By Amy McCarthy
By Scott Reitz
By Scott Reitz
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Alice Laussade
By City of Ate
After I swirled the Amarone and blurted "awesome," our server smiled. "My manager won't let me use that word," he says. "He says I sound like I'm in a skate park or something."
But the infection gets worse. I was generally unimpressed with the Brassoi pork, a Romanian version of chicken fingers with fries. Sautéed orange strips of pork soak in a red sauce of blended V-8 vegetable juice, meat drippings, garlic and paprika. The sauce is good, though shy on power, and the pork is juicy and tender. But the meat flaunted an off taste, as if it had already slid from its peak of freshness. Next to it is a pile of tiny, slightly crisp but dry potato cubes.
"Oh, man. Oh, it is my all-time favorite," Toth says, evangelizing on the preparation. "I wanted to put it on the menu because it is so delicious. It's very thinly sliced pork tenderloin. Very tender, very lean. You put a little crispy potato with that, you mix it up and it creates a fantastic meal." After talking to Toth, I suddenly realized I was in love with this dish, even if I had more than my share of Amarone to help it along.
5348 Belt Line Road
Dallas, TX 75254-7682
Region: North Dallas
Other dishes, without the oratorical fanfare, come across better. Veal marsala is tender, juicy and full of flavor. Portobello ravioli, supple pasta sleeves stuffed with portobello mushrooms and bathed in a smooth, tangy sun-dried tomato sauce, was delicious, though it leaned too close to the mild side.
But the star of this rubaphobia was the stuffed cabbage: crisp head leaves packed with "spicy" sausage, ground meat and rice served on a bed of sauerkraut stained orange with paprika. Instead of drooled with tomato sauce, the rolls are covered with melted sour cream and paprika sauce.
Gundel palacsinta, sweet crepes stuffed with honey-crushed walnut topped with chocolate, capped this Le Maison deftly. Its sweetness is restrained, allowing the nutty flavors and the floral essence of the honey to work through the dinner blubber.
If Toth really wanted to give those steak huts a run for their flanks, he might consider yanking a few of the old Ruggeri's staples--fettuccine Alfredo, manicotti, chicken parmigiano, fried calamari--and giving the menu a Hungarian critical mass. He sure would set himself apart, and maybe carve himself a following outside Dallas, which would be...er...awesome.
5348 Belt Line Road, 972-661-2222. Open for lunch 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; open for dinner 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m. $$-$$$