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There's everything from bull's-eyes to wild tosses at restaurant "a"

Yet the décor remains the same, complete with Yvette's perspective-challenged mural featuring a crowd of Dallas celebrities such as Jones and Switzer. There's the same brass railings, the acres of paneling, the candelabra chandeliers and the burgundy velvet drapes that kind of wrap the place like a spooky boa. There are some differences, though. Yvette's personal wine lockers have been converted into single-bottle wine displays. It's strange looking at a single bottle of wine perched upright in a glass case with a lock on it.

Still, despite the has-been décor, the food weaves some adventurous twists. Foie gras comes with a skinned whole apple that's been glacéd in a mustard-sugar sauce. The appearance is odd, like a piece of fruit wearing an oatmeal mask. The liver itself is nutty and smooth--if a little too cool--and firmer than many Dallas foie gras attempts, which tend to spill like a punctured poached egg.

A trio of tartares resembled hash brown cakes, albeit with wontons wedged between them. But unlike hash browns, these held little surprises. The blond snapper, blended with fennel, was cool and velvety, while the salmon, a pulverized cake mash of dill, orange and lemon, was savory and brisk. The weakest entrant, tuna blended with sesame oil and a squirt of wasabi on the edge, was a little warm and dry.

Move quietly through the dining room at "a"; you don't want to startle the waiters.
Kristen Karlisch
Move quietly through the dining room at "a"; you don't want to startle the waiters.

Location Info

Map

Abbotsford Court

14775 Midway Road
Addison, TX 75001-3148

Category: Services

Region: Addison

Details

214-691-4444. Open for lunch 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday; open for dinner 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday. $$$

Salad buffet: $12
Foie gras: $14
Tartares: $12
Grilled Caesar: $5
Kobe burger: $11
Chicken à la Wendy: $17
Rib eye steak: $24
Crème brûlée: $5

Closed Location

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The strongest entrant on the "a" menu oddly wasn't a steak or a fish or a piece of pounded veal. It was a chicken, the free-range kind, which means the chickens can run around in open spaces and get the cellulite out of their thighs before they fulfill their destinies as restaurant entrées. Chicken à la Wendy, a grilled half-chicken stuffed with fresh artichoke hearts and button, chanterelle and portobello mushrooms soaking in a Marsala sauce, was a damn chicken home run. The meat was moist, and the sauce was rich. Fresh baby artichoke petals were so tender and piquant that their sassy essence reached far into the chicken meat, creating a savory flood of juices.

Crème brûlée was naked beauty. Most places can't resist playing with it, dressing it up with berries, fruit, coconut or hooch. This was a simple warm crisp lid sheltering smooth, cool custard that was firm and substantial instead of runny or cold and stiff as if it had been pre-prepped and left to age in a cooler.

"a" is a great big dartboard with a couple of bull's-eyes, and lots of near misses and wild tosses. There's a simple lack of resolve here, as though the place hasn't yet decided if it really wants to do the restaurant thing or just stick to banquet buffets, rubber-chicken circuitry and finger sandwiches. As a restaurant, "a" is a cavern of gamut-running food, long waits and alarmed gazes from the service staff when patrons actually appear at the door.

Are we really all that scary?

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