Thomas by Numbers

You can almost smell the character at 2900--and that's a good thing

Service is characterized by casual efficiency, the kind where you almost don't notice it being executed right under your nose. I said almost. The support staff, the ones who fill the water glasses and clear away plates, are a little too aggressive, sweeping away dishes before food is finished and not seeming to understand when you explain you aren't done. But the front-line waiters (ours looked like Benicio Del Toro) are near impeccable, demonstrating a fairly firm grasp of the menu.

He also strongly urged us to gnaw on the jerk-spiced venison chops that came with a pair of dueling sauces: papaya butter and avocado butter. The chops were off to the side, and the sauces were drizzled apart from the meat on different quadrants of the plate. The meat was mild and silken, lean and moist, and the jerk spice didn't kick up much distraction. But the papaya butter, which was spiked with lemon, left a distressing sourness on the finish of the meat. No matter. Meat, spice and fruit butter merged respectably, and an alluring side of fiddlehead ferns, coils of green filament that looked and tasted like capers tortured and distorted on the rack, gave the dish a quirky jab.

Pan-seared salmon was a fine piece of pink, dense not mushy, though it didn't flake much. It rested on a dazzling bed of ginger-pineapple risotto. It's amazing how well deftly coaxed and wielded tropical fruits can flirt with salmon richness.

From turkey decapitations to Dr. Dave and the Jazz Surgeons, 2900 is an urban mecca. The food isn't bad either.
Stephen Karlisch
From turkey decapitations to Dr. Dave and the Jazz Surgeons, 2900 is an urban mecca. The food isn't bad either.

Location Info

Map

2900

2900 Thomas Ave.
Dallas, TX 75204-2732

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: East Dallas & Lakewood

Details

214-303-0400. Open 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 5:30 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday & Saturday. $$-$$$

Foie gras: $12
Artichoke hearts: $6
Chips and dip: $7
Calamari: $7
Grilled salmon: $19
Venison chops: $28
Halibut: $19
New York strip: $28
Bread pudding: $5

Closed Location

It's also amazing how much diddling you can do to a simple piece of fish without battering it into a precious flavor collage that all but relegates the meat to the function of canvas. The 16-spiced halibut--subjected to a treatment of stuff similar to jerk spice--with black beans and rice and mango and roasted onion sauce (tropical strikes again) featured a treatment that respected the mild, white and easily flaked meat (large supple, moist fish slivers). The dish featured an array of flavors that were well-orchestrated and lively without being overdone.

The bone-in New York strip is hidden under a prodigious tangle of "tobacco dusted" shoestring potatoes. The dust was a mixture of paprika, cayenne pepper and a little sugar. The slivers were crisp enough, but I could do without the dust. The pungency was too vivid a premonition to the flaws in the meat, which, though juicy and rich (but certainly not silky), was strafed with bitterness from grilling, especially along the edges. But it did come accompanied by a dazzling array of perfectly grilled vegetables that included green and white asparagus, zucchini and squash.

Bread pudding, 2900's signature dessert, is an unimpressive spread of bread cubes, golden raisins and apples loosely adhered with a caramel sauce.

But you don't go to a place like this to chew on bread pudding, signature or not. You eat at a place like this to relish dining on decent food in a clean hole, the kind where you can almost smell the character; the kind where the focus is on the people (the ones in front of you, not the ones primping at the hostess stand), the conversation and, on the right evening, an unlikely trio of bop goons called Dr. Dave and the Jazz Surgeons.

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