Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Photos: Screen Door at One Arts Plaza shows summer menu at media dinner
Inventive new dishes include a hummus made from boiled peanuts.
DALLAS Screen Door, the Southern-cuisine restaurant at One Arts Plaza, hosted a dinner on Tuesday night to acquaint local media bloggers with some of the dishes from its newly-issued summer menu.
The new menu included classics like fried green tomatoes, chicken wings, and Bay of Fundy salmon, as well as novel items such as cheese fritters and a unique hummus made from boiled peanuts.
Chef David McMillan said that the challenge with Southern food was to eliminate the impression that is it heavy and overbearing, and that its homey quality made it easy to underestimate as a cuisine.
Dishes served included: boiled peanut hummus drizzled with harissa, a chili sauce; chicken liver pate with toasts and fig jam; cheese and grit fritters; bison tartare topped with a baby quail egg; rabbit ragu with rapini and spaetzle; veal sweetbreads with hominy flan; snapper with succotash; beef tenderloin; and a bruleed rice pudding.
There were many things to like about the dinner, perhaps a number sufficient to warrant a list:
- Topped with a thin layer of aspic, the pate had a texture so silky, a flavor so mellow, it would be palatable even those who don't ordinarily like liver or pate.
- There weren't too many people and almost no one brought "dates," making it one of the more focused, cohesive events. But it was also fairly informal, and more fun than usual.
- The boiled peanut hummus was a big talker. McMillan said he was trying to come up with a Southern twist on hummus, and that's how he arrived at peanuts. It had the garlicky flavor and personality of hummus, but with a creamier texture.
- The cocktails, especially the frozen mint julep. Served in a stainless steel cup, it had a creamy-smooth frozen texture and fresh mint leaves on top.
- They did their best to make the portions small. These kinds of things often result in a lot of waste, and with seven or eight courses, you really don't need more than a taste.
Most of the photos below were taken by Mike Hiller, of the recently re-designed Escape Hatch Dallas, but two were taken by me. Is it obvious which ones? (Yes.)
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