Thursday, February 25, 2010

Eating Dallas: Five Sixty

Synopsis

Five Sixty is celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck’s 360° rotating Asian-fusion restaurant high atop Dallas’ iconic Reunion Tower.  Certainly when I think Asian food, the go-to guy is going to be an Austrian pizza thrower. 

The Food

Yes, that was just a cheap shot because the food was amazingly amazing*. (I picked up that bit of wordsmithery from watching way too much Olympic curling).

Appetizers


In retrospect we may have peaked early with the lobster and scallop shumai and the tiny crab cakes.  After each bite I would affirm that the one in my mouth was the best thing I’ve ever eaten.  I repeated my hyperbole until both plates were sadly empty.  If Nazis held me at gunpoint and forced me to chose my favorite, I would probably spend the rest of my life tormented by the image of the crab cakes being marched into a death camp**. 

Entrées


It’s doubtful that I will be able to come up with some Holocaust metaphor to describe my experience with the entrées.  But I will certainly try.

The Green Thai Curry Seafood Medley was very good, very green and very medley with its prawns and scallops and sea basses.  But I can’t honestly characterize it as being 560 feet better than what I could get at Bangkok Inn, just down the street from The Wallagio.

The Wok Fried Whole Sea Bass on the other hand, was fantastic in every way.  As stated, it’s a whole sea bass and it’s spectacularly rolled out frozen in wok fried crispy awesomeness.  The waiter then gently removes the tasty flesh from each side of the beast and then rips the spinal column out to complete the task.  I was then presented with a huge plate of both salty/crispy skin and soft, moist, delicate inner meat.  It was accompanied by a near flavorless ginger ponzu sauce and thai chili sauce for which I had to request extra ramekins.

Dessert


I'm not a fan at all of soufflés. They just tend to be way too eggy for my tastes.  But I was feeling adventurous and decided to order their chocolate soufflé.  I’m sorry.  I mean their Valhrona Chocolate Soufflé.  And I am now of the belief that if you inundate a soufflé with enough fine chocolate, you can achieve something that doesn’t taste like Bosco on a hardboiled egg.  Indeed, this soufflé was quite delicate and delicious. 

What I Liked
  • The food – it’s great!
What I Disliked
  • This is not exactly my kind of place.   And that’s more about me than them.  The place was hopping, largely with generic white businessmen on expense accounts and Dallas Douchers trying to impress their recently enhanced Douchettes.
  • No olives in my martini.  How does that even happen especially when I was asked if I wanted olives or a twist?
  • The view would be good in almost any other city but Dallas.  There are just so many times I can look down at Lew Sterrett.

Conclusion
Despite the atmosphere this is a very good special occasion destination restaurant where great food will be consumed.

A-


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*Essentially a joke for someone who may not even read this.

**Who doesn’t love a good Sophie’s Choice reference in a restaurant review?

Monday, February 1, 2010

King Wally’s Groundhog’s Day Gift Idea

Bogus List Alert: Travel Channel’s 101 Chowdown Countdown

I have hungrily stared at my ginormous television as The Travel Channel has counted down their 101 venues to “chowdow”.  A sat patiently on my drool stained couch through nearly five hours of as nearly endless parade of deliciousness marched through my living room. 

What could possibly be #1??  Pramanti Bros. was #3.  Wow, so it must be great if Pramanti’s is just #3. 

And the notable Texas locations in the top 20 were Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, home of the 72oz steak challenge at #16, Lulu’s in San Antonio home of the gargantuan cinnamon roll at #9 and The Salt Lick in Austin, home of tons of great BBQ at #6.  Ok, you can pretty much chow down to some good eats at those place.

And what came in at #1 to earn my ire??

Louis Lunch in New Haven Conneticut.

DOUBLEEWE TEE EFF???????

To get my take on Louis Lunch, you can read my review of it on Walkabout 2008 here.

First, the hamburger is not that great.  Twitsted Root and Snuffers throw away better burgers every day.  Secondly, the burgers are fairly small compared to most of the burgers on this list.  They fit completely on their two pieces of white bread with their accompanying onion and tomato slices.

But mostly this is just not a place to “chow down”.  The restaurant is tiny, the menu is limited and the burgers are small compared to modern day plus-sized burgers and the resulting plus-sized Americans. What’s to chow down?   It’s essentially just a shrine to how burgers were made 100 years ago.  Great, I’m happy for you that you haven’t replaced the grills since Windrow Wilson had a stroke. 

Now somebody go get me a triple stacked double pound bacon burger with habanero pesto.