". > > I will definitely return to the Ritz-Carlton. It was an absolute > top-drawer hotel experience. Fearing's probably not. It was interesting > that in a conversation with the maitre'd at Charlie Palmer's he > mentioned that he had worked with Fearing when he was still at the > Mansion. When I said I was a bit disappointed, he simply nodded and > replied, "He's lost his way." > > I'd give Stephan Pyles another shot and will definitely return to > Charlie Palmer's if given the chance. > > Other recommendations for Dallas include Abacus and for very upscale > Mexican, Javier's Gourmet Mexico. > > There are plenty of great steak houses in the Morton's, Ruth's Chris, > Del Frisco genre as well. > > Good thing I don't win the lottery. There's no telling where I'd be > eating and what I'd be drinking.
Back in my Dallas days, my big splurge was to go to Neimann-Marcus for lunch - and it was very good fare then!
Godzilla
Reply to
Godzilla
>Back in my Dallas days, my big splurge was to go to Neimann-Marcus for >lunch - and it was very good fare then! > >Godzilla
No, I will not ask the cookie recipe question. Won't do it.
Reply to
Ed Rasimus
Ed Rasimus wrote in news:avtr17llg17kkmogq02jv8qh8bbqgqslqa@4ax.com: > > The "experience" however was the wine list. It was offered on a tablet > computer running Android. Choose your style (red/white/rose/bubbly), > varietal, country or region, winery, vintage, price range for sort > filters. Get the list of available wines (my initial sort on US pinot > noirs revealed 800 wines in stock!) You can check wines of interest > and create your own short list for refining your choice. > > A great idea, but not quite mature in execution. The database stalled > on the first tablet I was given. Then I was frustrated by the lack of > flexibility to browse wider options. Talking with the sommelier he > agreed with me that it could be off-putting for someone unfamiliar > with wines. It restricted the ability to discover new varietals or > regions and was cumbersome. He freely admitted that most of his > regular customers prefer the familiar paper wine list for ease of use. > But it may be a coming trend.
I have come across several wine lists in tablets and, IMHO, the experience is more about the media than about the wine. Only in one case, for a restaurant with a very small (but carefully selected) wine list, the media added to the experience.
I went to Monvinic, a great wine place in Barcelona that Mike has mentioned in the past, and they fancy one of those sytems that was developed before the Ipad started the tablet-revolutions... Techies love it. I went with friends from the IT industry and they could not separate from the tablet.
I think most of those tablets and Android systems are used because it is a fashion and don't take into account how a customer behaves in front of a wine list. I will speak for me: I browse every single page of a wine list looking for that producer, wine, vineyard or vintage that catches my eye. I do not want to start with a search. I want to find that little gem that suits me for that night. And that cannot be accomplished with most tablet apps because they lay on a database. Databases are good to organise information, but not to display it. And a wine list is not about organising, it is about displaying.
s.
Reply to
santiago
> Ed Rasimus wrote innews:avtr17llg17kkmogq02= jv8qh8bbqgqslqa@4ax.com: > > > > > > > > > > > > > The "experience" however was the wine list. It was offered on a tablet > > computer running Android. Choose your style (red/white/rose/bubbly), > > varietal, country or region, winery, vintage, price range for sort > > filters. Get the list of available wines (my initial sort on US pinot > > noirs revealed 800 wines in stock!) You can check wines of interest > > and create your own short list for refining your choice. > > > A great idea, but not quite mature in execution. The database stalled > > on the first tablet I was given. Then I was frustrated by the lack of > > flexibility to browse wider options. Talking with the sommelier he > > agreed with me that it could be off-putting for someone unfamiliar > > with wines. It restricted the ability to discover new varietals or > > regions and was cumbersome. He freely admitted that most of his > > regular customers prefer the familiar paper wine list for ease of use. > > But it may be a coming trend. > > I have come across several wine lists in tablets and, IMHO, the experienc= e > is more about the media than about the wine. Only in one case, for a > restaurant with a very small (but carefully selected) wine list, the medi= a > added to the experience. > > I went to Monvinic, a great wine place in Barcelona that Mike has mention= ed > in the past, and they fancy one of those sytems that was developed before > the Ipad started the tablet-revolutions... Techies love it. I went with > friends from the IT industry and they could not separate from the tablet. > > I think most of those tablets and Android systems are used because it is = a > fashion and don't take into account how a customer behaves in front of a > wine list. I will speak for me: I browse every single page of a wine list > looking for that producer, wine, vineyard or vintage that catches my eye.= I > do not want to start with a search. I want to find that little gem that > suits me for that night. And that cannot be accomplished with most tablet > apps because they lay on a database. Databases are good to organise > information, but not to display it. And a wine list is not about > organising, it is about displaying. > > s.
I agree Santiago. It is always good to find the one little spot on a big wine list that has a great value.
Reply to
lleichtman
>Ed Rasimus wrote in >news:avtr17llg17kkmogq02jv8qh8bbqgqslqa@4ax.com: >> >> The "experience" however was the wine list. It was offered on a tablet >> computer running Android. Choose your style (red/white/rose/bubbly), >> varietal, country or region, winery, vintage, price range for sort >> filters. Get the list of available wines (my initial sort on US pinot >> noirs revealed 800 wines in stock!) You can check wines of interest >> and create your own short list for refining your choice. >> >> A great idea, but not quite mature in execution. The database stalled >> on the first tablet I was given. Then I was frustrated by the lack of >> flexibility to browse wider options. Talking with the sommelier he >> agreed with me that it could be off-putting for someone unfamiliar >> with wines. It restricted the ability to discover new varietals or >> regions and was cumbersome. He freely admitted that most of his >> regular customers prefer the familiar paper wine list for ease of use. >> But it may be a coming trend. > > >I have come across several wine lists in tablets and, IMHO, the experience >is more about the media than about the wine. Only in one case, for a >restaurant with a very small (but carefully selected) wine list, the media >added to the experience. > > > >I went to Monvinic, a great wine place in Barcelona that Mike has mentioned >in the past, and they fancy one of those sytems that was developed before >the Ipad started the tablet-revolutions... Techies love it. I went with >friends from the IT industry and they could not separate from the tablet. > > >I think most of those tablets and Android systems are used because it is a >fashion and don't take into account how a customer behaves in front of a >wine list. I will speak for me: I browse every single page of a wine list >looking for that producer, wine, vineyard or vintage that catches my eye. I >do not want to start with a search. I want to find that little gem that >suits me for that night. And that cannot be accomplished with most tablet >apps because they lay on a database. Databases are good to organise >information, but not to display it. And a wine list is not about >organising, it is about displaying. > >s.
You've said it more clearly than I did. The search through the pages is much more the experience than the clicking of touchscreen buttons. Even a "pairing" function with the restaurant's menu would be unsatisfactory from that perspective.
I've always joked that when I've gone to a restaurant with a fine wine list that the meal costs me three or four times what the final tab was, since I then go home and scan the web to buy a case of something I've discovered.
Reply to
Ed Rasimus
> >>Back in my Dallas days, my big splurge was to go to Neimann-Marcus for >>lunch - and it was very good fare then! >> >>Godzilla > > No, I will not ask the cookie recipe question. Won't do it.
You mean that you don't have the $500 left after your Dallas trip? ;-)
Godzilla
Reply to
Godzilla
> Ed Rasimus wrote innews:avtr17llg17kkmogq02= jv8qh8bbqgqslqa@4ax.com: > > > > > > > > > The "experience" however was the wine list. It was offered on a tablet > > computer running Android. Choose your style (red/white/rose/bubbly), > > varietal, country or region, winery, vintage, price range for sort > > filters. Get the list of available wines (my initial sort on US pinot > > noirs revealed 800 wines in stock!) You can check wines of interest > > and create your own short list for refining your choice. > > > A great idea, but not quite mature in execution. The database stalled > > on the first tablet I was given. Then I was frustrated by the lack of > > flexibility to browse wider options. Talking with the sommelier he > > agreed with me that it could be off-putting for someone unfamiliar > > with wines. It restricted the ability to discover new varietals or > > regions and was cumbersome. He freely admitted that most of his > > regular customers prefer the familiar paper wine list for ease of use. > > But it may be a coming trend. > > I have come across several wine lists in tablets and, IMHO, the experienc= e > is more about the media than about the wine. Only in one case, for a > restaurant with a very small (but carefully selected) wine list, the medi= a > added to the experience. > > I went to Monvinic, a great wine place in Barcelona that Mike has mention= ed > in the past, and they fancy one of those sytems that was developed before > the Ipad started the tablet-revolutions... Techies love it. I went with > friends from the IT industry and they could not separate from the tablet. > > I think most of those tablets and Android systems are used because it is = a > fashion and don't take into account how a customer behaves in front of a > wine list. I will speak for me: I browse every single page of a wine list > looking for that producer, wine, vineyard or vintage that catches my eye.= I > do not want to start with a search. I want to find that little gem that > suits me for that night. And that cannot be accomplished with most tablet > apps because they lay on a database. Databases are good to organise > information, but not to display it. And a wine list is not about > organising, it is about displaying. > > s.- Hide quoted text - > > - Show quoted text -
Couldn't agree more Santiago. I enjoy the sensory experience as well as finding that gem.
Reply to
Bi!!

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