Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Meet the 7 DFW chefs and restaurants who are James Beard semifinalists
It's like the Oscars for food.
DALLAS There's no denying that Dallas is a restaurant city. Of course we love our Arts District, and historical landmarks, but what's a night out on the town without a bit of southwestern cuisine or a fancy cocktail? The James Beard Foundation announced semifinalists for its 2013 chef and restaurants awards, and it's clear that local talent runs deep. There are 20 semifinalists in each category, and finalists will be announced March 18.
Here's how your local favorites stack up in the semifinals:
Stephan Pyles for Stephan Pyles Restaurant: Consider this native Texan a founding father of Southwestern cuisine in Dallas. He also spread his wings with Spanish, Indian, and Mediterranean fusion at Samar, and most recently opened the buzzed-about Stampede 66 in November 2012.
Nick Badovinus for Flavor Hook, Off-Site Kitchen, Tried and True: Badovinus proves that a menu doesn't have to be hoity-toity to slam down killer cuisine. His mini-empire doesn't shy away from "griddled goods" or Bourbon excess, and this nomination is just a further endorsement for staying "true" to his mission.
The French Room at the Adolphus: Formerly a standalone for French cuisine in Dallas, The French Room proves still exceptional even with a recent influx of Parisian-style bistros and French-inspired fusion.
Best Chef: Southwest
Jason Maddy at Oak: This Mansion at Turtle Creek alum (who was hired from Austin by John Tesar) competed on Iron Chef America before taking on this Design District establishment, which was pegged as one of the best new restaurants in America by Bon Appetit in 2012.
Teiichi Sakurai at Tei-An: It's got a rooftop lounge with stunning views of Downtown, but this One Arts Plaza hotspot has more than a shiny design. Chef "Teach" Sakurai is a regular Beard Award nominee, and his menu's offerings let Dallasites trail off the beaten path into exceptionally tasty, if unknown, culinary terrain.
Outstanding Bar Program
The Cedars Social: There's really one thing you need to know about The Cedars Social's cocktail program: Michael Martensen is a bartender's bartender. More extensive than many restaurants' wine list, the bar menu contains words that you can't pronounce and ingredients that raise an eyebrow. Just point at something intriguing and go with the flow. You won't regret it.
Outstanding Wine Program
Cafe on the Green at the Four Seasons Resort in Las Colinas: Drink it with pinky up after a dip in the resort poll. Or don't: It doesn't matter how your pinky's placed as long as you drink from master sommelier James Tidwell’s extensive wine list, which features 462 reasons to steal away to Las Colinas for a few days.