John Tesar’s Underground Dinner: Spoon Bar & Kitchen Preview

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Friends forwarded our invitation to John Tesar’s 3rd and Last Private Underground Dinner, which led to an exhilarating birthday celebration. Texas architect, Steve Chambers, turned “12” on June 2. It happens that both fell on a Saturday; our friends thought this dining experience could be fun. We had tasted Tesar’s food at the Mansion and thought his back-to-back Five-Star wins were well-deserved. We were somewhat aware of his reputation as an ‘enfant terrible,’ but all that mattered to us this evening was how the mastery of culinary art, a revelation of intense flavors, and the ease of it all was communicated to each diner.

Artful food comes in many styles and often follows trends. What we experienced this evening was timeless, honest preparation and design of the elements of food at its best: bursts of flavor, playful pairing of seemingly disparate foods, texture, color, balance, proportion, and an elegant hand with presentation and portions. It wasn’t ‘precious,’ flamboyant, or gravity-breaking kitchen sorcery. It was as billed in the invitation, “stylish, contemporary American cuisine using classic European techniques. The real flavors of each ingredient got to speak for themselves. Nothing was forced.

As diners arrived carrying their own wine and spirits for 5 Courses From the Land and Sea, doors opened to the dining destination in Deep Ellum, revealed the day of dinner. Waiters unobtrusively passed out miniature cones of savory tart cream topped with salmon tartare. Diners set the pace and the ‘amuse’ course arrived when everyone relaxed and settled in to self-select their seats at long community tables.

Not since our visit to l‘Auberge d’Hermance near Geneva or El Celler de Can Roca in Girona have we felt so enthralled by food as an art form. Kinda like listening to the Dave Brubeck Jazz Quartet play Take Five on our first date. Can’t wait for the second date at Spoon Bar & Kitchen.

Below, is what came from John’s kitchen…

Chef John Tesar’s Underground Dinner Menu


Suggested Bring Your Own Wine Pairing Recommendations

by Neal & Harris at Pogos Wine & Spirits


Warm Carrot Soup with Cold Carrot Top Foam

Suggested Pairings:Leth-2010 Grunner Veltliner ($16.99)
Peyrassol-2011 Commanderie Provence Rose ($24.99)First Course

Crudo of Wild King Salmon, Jalapeno, Salmon Caviar,

Red Alaea Hawaiian Sea Salt & Lemon Emulsion
Suggested Pairings:Adelsheim-2010 Pinot Gris ($18.99)
Adelsheim-2010 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($29.99)
Second Course

Pan Fried Sicillian Braised Octopus with Lardo & Salsa Verde
Suggested Pairings: Morgadio-2010 Albarino ($21.99)
Muga-2007 Rioja Reserva ($26.99)
Third Course

Potato Gnocchi with Pencil Asparagus, Morels, Echire Butter & Sea Salt
Suggested Pairings: La Spinetta-2010 Toscana Vermentino ($21.99)
Aldo Conterno-2008 Conca Tre Pile Barbara D’Asti
Fourth Course

Duck Two Ways with Poblano Mole & Cilantro Pesto
Suggested Pairings: Sandhi-2010 Bien Nacido Chardonnay ($49.99)
Ponzi-2008 Aurora Pinot Noir ($69.99)

Three Layers of Chocolate & Cocoa Nib Foam
Suggested Pairings: Michele Chiarlo-Nivole Moscato D’Asti ($16.99)
Oremus-2005 Tokaji Late Harvest ($32.99)

Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma Registered, Residential Architect.Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma Registered, Residential Architect, AIA.