Friday, February 25, 2011
Restaurant review: The Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas
There are plenty of places in this town where you can get just as good of a meal for considerably less money.
I had been to The Mansion on Turtle Creek several times before throughout the years (under both Tesar and Fearing) and had always been underwhelmed. The bar was always fun but otherwise I never quite understood what all the fuss was about. I mean, can you really be considered a 5 star restaurant when your most popular dish is tortilla soup?
But I had been hearing good things about the changes that were happening at the Mansion since Bruno Davaillon came on board. I had tried and adored Chef Davaillon's food at CFF (mmm, blood sausage) and I thought that maybe it was time to give the Mansion another chance.
We were sat at the front of the restaurant, which was an area I had never sat in before. The restaurant has several different rooms (a concept which Dean Fearing took with him to the Ritz) which allows for a very cozy feeling. The restaurant feels very modern, yet traditional.
Now, if you are pinching pennies, don't go have dinner at the Mansion. I mean, let's face it, when you go to eat at a place named "The Mansion," you can expect to part with some serious cash for dinner. Most entrees are in the $40s, some in the $50s. There's a 5 course tasting menu for $115 per person and if you'd like wine pairings, add $60 more. The tasting menu looked good but it looked like too much food for us. The good news is that each of the items on the tasting menu is available a la carte. Here's the current menu for your viewing pleasure.
I started with the East Coast Oysters Mignonette and Horseradish. I love oysters and these were very nice. Clean tasting with an oniony vinaigrette with a little side of horseradish sauce (I would have preferred just horseradish). L had the Lobster Cannelloni. At $32, she was a little hesitant to order it but sometimes a girl just needs some lobster. The lobster meat went on top of the cannelloni, and it looked very nice as well.
For entrees, I ordered the Roasted Pheasant. I'll admit, the main reason I ordered it was because it came with Brussels sprouts and, as my loyal followers know, I love, love, love Brussels sprouts. My pheasant was well seasoned, but unfortunately it was slightly undercooked. The Brussels sprouts were very small but tasty. The dark meat/chestnut ravioli, however, was the star of this dish. It had a rich, meaty taste that reminded me of empanadas for some reason. I was sad there was only one.
L had initially ordered the Venison from the tasting menu. L likes her meat cooked through, almost well done (sigh, still love her) and asked that her venison be done so as well. Our server came to our table and explained (copying Chef's French accent) that the chef recommended that she order something else because cooking the venison that way would ruin the integrity of the dish. We appreciated Chef Davaillon's honesty. It wasn't about ego. It was about wanting the guest to receive the best dining experience. L ordered the filet, medium well, instead. It came with duck fat fries, which L, who isn't a duck fan, wasn't quite sure about so she asked for Brussels sprouts instead. She got both. I tried the duck fat fries and found that they tasted good, but I like my fries to be slightly more fried.
We took a look at the dessert menu, which looked divine, but we decided we would much rather have some chocolate martinis at the bar instead of dessert. So to the bar we went. The chocolate martinis are so very good. Each bartender does theirs somewhat different. One was big on chocolate syrup. The other made his with more cream. Both were delicious and I consumed three before the end of the night. Would have probably done better calorie-wise if I had stuck to dessert, but oh well.
So did the Mansion win me over? Well, I can say this, it was definitely the best dinner I have had at the Mansion, but I still feel that there are plenty of places in this town where you can get just as good of a meal for considerably less money. I think the Mansion will go into my rotation as a great once a year treat when I want to celebrate a special occasion or just want to dress up. I did have a wonderful time, though.
Pegasus News Content partner - WiDiDallas
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